Sponsorship dos and don’ts
• Only make a promise that you know you can keep.
• Make your agreement binding by writing it down and having the sponsor and the committee chair sign it (with approval from the committee). Be specific and clear about who is agreeing to deliver what.
• Remember that sponsorship is a partnership and that both parties have to benefit. Consider what a sponsor can get out of your Australia Day program, for example new/increased product sales or a profile as a community supporter.
• Be creative. Consider benefits such as the chance to present awards or for the staff to run an activity. Think about a business that may want exposure in the other towns in your local government area and consider ways to help them with that promotion. Make it a win-win partnership.
• Develop clear levels of sponsorship so that what each sponsor gives and gets is seen as fair. Consider the dollar value of the goods or services they are providing to determine the appropriate type of acknowledgment (e.g. signage or name in the event program).
• Ensure there is good communication among the members of your committee. Make sure you know who is approaching who and for what. You may want to nominate a small team or one person to be responsible for seeking sponsorship.
• Remember to personally and publicly thank sponsors for their support. This can be as simple as a letter, during a speech, an ad in the local paper, or posters on bulletin boards and in shopfronts.
• Send photos to your sponsors showing how you acknowledged them at the event
• Ask your sponsors for feedback during planning and after the event so you can work together to improve next year
• Ensure category exclusivity for your sponsors. If you have a bank as a sponsor, it would be a clash to bring on home loan company as another sponsor. If you’re unsure whether a potential sponsor would clash with an existing sponsor, talk to the existing sponsor about it—it’s better to talk it through and be sure than to upset them and lose their support.
• It is crucial to provide a proposal that is a quality product—written and presented to make reading as easy as possible, addressed to the intended reader (business, community group, community benefactor etc.), graphically strong, clearly structured and proof read.
• Make time for regular contact with your sponsors. This can be challenging as you prepare for the event and things are busy, but it’s essential to talk regularly, meet regularly and provide regular reports to your sponsor. Consider involving them in a brainstorm session about how to grow or promote your event and share your plans with them. Happy sponsors are invariably sponsors who enjoy a great two-way communication relationship with their rights holder. After all, sponsors are part of the event team.
• Don’t sign up organisations in competing businesses (e.g. Shell and Caltex) unless they are both happy with this arrangement.
• Don’t approach a sponsor cold—learn as much as you can about their needs and goals before you approach a business or individual for help. Access their web site, read their annual reports, brochures and catalogues or chat to the manager about their plans before asking for help. Maybe one of your committee members knows the manager socially and can make the first approach.
• Don’t under-value your event and offer more benefits than the sponsorship is worth. Make sure you enter into a partnership where both parties benefit. The sponsorship needs to pay for the activities and benefits you are offering otherwise it costs you money.