If 2020 was your year to stabilize in the face of multiple crises, let 2021 be your year to reset your vision and take back control of your future.
Among your top considerations is your revenue mix.
Based on research my firm co-authored last year, many organizations focused on individual and institutional giving and may have put corporate sponsorship on the backburner, particularly with cancelled in-person events.
Here are ten reasons why now is the time to focus on sponsorship.
With a new year and signals from the marketplace, it’s time now to dust off that sponsorship program and crank up the engines.
Vaccinations began in December—slowly, perhaps, but we’re off to a start—and the incoming administration pledges to ramp up. If your event is in late 2021, you may be able to host it in-person. Either way, now is the time to start acquiring sponsors. We all can't wait to gather.
Elections create uncertainty, which cast questions and jangled nerves in the marketplace. In 15 days, a new president and his cabinet begin their terms. Therefore, on this topic, the uncertainty is over. While the divisiveness will surely continue at least in the short term, we face a degree of hope.
Corporate Optimism: Revenue.
According to a Fortune/Deloitte CEO survey, 47 percent of CEOs expect revenue to recover this month. That number jumps another 17 percent when we extend the timeline to June 2021. That means by the first half of the year, 64 percent of CEOs in the country expect that revenue will be back to normal or recovered from pre-COVID levels. If you’ve been thinking that businesses don’t have the money to sponsor, banish the thought.
In another study, KPMG’s U.S. CEO Outlook Survey, 60 percent of U.S. CEOs are confident that their organizations will grow in the new economy. While 40 percent expect growth to be slow (2.5 percent), growth is growth. How can your sponsorship program contribute to that growth?
Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that corporations are sitting on piles of cash. Now, before you start counting your chickens, that cash likely has other purposes—debt buybacks, capital projects, hiring employees, and mergers and acquisitions. Why is that important? Because these types of activities can change the face of a corporation, necessitating strategy change and marketing investment, and that can be good news for you, if you know what to do with it.
Priorities: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
Another observation from the Fortune/Deloitte CEO survey is that 96 percent of CEOs agree that DEI is a strategic imperative to which they are actively investing.
In KPMG’s study, 68 percent of CEOs said that purpose is what guides them in knowing how to serve stakeholders, and 77 percent said their organizations needed more work here. Clearly this is an opportunity for many organizations.
Of course, you’ve noticed that except for our essential workers, we’ve all gone digital. We buy most products online. We’re meeting, working, networking, learning, schmoozing, celebrating, and even dating online. We’re watching movies, reruns, even sports reruns on our digital platforms. Our marketing, events, conference, and program or service delivery is digital. See some opportunity here, even if your event is not in-person?
Given all of this—and all of the trends, events, and shifts ahead—organizations are updating strategies, accelerating priorities, nixing others, and seizing opportunities for growth and expansion. They will be investing in opportunities that accelerate their plans and meet their priorities.
Government Sources Squeezed
With increased costs, decreased tax revenue, and no direct monies included in the federal aid package passed at the end of 2020, government funding sources may be stretched this year. How would it impact your organization if you were to lose this important source?
These ten broad observations, just a fragment of my research, can help you refresh and reframe your sponsorship value.
At this moment, you have time on your side for events in the second half of the calendar year and beyond.
Your next steps:
- Update your sponsorship value and sales approach.
- Then, step forward, leverage this time and opportunity to boldly initiating new relationships.