As we wrap up the first decade of the new millennium and one of the most challenging years for sellers and buyers of corporate sponsorship, I urge you to spend some time reflecting and really putting this year behind with greater awareness of how you'd like to move forward.
Selling sponsorship – selling anything – during easier economic times is, well, easier. When times are tough, all our shortcomings show up in technicolor. So what did you see about your operation this year? Where do you need new skills? A stronger operation? More ideas? More support? Jot your notes now so that when you return to your office in January, your focus is clear.
Here are 10 suggestions and areas to consider:
- Be able to articulate your event/festival or nonprofit organization’s value to the corporate sector.
- Develop an operation; sponsorship is not an ad hoc activity.
- Develop a sponsorship strategy. Wishing for sponsors does not a strategy make.
- Another plug for strategy: your operation is lean, and you have no time to waste.
- Clearly articulate your brand.
- Think in terms of the corporation and its self-interest.
- Innovate your way to meeting your mission through sponsorship.
- Make activation easy for your partners.
- Be proactive. Make fulfillment easy, too.
- Express gratitude for the valuable relationships you have with your corporate contacts who support your nonprofit organization's cause or mission and with your organizational peers with whom you collaborate year-round.