Thursday, May 24, 2012

Creative Sponsor Engagement

The Pride Financial Partners logo is visible on the back
of bid cards, a creative way to maximize sponsor benefits.

In a slowly recovering economy, sponsors—just like everyone else—are having to find alternative ways to meet their bottom lines while still giving back. Instead of this being an obstacle, we're seeing a lot of creative solutions between sponsors and non-profits.

When you have a sponsor that wants to step up in creative ways to engage your audience and brainstorm how to cultivate a long-term relationship with your organization, you should jump up and down with joy.

Pride Financial Partners in Portland, Oregon is one such nimble and incredibly generous sponsor. An independent firm focusing on risk management, wealth management, and financial planning, the managing partners have made a significant commitment to being actively involved in the community they call home.

When they sponsored a local non-profit's gala and were offered the traditional logo placement choices, they thought bigger about their potential impact. They asked if they could put their logo on the bid cards if no one else had claimed the space yet. And they'd pay for the printing.
The team at Pride Financial Partners.

The catch?

For every card brought in to engage them in services they'd donate additional money to the non-profit they were sponsoring.

Can you say win / win?

When your sponsors talk to you about what they'd like out of their sponsorship and how they can activate your audience, listen to them. They may have an idea that's never come up before and might be just the ticket to get them on board in a significant way.

To hear more about creating great partnerships with your sponsors, join us for our Advanced Sponsorship Class on June 23.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

People Give to People

Photo by Rosemary Ragusa
We are often asked, “What’s the secret to sponsorship?”

There’s one easy answer: talk to your potential sponsors don’t just send them paperwork.

That’s both the bad and the good news in fundraising.

It’s the bad news because you can’t hide behind a great sponsorship proposal that you send far and wide and just wait around for all the yeses to start rolling in.

It’s good because it means that having actual conversations with potential sponsors that you have a connection to will often get you so much further than paperwork.

One resonant conclusion keeps coming out of research done on giving and philanthropy: people give to people.

Think of the times in your life you’ve really been compelled to support an organization. Likely it’s because you heard a personal story that turned your head. Or you know someone who is devoted to and passionate about a cause and they ask you to join in.

Photo by Andie Petkus
Your sponsors are people. Yes, many of them have official channels to process sponsorships and that’s where a great sponsorship proposal packet is the follow up. But the initial contact is so much more fruitful when it starts as a conversation.

So when you are prospecting sponsors, don’t make an abstract wish list. Make a targeted list that you and people in your organization have a connection to in some way. Spending time on this list and cultivating these supporters will prove so much more effective in both the short and the long term for your cause than pursuing the big fish that you have no ‘in’ with.

You are passionate about the organization you work for, bring that energy and spirit to your conversations with potential sponsors. A form letter will get put in a pile. Person to person contact will not only help you cultivate sponsors and get them excited about your cause, it makes your potential sponsors feel included in what you’re doing which helps secure them long term.

For more resources about cultivating sponsors join us for our upcoming Sponsorship Class on May 23.