Seek a Partnership. Not Just Money.
19 November 2013 at 9:00 am
Businesses are being spoilt for choice in terms of which association or charity they can align with but the problem is that the majority of Not for Profits are not putting their best foot forward when creating a first impression, says Queensland-based sponsorship expert Abby Clemence.
As a Not for Profit organisation you are no doubt challenged on many fronts – time poor, limited resources, budget restrictions … you know the list only too well.
Due to these constant constraints, when it comes to seeking and engaging the ideal corporate partner, the temptation might be to send out a swath of generic proposals to businesses you think might be interested in investing in you, so that you can then turn your attention to other issues whilst you wait for the deluge of responses to come in.
More and more companies I speak with tell me that the generic proposals that come across their desk often make it as far as the bin. Not for Profits are now competing with 700,000 other charities and associations also looking for corporate investment.
Businesses are being spoilt for choice in terms of which association or charity they can align with, the problem is that the majority of NFPs are not putting their best foot forward when creating a first impression.
Speaking with a company before you send them a proposal will elevate you into the minority of NFP organisations seeking sponsorship. Taking the time to be curious about what a company might be hoping to achieve by partnering and asking what sponsors want should be the norm, not the exception.
After that first conversation, some companies will be happy to receive a standard proposal so they can see who you are and what you offer, before they delve into further details; others will want specific things from a partnership from the outset.
That’s a great opportunity to meet with them, get to know what they are trying to achieve from investing in your organisation – take the time to tailor your offering.
Calling first works. Apart from the benefits of making a valuable connection that will exponentially increase the chances of your proposal being read; by calling a company first you can learn a host of things:
- What the best timing of proposal is – 43 per cent of budgets are organised September-November.
- Who is the best person to speak with?
- Whether or not they are even interested in aligning with your organisation or event.
- An indication of what to charge/their budget.
- The future direction of their company/product range.
- What is your potential sponsor hoping to achieve? What are their objectives from a partnership?
- Are they looking for increased brand awareness/ profile/ brand protection?
- Do they want a “warm” introduction to a market they are not currently doing business with?
- To know how they hope to be able to influence purchasing behaviour to increased their sales.
- How they value the credibility a partnership offers – a connection with your impeccable brand.
- The “perceived” endorsement a partnership with you provides.
Next time you are considering seeking sponsors for your event or partners for your organisation don’t be tempted by the false economies of just getting a bunch of generic proposals out the door. Doing homework saves you time.
It’s much better to send proposals out to 10 companies that are expecting you to contact them, than have to follow up on 150 blanket mailings that often don’t reach the decision maker in the first place!
Seek a partnership.
About the author: Abby Clemence is the Managing Director of Infinity Sponsorship a Queensland-based consultancy.