Most people think of closing the sponsorship sale as the last step in the sponsorship process but nothing could be further from the truth! Getting the money is hard work but not as hard as keeping your sponsors happy after they’ve agreed to invest. This is the last post of my five part sponsorship series and is focused on the last, and most important, step in the sponsorship cycle- activation and fulfillment.
Be sure to check out my infographic called The Sponsorship Journey which captures some of the key points we’ve discussed in this series.
Delivering on your Sponsorship Package
Activation and fulfillment is a combination of things but simply put, these terms mean doing what you said you would do, helping your sponsors take advantage of their investment and proving your value (or admitting you missed the mark.)
When you sell a sponsorship package
, the first thing you should do (yes, even before sending an invoice) is to build a strategy based on your sponsorship levels for how you are going to make sure that your sponsor takes advantage of, or “activates,” their sponsorship benefits. This includes key dates, who on your team is responsible and what the sponsor needs in order to activate fully. It is your responsibility to make sure that your sponsors have every opportunity possible to take advantage of their benefits. Since your sponsorship package was customized, you know that every single thing you promised is important so don’t let your sponsors miss out on key benefits.
How to Create a Sponsorship Package
What do you do when your prospect tells you they have $10,000 for a sponsorship package? Why you sell them a $10,000 package right? Wrong! This is not how to get sponsorship money, not if you want to keep your sponsors anyway.
Imagine yourself buying a new computer for $1,000. You have exactly $1,000 and not a penny more. You get your computer home and realize that to make it work you need a power cable that costs $100 and that it didn’t come with an operating system which will cost another $200. How would you feel about the person who sold you the computer despite you telling them your budget? Don’t do this to your sponsors!
How to Get Corporate Sponsors and Keep Them!
If your sponsor will be required to do things like design an ad, travel to a conference, exhibit all day or provide free samples to take advantage of their then it is essential that your sponsor prepares for the cost, and that you help them do it. If they only have $10,000 and you know that it will cost $3,000 to activate then find them a sponsorship package that costs less. If you do this, your sponsors will trust you and you will save yourself an uncomfortable conversation when you sponsor starts to see the true cost of their package.
Deliver Your Fulfillment Report to your Sponsors
So you got the money, you did everything you said you would and your sponsor is happy. Now you’re done, right? Not quite. First, you think your sponsor is happy…but do you know your sponsor is happy?Arrange a meeting with your sponsor after you have delivered everything you said you would. Invite them to bring anyone else on their team who has a hand in guiding their sponsorship spending to seek their feedback as well. Before you meet, create and deliver a “sponsor fulfillment report” of all the things you said you would do along with all of the things you missed and why. Go one step further and include pictures, screen shots of their logos, recordings of speaking engagements, product placement…everything!What purpose does this serve? It does all of the following:
- Proves to your sponsor that you delivered
- Gives your sponsor something to share with their superiors to justify the investment
- Tells your sponsor that you are a professional and know how important their investment is
- Reminds them of all of the things they received in their sponsorship package
- Sets you up to ask for feedback and ask even more questions about their goals to give you sponsorship packages ideas for next year
You have to be honest though, if you missed something then you have to admit it here and explain why.
Your Sponsors will be Impressed
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard my sponsors tell me how impressed they are that we provided fulfillment reports and an opportunity to provide feedback. Many have told me that they just don’t see this in the charitable and not for profit sector. Follow the process described in this series and you will stand out to your corporate partners and make it hard for them to walk away!There you have it! Five posts covering five essential pieces of the sponsorship cycle. Share the series, leave your comments and continue to e-mail me with your questions and ideas- I love it! Most importantly though, sign up to get updates as soon as they’re ready…we still have a lot to cover!