Are You Setting Yourself Up for a Sponsorship NO? (Part 1)


If having sponsors, getting your project funded through sponsorship support, and building marketing relationships with businesses is on your priority list (which it should be), it’s important to know what causes sponsors to decline potential marketing relationships.

At Raise a Dream, we have interviewed a number of brands and sponsors to explore what helps them (and also what hurts the people seeking sponsorship). Through these valuable conversations, we were able to boil the insightful feedback of sponsorship decision-makers into the 3 common reasons sponsors often say NO.

Every day, we see speakers, authors, event hosts, and entrepreneurs making costly mistakes that will cause sponsors to say NO to their (and potentially your) amazing offerings. Knowing how to avoid these mistakes is such an important topic, we have turned this into a 3-part sponsorship educational series so that each mistake (and its solutions) gets the attention it deserves.


The 3 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Building Relationships with Corporate Sponsors:

This first article will focus on Sponsor Relationship Mistake #1 and why keeping relationships going and supporting sponsors throughout the year may set you up for continued support and a future YES (versus only communicating when it is time to ASK).

Need help learning where to start building relationships with sponsors? Download our FREE ebook from our home page,

Sponsor Relationship Mistake #1:

Not keeping in touch with sponsors through the year and/or only communicating when you have an ask.

As a professional speaker, I attend other peoples’ conferences throughout the year and am always amazed to see how many sponsors do not come back.

Recently, I spoke at 3 conferences where 80% of the sponsors were new, which meant many previous sponsors did not return (and this was evident by comparing this year’s event website to the previous year event page). Of course, one reason sponsors do not return is that they do not receive enough ROI to warrant sponsoring again.

Another important reason is that event hosts often neglect to stay in touch and in relationship with sponsors after the event, so the only time sponsors hear from the event host is at the point of asking for sponsorship the following year. This is so common and such an avoidable issue.

Sponsorship is a marketing relationship. Don’t “break up” with your sponsor just because your event is over. You can stand out by staying in relationship and continuing to promote their involvement through sharing photos and videos from the event (and recognizing them) throughout the year.

Turn your event success into blogs and articles which feature the different sponsors. Be a champion for them on their social media. When you do this, the ask is a much different conversation… perhaps more of a confirmation of continued involvement rather than a completely new ask.

As an added benefit, when you continue the conversation and support all year long, you ALSO potentially boost the return on investment factor for sponsors.

Solutions to Support and Stay in Relationship with Corporate Sponsors (and get a YES!)

Here are some ways we keep in touch with our sponsors throughout the year. You are welcome (and encouraged) to borrow these ideas.

  • Schedule a series of social media posts (e.g. 1 per week) of your event or project after it has wrapped up. Shout out and tag the sponsors in social media. Share the sponsor’s social media posts. Engage with their posts. In the Big Dream Primer program, we share some of the tools and systems that we use to make social media support and engagement easier.
  • Write a review for sponsors or brands on Facebook or any other sites that may be applicable.
  • Do a short video of photos from your event or project about six months after its completion and send to the sponsor.
  • Mail (that’s right… stamp and envelope and handwritten note) a thank you card following the event. In about 3 months, print off a great photo of the event/project and slip the photo (in a frame, if you wish) into the card with a personal note about how their support made a difference.
  • When people provide comments about the difference your event or project made in their lives, send these positive stories to the sponsors.

How else can you stand out, be remembered, support your sponsors and keep that relationship going throughout the year?

Watch for our next article in this series that will address Sponsor Relationship Mistake #2, incongruence between what you are asking for and how your business/project or dream looks in social media and print documents.

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