When I first started in sponsorship, there was a lot I didn’t know. I remember thinking things like “we only need one more to sponsor to hit our budget” or “what’s the fastest way to get a sponsor” — What I learned is that while I could get sponsored and often times find more sponsorship than we needed, they weren’t sustainable or renewable sponsorships and that led to more work for me every year to constantly find new sponsors.
[Tweet “Don’t get lucky with sponsorships, get smart.”]
Whether you’re learning how to get your first sponsor, how to get sponsored by more brands, how to get sponsors to renew or how to get a sponsor to say “yes” in the first place… there are things I recommend knowing. The #1 thing I’d recommend is knowing and understanding the values of your organization, for-profit or nonprofit.
When thinking about getting sponsored, it can be tempting to appeal to anyone and everyone who might sponsor you or your property—but before you do, take a moment to make sure that this sponsorship relationship is built to last. Don’t get lucky with sponsorships, get smart.
First, consider your organization’s core values. Make a comprehensive list and compare that to the potential sponsor’s values. You can often find the values or guiding principles for a brand on their website. Once you find them, make sure it’s a match! You know, kind of like a dating profile. You want to see some common interest, right?
For example, don’t ask a major (or any) alcoholic beverage brand to sponsor a convention for people that want to stop drinking alcohol. Make sense? This may seem obvious, but it gets trickier as we learn to realize that a sponsor is mainly interested in your message AND your crowd, in addition to the ROI and value they get.
Think of sponsorship as a marriage, and build it to last. Finding a company that shares a mind-space and values with you will help you reach common goals more quickly as a team. Think about the audience you draw. Is it a crowd that would be interested in your sponsor’s product or service? If not, then you have some more research to do and can probably find a better match.
Remember, finding the right sponsors means being able to count on them backing you year after year. The less you have to chase money, the more you can help people and that’s really what it’s all about!