True confession. One recent weekend, I binge-watched the Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. It got me thinking about how important tidying up our sponsorship program is.
(By the way, you can apply these ideas to your business development and fundraising efforts, too.)
You know the rules:
- Commit yourself to tidying up.
- Imagine your ideal sponsorship lifestyle.
- Finish discarding first.
- Tidy by category:
- Sponsorship Assets
- Sponsorship Opportunities
- Current Sponsors
- Prospective Sponsors
- Sales process and systems
- Right order (see above).
- Does it spark joy?
With an homage to Marie Kondo, let’s begin.
Your organization has a fluid list of assets. When was the last time you updated it, adding all the exciting new value you can offer and ditching assets that make sponsors’ eyes roll? Spend some time with your marketing colleagues and breath some new life into this part of your sponsorship program. But only after you’ve discarded what does not spark joy.
Same with your opportunities. Your event has likely grown and evolved since you developed your sponsorship program. It’s time to clean house. Get rid of problematic sponsorship opportunities, enlarge some, and add new opportunities as your event, program, or initiative evolves.
By the way, sparking joy in these two areas will likely spark joy to your fee structure. I pointed out to one of my clients, whose event has grown tremendously over the last 10 years—well past a quarter million attendees—that their program was due for an update. The team was still using pricing from a decade earlier.
Not all sponsors are created equally. When I work with clients, we do an analysis of existing sponsors to prioritize their energy and time investment, focused on the best and highest value sponsors.
For now, take a look at your list of last year’s sponsors. Which spark joy? And to which do you need to say, “goodbye and thank you”? Sponsors that do not spark joy actually suck the energy out of your life. Free yourself and open up your time to focus on wonderful partners.
Take a look at your prospect list and be honest with yourself. Which spark joy? And which are you stuck in an endless conversation that goes nowhere?
Again, say “goodbye and thank you”? And decide which you’ll pursue with your full energy.
Sales Process and Systems
The more we grow and evolve in sponsorship, the better we are at our sales process. The better our systems, the more efficient we are.
Take a look around and see what sparks joy. What aspect of your process will you keep? What activities or steps are you taking that are unnecessary? Where do you get hung up? What are you laboring over? What new policies or guidelines are necessary?
If you started this process by imagining your ideal sponsorship lifestyle and you tidied up all five areas of your sponsorship program, you’ll feel excited about what you have to offer and about the companies with which you’re collaborating or in a sales discussion. You’ll feel lighter and more conversant, clear about where you’re going into the future.
Just imagine all the joy you’re about to unleash.