Facebook Tracking Code

Sponsorship Success from Both Sides of the Table

Sponsorship Success from Both Sides of the Table

For all you smaller not-for-profits out there who are thinking about starting a sponsorship program –  this one’s for you.

Meet Diane and Jen: local Ottawa real-estate agents interested in making meaningful connections in the communities where they work. Diane and Jen want to do more than just “give money” to these communities – they want to reach out, and touch the pulse of these communities so they can get to the essence of what each neighborhood is about.

Wait a minute! that sounds like a lot of not-for-profits I know. Yes! Read on.

Meet the Hintonburg Community Association. They are a creative, energetic group of people looking for financial support from businesses to run some community events in their neighborhood. They spoke with Diane and Jen about building a sponsorship relationship that is mutually beneficial which also promotes and highlights the amazing neighborhood of Hintonburg. Diane and Jen want to get to know the people of Hintonburg – the Community association wants to be able to put on great events in their community.

Says Diane, “ As a small business, we have to be mindful of our marketing dollars and investing in organizations that reach our target market but more than that, we need vehicles for conveying our understanding and passion for the communities where we work. We want the people who already live there to know this, as well as those who want to become their neighbours. The HCA is a unique community organization in that they wanted something mutually beneficial: they really get that we needed more than to just stroke a cheque. They seem to be more fluid than many with their policies to be able to do this and welcomed us with open arms into their fold. They are active with social media and this contributes greatly to that mutual benefit – we each tweet and retweet, following each other so we are up on the latest community’s news and views. And because they are so active within the community, the many individuals who benefit from their support also know about us!”

Says Jeff Leiper, President of the Hintonburg Community Association “At the heart of all of our sponsorships is a contract document where we outline the expectations for both parties. But we see the contract as the bare minimum, and we spend a great deal of time actively looking for ways that we can go above and beyond that document. For example, if we get a request from a sponsor that is not in the contract, we find ways to accommodate that request. We want to go above and beyond because that’s where the value add is for the sponsors. We want to make sure that our sponsors are getting great value for their marketing dollars. And they do! Social media has also been very helpful in getting the word out about our sponsors. Twitter and other social media allow us to create real engagement. Diane and Jen are very active on social media –  I wish all of our sponsors were that active. Social media has really levelled the playing field from our community group’s perspective because we can compete for sponsorship dollars with the bigger organizations. Grassroots engagement through social media means real connections with real people that live right in our neighborhood.”

Great fundraising relationships are built on a shared sense of purpose. By finding the common ground between potential sponsors and your organization’s beliefs, by looking at things from the other side of the table, and by always looking for ways to expand up from the basic contract, you too can find the sweet spot for sponsorship success.

Your Takeaways from this Sponsorship Success Story

  •  Small is mighty – highlight what makes you unique, be fluid with your sponsorship policies, and you really can compete with bigger organizations for sponsorship dollars.
  • Your organization’s ability to be creative DOES matter. What kind of ideas are YOU open to?
  • Real connections between people must also exist in the sponsorship world. Businesses really do want to get to know you (the staff), your constituents and your volunteers. By creating opportunities for them to do that, they will be delighted (and renew their sponsorships).
  • There is so much more to sponsorship than taking someone’s money and slapping a logo on something. If you were the business owner, what would YOU be interested in?

So how are you revamping your sponsorship packages for this coming year? Let me know in the comments section of the blog.