March 12, 2018

Finding High ROI Sponsorship Opportunities: Questions to Ask

Man with two piggy banksWhere is the best place to invest your sponsorship dollars? It depends of course on your goals. Sponsorships work best for brand promotion, opening doors, initiating conversations, and warming relationships, not closing sales. So, ROI on event sponsorship is not so much about the event as it is about who will attend.*

To obtain sponsorship ROI, be clear about your intended audience. Who do you want to reach? Then, prioritize sponsorships with events that most match your goals. Here are four questions to probe for audience info to make matches.

Audience ROI Questions to Ask

  • Do you have a list of names, companies, and titles of people who attended last year? Ask this to determine if among past attendees you see people with you would like to spend time. As you review the list, look for prospects, referral partners, and current customers. While no one can predict the future, event attendance follows similar patterns.
  • Can we add people to the invitation list? Can you send names and contacts to the event planners? Will they follow-up with them? Make this inquiry to learn if you can grow and shape the audience to fill the event with people of interest to you and the host.
  • What demographic data do you have about your organization’s supporters? While your most potent impact will be on attendees, sponsorships provide spillover benefits. They reach other organization supporters, via invitations, post-event photos, and the like. Ask this question to discern if the organization’s supporters as a whole constitute a good match for you.
  • What other events do you offer during the year? And, who attends them? Would they be interested in a lunch sponsorship for a board retreat? Or, a donor event at our facility? This question opens up the conversation to explore all opportunities. Open this line of inquiry to determine if this proposal or other activities will provide you the most ROI.

*Not interested in the audience, but care about the cause? Consider an operating sponsorship or donation. Or, more interested in building employee skills or morale? Ask about activities where your employees can give back.


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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