Best practice sponsorship is easy. Well, okay… maybe not easy, but it is certainly a lot more sensible and no more difficult than old school sponsorship. So, when I came upon an online discussion where one of the pundits was defending old school sponsorship as a stepping stone to learning best practice sponsorship, I was, let’s just say… befuddled.
The idea put forward was that old school thinking is the basics of sponsorship and best practice, Last Generation Sponsorship is for advanced practitioners – not smaller organisations or organisations run by volunteers. Wrong answer.
Best practice thinking is the basics of sponsorship. It’s not more difficult or more advanced, it’s simply new – the result of the increasing sophistication of the industry. Saying someone needs to understand out-of-date “basics” before learning best practice is like saying someone needs to master a Commodore 64 computer (circa 1980) before they’re ready for a Mac!
Best practice is just as simple – and far more sensible – than old-school thinking. That holds whether the sponsorship seeker is a professional or a volunteer. If you’re not prepared to go best practice, the process will be more difficult and less rewarding. It sucks the life out of people to hear “no” that often, and that’s not what you want for yourself, your staff, or your volunteers.
Moreover, smaller organisations can’t get away with worse skills than larger sponsorship seekers, as they are held to the same standard by sponsors. Sponsors make their decisions about where to invest based on many things, including the fit of the property, the sophistication and partnership-orientation of the offer, the leverage ideas incorporated in the offer, and more. Making your offer compelling enough to stand out in the sea of uncustomised proposals sponsors receive requires top quality skills, no matter what the size of the organisation.
In case you’re interested in feedback from some people – many from smaller, community organisations – who have done my workshops and moved from old school thinking to best practice, check out this link.
The longer responses were from people I polled months after the training, so they have had time to put it into practice. The reason I thought you would be interested is that the message is so clear – best practice thinking will change your results, no matter what kind or size organisation you work for.
Not sure what comprises best practice? You may want to download my white paper, “Last Generation Sponsorship”.
© Kim Skildum-Reid. All rights reserved. For republishing information see Blog and White Paper Reprints.