We all know that the gold standard in sponsorship is creating strong rapport and understanding a potential sponsor’s needs BEFORE sending out your proposal, but the reality is that alot of For Purpose fundraisers are still sending out cold proposals for a number of reasons – mostly because they are time-poor and under pressure to get results in a short space of time. What do you do then?
There can be many possible scenarios when you follow up on your proposal, make sure you see each one as an opportunity to make up for lost time:
- The person you thought was the right contact no longer works there and the person filling in didn’t receive your proposal. (That’s the time to, introduce yourself, build rapport, ask for the right contact and/or some key questions to screen their level of interest in your opportunity.)
- The person has not read it and asks you to call back. (Before you hang up – try and mutually agree on a specific day and time to follow up with them.)
- The person you’ve targeted is not the decision maker, but they like the proposal and see the benefits of being aligned. (This is your chance to make your contact a champion for your cause. They will need to seek approval from above – how can you help them to achieve the best outcome? Would it help if you met for coffee, came in and did a presentation, provided some research or statistics about why the alignment between your organisations is a strong one?)
- You have reached the right person but they are just too busy to read the proposal. (This is an opportunity to build rapport. Have empathy for their busy schedule. Reinforce that there is an alignment that you would like to explore and ask in a nutshell what would they need for this opportunity to be of interest to them? Acknowledge they are busy and let them know you are going to get off the phone so that they can get on with their day. Might there be a good time to get in touch again next week? Seek confirmation of a day and time if possible.)
Whatever the scenario you are presented with, remember to always keep it light, bright and happy – remember YOU are seeking to develop a relationship and you have started behind the eight ball because you are trying to build a relationship after you have asked for something.
The first step is helping the person you’re speaking with to trust you, and then through discussions, for them to see that your organisation is a credible and viable opportunity for them to grow their business. You know your organisation needs this sponsorship money, but the only way to get it is to be committed to building trust and rapport with any potential sponsor.
Whether you build a relationship before or after your proposal, taking the time to connect with people is the only way that long term partnerships work.