To build a healthy relationship with a sponsor, you have to take the time to get to know that sponsor… what motivates their brand, what language do they typically use, what audience do they seek.
Just making an ask without knowing what you propose is the right fit for a sponsor can easily result in a NO.
It’s easy to make mistakes like this, but thankfully it’s also easy to AVOID such mistakes.
That's why we've created a 3-part sponsorship educational series addressing 3 easy-to-avoid mistakes (and their solutions).
The 3 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Building Relationships with Corporate Sponsors:
- Sponsorship Relationship Mistake #1: Not keeping in touch with sponsors through the year and/or only communicating when you have an ask.
- Sponsorship Relationship Mistake #2: Incongruence between your ask and how your project looks on social media, print, and sponsor documents.
- Sponsorship Relationship Mistake #3: Not researching the sponsor.
Finally, we conclude with an unfortunate choice that can impact your relationship with a potential sponsor before you even make first contact.
Sponsorship Relationship Mistake #3:
Not researching the sponsor.
Researching sponsors is an ESSENTIAL task in the sponsorship process.
To get your projects funded with sponsorship support and to create more impact, relationship building and communication with others are vital ingredients. We often say, it takes a team to raise a dream!
Sponsorship (versus charitable giving or philanthropy presented as sponsorship) is a marketing partnership or relationship.
Most companies and brands fund sponsorship from their marketing budgets, so of course they (as with any marketing activity) will evaluate sponsorship against other marketing and promotional opportunities that they take on.
Providing Sponsors with ROI is What Gets You a YES.
If you want to know how to help and provide return on investment, you need to research your sponsor, learn what their challenges and needs are, and what matters to their brand.
One of the most important reasons that brands and companies have for sponsoring different projects, events, and launches is relationship building. Through sponsorship, the sponsor can pursue developing new relationships with access to your audience, followers, community, and/or stakeholders.
Having a sense of a company’s desirable audience requires learning about your prospective sponsors before you meet or have a discovery call. Follow your target sponsors on social media and learn how they communicate online, what they communicate, who they engage with, and which demographics they interact with.
The learning and research phase also involves reviewing (in depth) the company webpage, LinkedIn, or popular social media channels. Take time to watch videos concerning the brand, read their press releases, and see if you can find any published annual reports.
If you invest in knowing what projects and values are important to the brand, when the opportunity arrives to have a conversation or in-person meeting with sponsorship decision-makers, they will be impressed that you took time to learn about them.
Be open in your curiosity and interest. Sponsors will appreciate you asking clarifying questions to deepen your knowledge about their brand.
When you know the potential areas of interest to a sponsor, you can identify relevant opportunities in your organization. Our Big Dream Primer program walks you through our in depth research strategies and tips to identify the optimal right-fit sponsors, where to find the details that help lead to successful relationships, and templates for tracking notes. You can find out more here.
Invest in Sponsor Relationships
Any relationship that’s worthwhile will call on you to invest your time and heart.
As we’ve seen from our years of experience and from our conversations with sponsors, the time you invest to avoid mistakes -- instead focusing on maintaining long-term relationships and communication, creating a professional image and approach, and dedicating time to meeting the needs of potential sponsors -- will help you raise your dream faster and with greater success.