Seven Steps to Sponsorship Success
The world of corporate sponsorships can be a complex one, and organizations and their corporate partners alike need to be aware of its ins and outs, as well as what it takes to ensure mutual satisfaction in any individual partnership.
That according to Patrick Pierce , who spoke about getting the most out of corporate sponsorships during the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Fund Raising Day in New York 2006 in late June. Pierce, senior manager at Chicago-based IEG Advisory Services, which provides sponsorship products, services and advocacy, outlined the types of corporate/nonprofit relationships — sponsorship, cause marketing, philanthropy and strategic philanthropy — and what each looks like.
* Sponsorship: Company A pays a rights fee to organization B to be designated a “proud partner.” Company A receives benefits such as Web links, gala tickets, etc.
* Cause Marketing: Company A promotes sales of a particular product by offering to donate a portion of sales proceeds to organization B.
* Philanthropy: Company A makes a donation to organization B and is recognized as a funder.
* Strategic Philanthropy: Company A makes a donation to organization B in exchange for designations and benefits typically reserved for sponsors.
Done correctly, sponsorship can help combat consumer and donor skepticism by establishing relationships based on enrichment, affinity and trust.
Common mistakes nonprofits often make when pursuing corporate sponsorships include selling one-off sponsorships instead of longer-term solutions; selling sponsorships to what needs funding rather than what is most marketable; basing fees on the budget and need, and not on value; not leveraging connections.
Pierce recommended the following seven steps to ensuring a productive sponsorship that serves the nonprofit in the most beneficial way:
1) Forget turf; work cross-functionally. Break down the walls between development, marketing and sponsorship departments. Share responsibility and credit.
2) Enlist internal support from the top. Moving an organization to think in new ways toward sponsorship requires buy-in from its leadership.
3) Pro-actively discuss with donors and/or sponsors what they want. Don’t take a passive approach in hopes that the subject won’t come up. Handling things up front is far more advantageous for everyone.
4) Understand your value. Marketing benefits should not be given away to donors if sponsors already are paying for them. It dilutes the value of current sponsorships and creates a disincentive for companies to sponsor.
5) Require promotional commitment in exchange for sponsor benefits. This will ensure that the nonprofit receives some value for its assets.
6) Include a servicing fee. Strategic philanthropy programs require staff time and resources to support them, thus nonprofits should be compensated for those resources.
7) Set policies and guidelines. Formal policies provide the ground rules, both internally and for sponsors, about what is acceptable and what is not. Why guidelines are important: Ethical standards protect against controversy and backlash; permission to use nonprofit’s marks and logos protect its name and reputation; and “out clauses” allow for a clean break in case of problems with a corporate partner.
Patrick Pierce can be reached via www.sponsorship.com.