Real sponsorship (versus charitable giving presented as sponsorship) is a marketing partnership. Most companies and organizations fund sponsorship from marketing budgets and must evaluate sponsorship against other promotional opportunities. There are six reasons that companies will choose to support your organization with these type of partnership. If you understand their potential motivations, you can be more successful with your proposals.
1. Relationship Building
Perhaps the most important reason companies and other organizations have for sponsoring a property is relationship building. Sponsors can seek to develop new relationships with access to your stakeholders. This relationship building can be at your location or theirs. For example, retailers can be interested in promotions that get your stakeholders to visit their stores. Sponsors may also wish to further their relationships with their existing customers and other stakeholders using tools such as corporate entertaining. So, you want to look at how you can drive traffic to your sponsors; how you can provide them with opportunities to personally meet your audience; and how you can help them involve their customers and employees in your organization.
2. Positive Association
Another top reason that prospects choose sponsorships is to benefit from the positive association of supporting your organization and projects. With sponsorships, this is meant as more than goodwill. Many sponsors will want you to promote their participation. Often your communication efforts will be augmented by their own marketing. So, for these sponsors, you want to find ways to publicly express your appreciation, to showcase the impact of their support and for them to share your story with their audience.
3. Reaching a Target Audience
Some sponsors pursue partnerships because they provide an opportunity to reach a specific target market. For example, opera and and monster truck rallies attract highly specific and vastly different audiences. So, you want to provide potential sponsors with detailed information about the audience they can reach by partnering with you. Numbers that you want to provide include the size of your audience, the amount of your interaction with them and the demographic breakdown.
4. Direct Sales
Some sponsors seek direct opportunities to sell their products or services through marketing partnerships via means such as official supplier status. Others actually desire agreements that would be more accurately described as an operating partnership despite a sponsorship framework. However, not all sales opportunities need to be about establishing major new business channels. For example, a car dealer could seek to have a special one-day promotional sales event in the parking lot of an arts centre as part of a production sponsorship. So, you want to be open to possibilities while developing a clear understanding of the types of arrangements that are not possible. For example, agreeing to exclusively sell a particular brand of coffee might be possible because people expect you to only carry a single brand while selling only one brand of carbonated beverages might not be possible because of people expecting you to carry their favourite.
5. Doing Good
Despite the fact that good sponsorship is about marketing, many sponsors truly do have a desire to support worthy projects. This social good concept can even apply to sponsorship of commercial endeavours if they are seen as good for the community or having some other benefit. Indeed many sponsorships and donations contain a blend of philanthropic and marketing elements regardless of how they are presented. So, you want to be aware that a potential sponsor can be driven by both objectives, and play to both motivations while clearly delineating what is sponsorship and what is philanthropy in your organization.
6. Having Fun
Sponsors have become increasingly disciplined in pursuing opportunities consistent with their missions. However, sponsorship benefits such as meeting a celebrity or attending a highly-exclusive event can sway decision making. So, in addition to presenting the organizational benefits of sponsorship participation, you want to highlight any personal opportunities you will provide.
Determining Prospect Interests
When you know the potential areas of interest to a sponsor, you can identify relevant opportunities in your organization. The next step is to ask your sponsorship prospects which of these six motivations are important to them. (Although, you might not want to focus on the having fun element — just offer it.) When you develop strong dialogues with your prospects about there relevant interests, you are well on your way to sponsorship success.