What Corporates Assess When Considering Your Sponsorship Approach
Have you ever wondered what brands are really thinking about when they consider approaches for charity partnerships? Wait no more! We are going to unpack it for you…
Businesses want more than the transactional relationships that can come from sponsoring an event or funding a charity program. For them it’s about aligning with their strategy and objectives and ensuring there are clear metrics and returns for their brand.
Here are 10 key points to consider when crafting your approach, that your potential sponsors will be assessing:
- Initial outreach – First impressions count! We all know it, but it’s one of the most important points to ensure you nail it. Sponsorship and partnerships have changed. It’s no longer about cold proposal sent out to a hot prospect list! If you want a partner, you need to act like a partner. Be willing to get to know a brand, ask them what their goals are and how they like to engage with events or organisations like yours. Spend time getting to know them, ultimately your partnership will be stronger for it!
- Proposal structure – Of course, the first caveat is that you would only send a proposal once you’ve gleaned a sense that a brand wants to hear from you and learn more. Ensure the content flows well, makes sense, and addresses the key points that are important to your event/program, as well as the goals they may have expressed to you already. Executives that read your proposals are busy, so it is important to include a 1 page executive summary (I do this in the email that I send through) that sums up the most important parts of the proposal so they can read it at a glance.
- Validation – Clearly define who you are (your organisation), the purpose of the potential partnership and the value proposition you offer. Ensure you include evidence (like current facts and statistics) that backs up your approach and why you’ve chosen them to reach out to. Remember, if you’re still stuck in the mindset of sending out cold proposals to a list of prospects, you will find this step nearly impossible. You will only begin to uncover your REAL value proposition once you’ve started to build a relationship with a brand and understand what they need from your opportunity.
- Alignment – Values, brand, stakeholder alignment. This is a BIG one. Probably one of the most important things potential sponsors will consider. How does your For-Purpose organisation align with their values and brand? How will the partnership create value for their brand? Do they align with your mission and objectives? Does the partnership just make sense? How can you help them look better and be better to their key stakeholders?
- Offer – What are the benefits and opportunities / your value proposition / and the marketing and media exposure that your corporate sponsor will receive? This part needs to be packed with a PUNCH! Of course, you will know most of what they are looking for because you asked good questions in your initial outreach! This can be a make or break part, so make sure you really consider what you are offering in return for their marketing spend. And remember to stay open and flexible. If they’ve done sponsorship and cause-related partnerships before, they will have a good idea of how they like to engage and what specific things they are looking for.
- Engagement – What does the internal and external engagement look like for your partner’s stakeholders, employees, marketing, PR and online efforts? What ways are you going to create impact together? How will they be involved? How can they communicate and how will you help them? Outline how you envisage engagement activities to unfold. You can even provide a communications plan here to give a thorough or indicative explanation of where and how your partners can be involved?
- Rights – Confirm if there is exclusivity to a category, sector or product. Are there logo usage rights on collateral? Are they a naming rights partner? Do they want to ‘own’ a program from start to finish, with impact indicators to help them with their social purpose? What else do you offer your partners? Be sure to outline the value their company will get in terms of partnering with your trusted brand. Remember! Sponsorship is not advertising – it is about offering ways for brands to create deeper connections and shared value. This is not a transactional relationship – think ‘connection’ and ‘partnership’ rather than logo placement.
- Investment – This is an important one and it can be a tricky part of the process for many. What will the return to your partner be? You won’t know what kind of return they want, until you’ve asked them. The great thing about exploring ROI, ROO (return on objectives) or ROE (return on experience) with a potential partner, is that it helps you understand a vital piece around how they measure success. How do they like to show up at events? What KPIs or ROI are they specifically seeking from a sponsorship alignment? Do they have KPIs for staff that get involved? Is it lead generation? Sales? Brand awareness? The more you explore this point, the more ‘on point’ you will be when it comes to finding the right price and delivering on the relationship.
- Target markets – This is also a really important one to communicate. A potential corporate sponsor will need to assess whether your community of followers aligns with their target market. Do you know who their current target market/s are? Will your partnership create value in access to new audiences and stakeholder groups? Is there synergy with existing audiences? Perhaps if you can’t put them in touch with their target market, can you leverage the fact that your cause something that their customers and employees care about? What might that look like? (Hint – look at your donor base here – demographics can tell you so much!)
- Management & Measurement – Identify and elaborate on the evaluation and relationship management process. How will it be managed? Will you be the main point of contact, or might you need to introduce them to others in your organisation? What metrics will be used to evaluate success? Are you measuring impact? Membership growth? How do they relate to the set goals of the sponsorship and when will evaluation occur? Will you be providing them with fulfilment reports? (Hint – the answer to that one is yes!) How often? Remember it is vital to report on everything that you promised them.
It is fundamental to the success of your partnerships that you have well-oiled and comprehensive processes for seeking and securing great partners. Remember, you need to be constantly finding ways to set your organisation or event apart from all the other approaches and proposals that will land on your corporate sponsors desk! You are in a competitive market for sure!
Need a little help? At Infinity Sponsorship we provide 1:1 coaching, brokerage as well as our famous 12-month Fundraising Academy program that will walk you through the process step-by-step, give you the skills and confidence and all the templates you need to nail your corporate partnerships.