Many companies do not understand this concept right away, so it is your job to educate a potential sponsor about the powerful position you’re in to help them access a market they’re not currently doing business with. By aligning with your organisation a sponsor can achieve much better ‘cut through’ than if they were to ‘go it alone’ and try and reach your supporters without your help. Corporate partnership opportunities give your sponsors an exclusive invitation to ‘meet the family’.
This is a privileged opportunity and one that you need to be aware of and value highly. To the right partner (the company that is trying to sell products and services to your supporters) you are a direct route to market!
That makes you an invaluable marketing partner in their future sales strategy, don’t you think?
Throughout your sponsorship approach ensure you go into detail about those people you connect with each day – the audience, your members, the community you serve, the profession you advocate for – whoever you exist to support. Let your potential partners know that your supporters are their target market and that partnering with you will fast track their success by giving them direct access to them.
Demographic data of supporters is invaluable. The more information you can provide about them, the more valuable an alignment with you will be. Some companies go to extraordinary lengths to develop detailed analysis of their ideal consumer. Can you provide that detail as part of a partnership with your organisation or event?
If you are not currently undertaking an annual survey of your supporters, then you are possibly missing trends in growth, retention, age, income, hobbies and interests that could make you even more valuable to both your supporters and corporate partners. Creating a section in your sponsorship proposal that identifies detailed demographics will be like bringing Christmas early to your sponsors!
At this point, it would be wise to mention that a partnership with a company should not ever entitle them to unfettered access to your database of supporters, and under no circumstances should you ever sell or ‘hand over’ your database to a sponsor. The key selling point of a partnership with you is the fact that you have supporters who stay with you because they trust you and value the services you provide.
Partnership with your organisation gives a company a ‘warm’ introduction to a group of potential customers they are not yet dealing with. As soon as you hand over your database, you lose. You lose your powerful position as gate keeper, and you lose the trust of your supporters, because now they are being ‘courted’ directly by a company they didn’t give permission to approach them.
There are a myriad ways to get a sponsor’s brand and messages in front of your supporters and you should first start thinking about all the ways you currently communicate, market, promote, engage and celebrate your successes over the course of the year to your community of followers.
If a company or brand is the right ‘fit’, then they should have something to say that your supporters will want to hear. Try to make a partnership with you LESS about advertising opportunities and logo placement and MORE about the right company helping your supporters; either through learning more, achieving greater success, saving money, business efficiency – whatever is most relevant that a sponsor can offer your community of followers.