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Consider a policy before considering sponsors

by David Rachell
19 09 2012

The sponsorship industry in the U.S. can sometimes seem like the wild west – take the buckshot approach and hope you hit something.  Before you try that, though, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a game plan and ground rules surrounding your sponsorship opportunity.  Whether you’re an existing property or new opportunity, developing a sponsorship policy can give you the edge in creating valuable relationships.

It is usually one or two people within your organization that have an “idea” on what you’ll be offering sponsors.  But, what happens when that person or person’s depart from the organization?  Having a legacy document that outlines what sponsorship benefits are available and the fees associated with those assets allows for continued success.

Your sponsorship policy should outline your organization’s sponsorship program goals.  These goals would outline what you’re willing to offer sponsors and for what in return.  Are you seeking more revenues, greater visibility or even stronger guest experiences?  The document should also include what elements you’re willing to negotiate and what assets within your property that would not be available.  Are you willing to make your membership available to sponsors and in what capacity?

The sponsorship policy should also address what types of industries your organization is NOT willing to entertain as a sponsor.  Would you consider spirit brands, sexual related products or products targeting children?  If you have to answer to a board of directors, gaining their input into assets and limitations will go a long way to ensure everyone is on the same page from the top down.

Besides listing assets you’re making available, list what you believe is a fair market value for that asset.  Do some research to determine the value of stage naming rights and use common sense.  Most sponsorship fees are based on need rather than tangible values, so you’re ahead of the game if you can justify your values. If you’re providing an ad in your e-newsletter to your member base – what would be the cost for a sponsor to purchase a targeted list, develop a direct mail piece and send it to those households?  Be fair to the sponsor on what values you’re delivering.

Finally, spell out how you plan on executing sponsorships and activating your partnerships.  While you may be able to secure sponsors –be sure you can deliver on what you promise.  And develop a list of reportable outcomes to provide to sponsors such as photographs, survey results and copies of media and collateral. 

Your sponsorship policy doesn’t have to be a lengthy diatribe, just a simple outline that will insure that everyone in your organization is on the same page.  It’ll go a long way to qualifying your sponsors and defining expectations within your organization.

Categories:   Elements of a Proposal | General | Sponsorship resources | Sponsorship Valuation
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