Now is absolutely not the time for radio silence. You need to be communicating with your key audiences as personally as possible.
Your sponsors are chief among these audiences. Here's what to do.
- Compassion. Take a deep breath and connect with your sense of empathy and concern, as one human to another. Then, call each of your sponsor representatives (prospects, too) to see how they are doing.
- Change. Find out what is changing at your sponsors’ businesses, short- and long-term.
- Communicate. Let them know what is changing at your organization. Have events been cancelled, converted to online experiences, postponed? Let your sponsor know.
- Collaborate. Based on your changing plans and operations, brainstorm together. How can you support each other? How can you communicate what your sponsor (or sponsee if you represent a company that sponsors) is doing for the good of your community?
- Creativity. People are responding in so many creative ways. Like this and this and this. Don’t hesitate to insert a heavy mix of creativity yourself. When you do, you may come up with more ideas for sponsorship value and participation.
- Stay in touch. As new information comes in, as coronavirus spreads and more people and communities realize the impact, your and your partners’ responses will evolve. Keep up the dialogue so your collaboration and partnership evolves, too.
- Gratitude. Now is the time to express gratitude widely, your sponsors among them.
- Relationships. Can you build relationships with new contacts at your sponsors’ organizations? Between coronavirus and the economic carnage it’s causing so far, organizations may look very different in 3-, 6-, 9-months. Build relationships now.
- Professional development. You likely have some time on your hands as your spring event season ground to a hault. As you learn to juggle working at home—potentially with a spouse or partner, kids, and a pet—having to suddenly cook at home and all the other tasks ahead, could you invest time in your skills and capacity so you return to work stronger and more effective? (I'd like to help you here. Please take this brief survey to help me learn what you need most.)
- Look ahead. Right now we have to balance acting today with planning for the future. I always say that sponsorship selling is selling the future. Start NOW on next year’s plans. Don’t lose this time and momentum. Enhance your value, improve your events and sponsorship program, expand your pipeline, and make bigger, bolder plans for the fall and into 2021.
Please stay healthy and safe and as cheerful as possible.