March 8, 2016

Can You Make Your Sponsorships Sticky Without Breaking a Sweat?

Smiling asian man in glasses pasted stickers over gray background. A friend calls you to sponsor an event. Your firm has funded similar events. The date works. The price is reasonable. You value the cause. You like the friend. You’re happy to return a favor. The audience will include “your people,” that is staff, volunteers, and people in the audience whom you want to reach with your business message.

Yet you hesitate. You want to be strategic with your philanthropic-marketing. Should you say yes here? To give event sponsorship requests the thumbs up, you need to make a decision.

Events are unforgiving. Fail to act in their moments and your return will only be a warm glow about your firm immediately. A glow that is likely to quickly diminish as it hits the blender like a whirl of other messages. In contrast, sticky events include at best a before, during, and after plan, or at the very least some intentional actions to make your sponsorship stick.

The Decision

Here’s your decision: Will you invest the resources you have to make this sponsorship stick?

Sticky Sponsorship Examples

Here are some ideas of what I mean by sticky.

Sticky Before

You forward event emails to prospects with “hope to see you” notes. You invite people to sit at your table. You decide how you respond to all the benefits offered with the sponsorship, such as creating interesting table brochures. You promise to connect with friends and customers at the event. You request the attendee list in advance, decide whom you’d like to met, and ask for introductions.

Sticky During

You arrive early. You leave late. You keep two goals in mind. First, you take a host’s role—that is, you greet lots of people. Second, as you meet people of interest, you establish a next step, such as, “Let’s have coffee next week.” You collect their contact information.

Sticky After

Within forty-eight hours, you send “nice to meet you” notes to everyone you enjoyed meeting. You confirm and set meetings. As appropriate, you send something of value related to your numerous conversations. Before you put away your paperwork, you note your results. Was the audience as promised? What was successful? What was unnecessary? How many contacts were made? How many follow-up meetings were set? At this point, it will still be too soon to tally the final results—some may come weeks or even months later, but you will be able to note intelligent impressions and data. These will help you decide on encores. (You said yes. Expect to be contacted for the next event!)

Make your sponsorship stick. When you say yes to sponsorships, decide on your before, during, and after sticky plan.


Karen Eber Davis

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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