Building a Culture of Sponsorship: 5 Strategies to get Everyone on the Bus
Representing sponsorship within your organization can be an exciting, rewarding and sometimes challenging role. You need to be creative to build beneficial partnerships that balance the objectives of your organization with those of your sponsors and external partners.
You cannot accomplish this on your own; it takes a whole organization working together to achieve an optimized sponsorship program. As a sponsorship professional, you rely on your marketing, operations and programming departments to create and execute your partnerships on behalf of your sponsors. Getting buy-in from these departments on is not always easy as sponsorships can seem like another item to add to their already full to-do list.
Here are five techniques that you can try to help create a culture of sponsorship within your organization.
1. Buy Coffee And Cheap Carbohydrates
Set a 30-minute meeting with the departments that you work closely with to create and deliver your sponsorships. Come prepared with coffee and cookies (nothing increases acceptance rates to your meeting requests like the promise of free food) In this meeting you want to focus on their perceptions of your current sponsorship program and ask questions like the ones listed below.
- What about our current sponsorship program do you feel is working and we should do more of?
- What do you feel is not working that we need to improve or stop altogether?
- Have you seen other organizations doing something you feel could work for us?
Keep track of the responses to these questions look for commonalities. You will no doubt learn more about the perceptions of sponsorship within your organization as well as new opportunities and things you should avoid.
2. Invite Them To Your Discovery And Fulfillment Meetings With Sponsors
Invite your colleagues with you to the meetings with your prospects and your sponsors, this will benefit you in two ways.
- Your colleagues will begin to understand what in important to sponsors what they value when investing in your organization.
- Your colleagues are subject matter experts and can help you and your sponsors brainstorm creative ideas for partnership
3. Learn About Their Area Of Expertise
Demonstrate your commitment to your colleague’s success by learning their area of expertise. Attend a conference session about marketing; follow a blog about programming best practices, read a book about trends in events etc. This will not only make you a better professional it will also help you better understand your colleagues approach your sponsorship program.
4. Host A Sponsor Summit
Bring representatives from each of your internal departments to a sponsor summit (Learn how to plan a sponsor summit here). This can be one of the most effective ways to get your organization on board with delivering value for your sponsors. They will hear directly from your sponsors about what they feel is working and what you need to improve in order to retain and grow your sponsorship program.
5. Treat Your Colleagues Like Your Sponsors
You cannot build a lasting partnership without uncovering the needs and objectives of your sponsors. The same applies when you are working internally with your colleagues.
- Ask them questions about what their goals and objectives
- Look for opportunities to provide value
- Listen more than you speak
Joel Shields is a consultant with The Sponsorship Collective. Joel has a passion for helping organizations apply best practices to increase their sponsorship revenue. He has managed every aspect of the sponsorship process with Non-Profit, Municipal, Arts & Culture as well as Large Event properties. Joel works with our clients to strengthen their go-to-market strategies and uncover opportunities for new revenue.