You’re Ingenious Nonprofit
Karen Eber Davis
Your board chair introduces Rob, the sponsor of the day. Polite applause ushers Rob to the microphone. Rob captures the room when he shares how glad his firm is to sponsor the event. He announces three surprising facts about his firm before issuing a challenge to find a quiz on the table to submit for a prize, and he introduces the speaker. As the event concludes, Rob and his coworkers linger to meet even more people. Back at the office, they compare notes, distribute a lot of prizes, and make a dozen follow-up appointments.
Rob and his firm engage in sticky sponsorships. Sticky sponsorships squirt glue all over participant’s minds. The glue dries clear and flexible with the sponsor’s name glowing through. Sticky sponsorships generate new relationships. They move existing ones upward in the customer acquisition process. Stickiness creates a positive association between the event, the nonprofit, the business, and potential customers. Sticky sponsorships return every dollar and more that sponsors invest in them.
This column explores remarkable ideas to grow your income and profits. By helping your event sponsors to create sticky sponsorships, you generate more revenue. Over time you can increase your sponsorship rates. What’s more, sticky sponsorships generate “rinse and repeat” future commitments.
The Sponsorship Challenge
Most event sponsorships barely stick. Like a self-stick note taped to a brick wall, they cling in our minds for a moment before fluttering to the floor.
Want proof? Name one sponsor from the last three events you attended. At the events, you heard the sponsor’s names. You noticed the banners. You read the program. You applauded to thank them. You might even have even filled in a quiz and shook the sponsor’s hand. Do you remember them?
After the event, most of us fail to remember the sponsors. Why? Afterwards, en route to our offices, and in the days that follow, we’re bombarded with other names, announcements, and news. If the event sponsor’s name sticks, it’s remembered, Otherwise it’s lost.
The good news is that research proves that even un-sticky sponsorships create lasting positive impressions on attendees. However, obtaining a “positive impression” may or may not be enough return for a potential sponsor to invest in or renew a sponsorship with you. When I ask my business clients about their return on event sponsorships, most reply, “Not much, but we like helping the cause.” Occasionally clients can trace substantial returns. Most report nebulous gains.
Helping your sponsors to gain sticky returns on their investment supports all the labor you put into events. It assures profitable events. It improves future income.
Here are a few of the low-labor solutions I’ve developed for the clients whom I work with that support sticky sponsorships.
Most of the effort to create sticky sponsorships occurs before events.
Sticky During The Event
At most events, you’ll be enjoying greeting people and finalizing details. Support your sponsors by:
Sticky Ever After
After events, everyone is ready for “normal.” Post-event stickiness, however, is like pressing down on something you already glued. It provides great reward with minimal effort.
Sticky Sponsorships Without Backbreaking Labor
Sticky sponsorships are labor saving devices. They make renewals a LOT easier. Most of the work can take places before the event. What sticky value will you help your sponsors create?
Karen Eber Davis, MBA, a professional advisor on income development and partnership between for profits and nonprofits, founded Karen Eber Davis Consulting in Sarasota, FL, almost 25 years ago. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams: Open the Floodgates to Sustainability (CharityChannel Press, 2014). For a free excerpt from her book, email Karen@kedconsult.com.