Attention Non-Profits: Your Mission Statement is Irrelevant

helpI have lost count of the number of sponsorship proposals that feature – even open with – the sponsorship seeker’s mission statement. These are the same proposals that usually follow up the mission statement with fifteen pages of why you’re so worthy of sponsorship.

I’m really sorry to have to break it to you, but your mission statement is not a useful marketing tool. Sponsors don’t care.

This is not to say that your mission statement is irrelevant to your organisation. But when it comes to sponsorship, it’s not helpful. Nor is positioning yourself as needy, worthy, or a “good cause”.

What sponsors want see from you is very specific – it’s about their needs, not yours; it’s about connecting with and adding value to their target markets, not you. Providing that context is essential to getting to yes and not being categorised as an organisation looking for a handout. What you want is to position yourself as a viable commercial partner who can provide substantial marketing value to their company or brand.

My advice is to strip your proposal of anything more than one introductory page telling your organisation’s story, and concentrate on…

  • Your organisation’s relevance to their target markets and why those markets cares about your organisation or cause. Be reasonable about this. Not everyone is going to give a rat’s bum about what you do and getting on your high horse about how they all should care may help in your fundraising efforts, but won’t help a sponsor to identify the marketing potential.
  • Your marketing objectives – what perceptions and behaviours are you trying to change with your target markets – because helping you with your marketing offers in-built leverage ideas for sponsors. It also offers a lot of insight into your mission, but puts it into a context that is much more useful to sponsors.
  • How you envision the sponsor being involved.
  • Creative ideas for how the sponsor can use this sponsorship to achieve their marketing objectives.

There is certainly plenty more to be said about what belongs in a sponsorship proposal and how to structure it, but getting the focal point right gets you halfway there.

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


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