I’ve spent the past several months working with several clients on helping them develop a sponsorship strategy to take their organizations to the next level. The interesting thing for me is that I wish I could say all my work has been a great success and all of the organizations are just rolling in money after we concluded our sponsorship deals.
The larger organizations I worked with were more sponsor friendly than my smaller clients. I wondered why certain organizations continue to grow and evolve their sponsorship opportunities while other struggle to get their programs off the ground. In the past, I’ve seen many of my small and mid-size organizations benefit from sponsorships and partnerships. I wondered if there were important differences in the market today that preclude these organizations from succeeding in sponsorships.
After all, isn’t sponsorship something that any organization can add to their marketing programs? I was troubled by the recent failure of one of my clients to get their program off the ground. I called several of my past clients to discuss why they were able to continue getting great sponsors and partnerships for their new projects and others don’t. I’ll share several questions that help lead to their success. I think you’ll find these questions helpful in deciding if your organization is ready to add sponsorship activities to your marketing efforts.
Here are several key questions to ask when deciding if your organization is ready to enter the sponsorship game:
1. Are you willing to invest money to make money for your organization or cause?
2. Have you done sponsorships in the past? What were the results?
3. Does your organization have clearly defined marketing objectives? How does a sponsorship program complement your current growth objectives?
4. Do you own the key properties that will be sponsored? In many nonprofits, there may be multiple stakeholders involved in the sponsorship decision. Are you willing to engage all stakeholders in discussions to make sure they are all committed to moving ahead on the sponsorship activities?
5. Do you have an organization that understands sponsorships are not always an easy funding option? Do you have additional funding streams to offset expenses while developing sponsorship capabilities?
6. Are you willing to create significant value for your partners? Do you have clearly defined expectations of your partner organizations?
7. Do you own the rights to your brands? How will sponsorship impact your brand’s value proposition?
8. Do you understand why you’re exploring the possibilities of adding sponsorships to your funding mix? Do you have reasonable expectations of what can be earned through successful partnerships? Do you understand what your value proposition is worth in the market and are willing to discuss how to evaluate potential partnership opportunities?
Over the next several months, we will go into more detail on how you can make your sponsorship efforts a success. We will share different success stories so you can decide if sponsorship should be in your future. We will share perspectives from all parties involved in the deal and share with you sponsorship best practices that will help insure your success in this evolving marketing process.