Measuring Sponsorship ROI – A Case For Collaboration

Have you noticed that words like ROI, ROO, ROE, and Measurement seem to be spoken about with greater urgency and importance right now?

Almost like brands EVERYWHERE are suddenly getting super strict about how they are measuring their sponsorships?

As a corporate fundraiser, where does that leave you?

Despite, the buzz and hype of measurement and ROI, a common mistake that I still see many brands making when they agree to a sponsorship, is the expectation that their ROI is imminent by simply aligning their name and logo with a for-purpose organisation or event.

Many companies spend a great deal of time and effort planning for and selecting which sponsorship would be the best fit for their brand. But once the deal has been signed, often the opportunity for marketing managers to shift their focus to working collaboratively with their partners to ensure they make the most of the sponsorship falls by the wayside.

Have you ever had a conversation with a potential sponsor where they ask you how you will measure their return on investment on the partnership?

And what about how you propose to measure the sales they are making out of the sponsorship, count the leads they generate from your event and so on?

When you’re new to or inexperienced in sponsorship, these kinds of questions can really throw you.

You find yourself asking, is it really our responsibility to measure a sponsor’s return on investment? Is this how sponsorship is done these days?

How should I answer these questions so we can still stay in the running for their investment?

It might come as a relief to know (if you’re a sponsorship seeker) that it’s not your job to measure how many of your supporters are purchasing your sponsor’s products or services – that’s an impossible task and it’s their job to be tracking those details. However, you can (and should) document and measure how often and through which channels you are sharing their key messages, educational material, branding and other agreed benefits throughout the term of your agreement together.

One easy way to help a sponsor understand (and share internally) all of the things they received as part of their relationship with you is to create an ROI (or fulfilment) report. Something that outlines all the benefits you said you would give them, as well as when and how often you have delivered, not delivered, or over-delivered on each particular item.

In fact, prior to beginning any corporate partnership, one of the key benefits (that you need to let potential sponsors know about) is that you will deliver regular ROI reports to track the progress of the relationship.  Very few for-purpose organisations and events are doing this for their sponsors, so it is a great ‘after-sales’ service that you can let them know they’ll be receiving.

Whilst you are sharing with your potential partners how you will be tracking your deliverables of the relationship, don’t forget to ask them how they might also provide you with feedback each quarter on how they will be measuring it.

Companies and brands create sales targets for their various products and services. They use their marketing budget to spend on different activities and communication channels that promote these products in ways that (hopefully) make people want to buy them.  They track the results of their marketing spend and when certain activities do not yield the kind of results (sales) a company wants, it reduces or cuts spending on that activity and looks for another avenue to connect with their ideal customers.

Sponsorship is a marketing activity.  A very effective activity that creates a much deeper sense of connection than advertising can.

How empowering would it be for your organisation to know exactly how much business your partners are deriving from being associated with you? Imagine walking into your formal reviews throughout the year and everyone is fully informed about the progress being made on both sides of the coin? It would take all of the guesswork out of renewing contracts, freeing you up to talk about the future and ‘what brilliant thing can we do together next to create positive change in the world?’

So, don’t be afraid to ask how your sponsors intend to track how many sales have they made, leads they have generated, enquiries that have come through as a result of the relationship. Partnerships are just that. A partnership. A two-way relationship.

Many companies are still looking to you as the sponsorship seeker to help them track their success and results. So, why not get this out on the table early on and have a frank conversation about how you might do that together? For example, do they require your supporters to quote a membership number or coupon code that can be traced to the partnership? Will their call centre staff ask callers where they heard about them and that way will know if it was a result of their sponsorship of your event etc? Brainstorming these ideas with your partners is an incredibly valuable exercise!

Measuring partnerships doesn’t have to be scary or make you feel completely out of your depth. At this point of the relationship, in many ways you’ve done the hard bit – you’ve built a relationship and secured their investment over all the other sponsorship choices they had.  Like EVERY other aspect of sponsorship, it is about asking the right questions to uncover needs, issues and goals and then working collaboratively to make it work for everyone.

When was the last time you provided your corporate partners with a fulfilment or ROI report?

How long ago was it since you surveyed them to ask how they are enjoying their relationship with you?

What activations and benefits would they like more of, less of, to be involved in, to have carriage of – have you ever asked?

Of course, there’s a process to doing this well, so if you feel like you need some extra support you can join the Fundraising Academy risk-free with my ‘100% forever’ guarantee! Check it out here.

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