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 work before issuing a challenge to take a quiz on the table and win a prize. He introduces the speaker. As the event concludes, Rob and his coworkers linger and meet people. Back at the office, they compare notes, distribute prizes, and make follow-up appointments.
Rob and his firm engaged in sticky ROI sponsorships. Sticky ROI sponsorships generate new relationships. They move existing connections ahead in the customer acquisition process. Stickiness creates a positive association between the event, the nonprofit, the business, and potential customers. Sticky ROI sponsorships return every dollar and more than sponsors invest.
You can create sticky sponsorships to increase your sponsors’ ROI and, in turn, your nonprofit revenue. Check out How to Succeed Getting Nonprofit Corporate Sponsors and How to Grow Your Sponsorships Dollars for more. Successful sponsorships allow you to increase your sponsorship rates and generate “rinse and repeat” future commitments.
Most event sponsorships barely stick. Like a self-stick note taped to a brick wall, they cling to 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 saw the Powerpoint and applauded to thank them. But, can you name them now?
Most of us fail to remember the sponsors. Why? Afterward, en route to our offices or after jumping on our next call, 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, the sponsor’s ROI suffers.
The good news is that research proves that even un-sticky sponsorships create lasting positive impressions on attendees. However, obtaining a “positive impression” may not be enough return for a potential sponsor to invest or renew a nonprofit sponsorship. 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. The majority report nebulous gains.
Helping your sponsors gain sticky ROI returns on their investment supports all the labor you put into events and make your sponsorship stand out. They support profitable events, improve your income and brand.
Here are a few practical and innovative solutions I’ve developed for clients that support sticky ROI sponsorships.
Most of the effort to create sticky ROI sponsorships occurs before events.
At most events, you’ll be enjoying greeting people and finalizing details. Support your sponsors by:
After events, everyone on your staff will be ready for a break and to get back to “normal.” The post-event period offers more ROI opportunities. The opportunities provide significant rewards with minimal effort.
Sticky ROI sponsorships are labor-saving devices. They make renewals a LOT easier. (See Regain Your Lapsed and Waffling Sponsors and Your Donors, Sponsors, and Funders Can You Keep Them?) Plus, you shift most of the work well before the event. What sticky value will you help your sponsors create?
Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.
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