Tips for Dealing with Sponsors

Dec
1
2010

Cakes and Paper

Following on from my previous post on Why  Companies Sponsor, this time I’m looking at some of those often basic things that are forgotten in sponsorship management.

Much of it’s common sense, however you would be surprised the number of times it’s forgotten.

Yes I know a lot of this is  just paperwork and administration, and it can be a drag.  However without it you’re skirting very close to being seen as an amateur  or worse a cowboy, not the professional image you’re really after.

  • Prompt Reply

    When a sponsor contacts an organisation you need to respond quickly, within a few hours at best or at least a day.  A sponsor is like a cold lead.   If you don’t respond quickly they may just lose interest.  So in order to do this you need to have all documents and contracts ready to go.

  • Stay in Contact

    Once you have made contact and have a clear communication channel to the decision maker, you now need to maintain it.   Stay in contact, even if they haven’t signed up yet.   Keep it regular, but not too regular that you are spamming them.   Let them know any interesting milestones and the like, anything to show you are serious.

    Now if they tell you to go away in any form. Stop, immediately and politely cease communications.

    If they have signed up ensure you have followed up with all the paperwork (including the invoice) and have clear terms and conditions, stating what you require off them and what your obligations are.

    The key is to build this relationship into the partnership with the sponsor, make them part of your team, don’t ignore them.

  • Listen

    This is critical.  Listen to the sponsor.   They may give you hints and leads to other sponsors or special requirements they are looking for.   If you are not sensitive to this you will miss it.  Also don’t ever assume anything.   This will be your undoing and will leave you looking like an idiot or at best a rank amateur.

  • Be Proactive

    You are going to have to do a bit of hand hold with some sponsors. Don’t assume they will just supply you with all the information you require or they will ask for various specifications. You are going to have to work for your money and do a little bit of admin here.

    You need to prompt them for sponsorship details, logos, company details, joint media releases. Often it’s a good idea to list what you need from them in the contract or the proposal.  Some companies will be on a ball, others will not.

  • Don’t Forget Previous Sponsors

    Don’t forget your previous sponsors, always ensure that you have left them on at least a profession footing.   You may find that years later they will be are willing to re-sponsor your organisation.  Like I have mentioned before it’s a good idea to stay in contact.

  • Sponsors know Reality

    The reality is any sponsor knows that you don’t have limited opportunities, or limited sponsorship packages. They know that if it comes down to them not sponsoring, over minor issue of the sponsorship terms, then you will find a way to fix this issue just to win the sponsorship dollars.   In terms of sponsorship, especially for the large amounts, all items are open for negotiation.  Yes they will play the game, but remember they know the reality.

  • Research your Cold List

    Ensure that the you have the right people in a company when you are approaching them for a sponsorship.

    You need to be talking with the decision maker not a lower level lackey.  It’s also very good idea that the sponsor does really understand the audience they sponsoring as well, often they may get the wrong impressing and this may unfortunately be reenforced.

    A few phone calls and a little investigation of an organisation can save you countless wasted days in frustration as you  follow an already dead lead.

There are entire books on this subject, but there are a few tips from both sides of the fence.

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