Best Practice Baby Steps for Sponsorship Seekers

People are afraid of change. At least that’s the sense I get when talking about best practice sponsorship. It is all so new and different that people assume it will be difficult.

It’s not actually difficult, but I do get that it can look daunting to start. For those people who want to do sponsorship better, but want to take baby steps, I’ve created this guide.

Step 1

You need to start changing your thinking, so some light reading is your first step. There is tons of content on this site, but to give you an easily digestible start, I recommend these two white papers:

Step 2

You’re realising that you could be doing better, but not sure where to start. Here are a few blogs that outline where most sponsorship seekers get it wrong – helping you to put some dynamite under those old habits – and how to do it right.

Bonus reading for non-profits:

Step 3

You’re starting to get hungry to put some of this into practice, so you need to equip yourself.

Order The Sponsorship Seeker’s Toolkit 4th Edition.

While you’re waiting for it to arrive, check out the blogs featured on our Sponsorship Bloggers page. Note, I have left out a number of big names who do blog, but aren’t all that insightful, taking an approach something like, “I’d like to bring your attention to this issue. It sure is a big issue and I recommend you keep it in mind. The end.”

If you’re on Twitter, you can start following some of the best thinkers in sponsorship, sports marketing, and fundraising. I’ve compiled a list of my favourites you can check out on my Industry Tweeters to Follow page.

Step 4

The book still hasn’t arrived, but you want to get going.

Download the Generic Inventory – a big list of all of the creative benefits you can offer, but probably haven’t thought of. Spend 30 minutes customising it for your organisation.

If you’re relatively new to marketing and sponsorship, you should also download “Cheat Sheet: Marketing Terms a Sponsorship Seeker Must Know”, so you can start talking the language.

Finally, get a library card. You heard me right – you need a library card. Why? So you can avail yourself of the best free resource for business information on the planet: ABI/Inform Full-Text Online.

You can enter – Google-style – keywords and it will search the full text of articles on thousands of business publications around the world and bring you back the whole articles. You can mark the ones that are interesting to you and e-mail them to yourself. The kind of things you will find:

  • Examples of best practice sponsorship
  • Examples of interesting, out-of-the-box partnerships
  • Examples of interesting, out-of-the-box sponsorship benefits
  • Precedent to add weight to that great sponsorship idea you have
  • Background on how other sponsors use their sponsorships of art galleries/festivals/whatever
  • Background on what multinational sponsors do in other countries (you’ll make yourself look really smart if you do this!)

The kicker is that mostly only university and major public libraries have a license to this. The good news is that you should be able to get a library card and pin number to remotely log into the online materials from your office. That’s what I do with the State Library of NSW. Just call and ask your closest major library about the process to get a card and pin number because you want to access ProQuest databases from home (ABI/Inform is a ProQuest service). Note, do say “home”, not “work”.

Step 5

The book has arrived! Go straight to the section on Sales. Read it, take notes, and pick a couple of your current sponsors coming up to renewal that you will try out the techniques on. What techniques? Distilling it down to the most important sales basics:

  • Fill out the Sponsor Information Checklist as much as you can.
  • Contact your sponsor and request a meeting. Tell them that you are going to be taking a new approach and want to ensure you understand exactly what they are trying to achieve, so you can create something really effective for them. In that meeting, fine tune your Sponsor Information Checklist.
  • Get some colleagues together and go through the leverage brainstorm process to get some great ideas to build your sponsorship around.

Step 6

Okay, so you’ve got a couple of receptive sponsors itching for your great new ideas, but you don’t know how to package them.

First off, start with the sponsorship proposal template in The Sponsorship Seeker’s Toolkit 4th Edition. Be absolutely sure to customise it, so it looks like your organisation, not the generic version you get in the book. Dress it up, include pictures, make it sexy.

This blog will be very helpful in getting you to the right price:

And there is this YouTube tutorial:

You’re on your own

If you follow all of these little baby steps, and use a couple of your current sponsors as guinea pigs, you will start to get feedback that will tell you this approach is what sponsors are hungry for. It will start to feel like the obvious and natural way to go about sponsorship and you will start devouring everything you can about the whole process.

Once that happens, you don’t need baby steps anymore. You’re starting to see that it works and will be flying!

Need more assistance?

For all you need to know about sponsorship sales and servicing, you may want to get a copy of The Sponsorship Seeker’s Toolkit 4th Edition.

If you could use some additional support, I provide sponsorship coaching, sponsorship consulting, sponsorship training, and if you need a fast, cost-effective start, you might look into the Jump Start program. If you’re interested in any of these services, please review the materials and drop me a line to discuss:

Kim Skildum-Reid
AU: +61 2 9559 6444
US: +1 612 326 5265

© Kim Skildum-Reid. All rights reserved. For republishing information see Blog and White Paper Reprints.

Comments are closed.