“We need to stay on top of the needs of our members and our sponsors.”
“Lately, we have been competing with many more organizations for sponsorship dollars.”
When creating and providing marketing material to assist in the engagement and nurturing process, consider the following:
Tangible vs. Intangible: Companies have several opportunities annually to advertise (in print and online), appear at industry events, and other exposure opportunities. In many cases, there are more opportunities than there is money to spend. In order to stand out from your competitors, distinguish yourself by:
- When presenting a company with a sponsorship opportunity, talk about your members – more than just the statistics of your member base. Discuss the amount of member activity and the level of their engagement, and how that can impact your sponsor’s business.
- Offer them to test the waters: invite them to an upcoming event so that they can see the benefits for themselves.
Devise and Showcase a Support Program: You want your sponsors to get as much as they can out of the dollars they spend with your association. To help them through the process, a simple support program can be created:
- Find ways to grow your sponsors’ buy-in to your organization (other than events, advertising and social media opportunities). This can be done by conducting an intake interview of sorts. By finding out what their strategic goals are, how involved they want to be, and other specialties that they have to offer can significantly increase the trust between the sponsor and the association. You can demonstrate that you have their interests in mind.
Get Creative: And get them as involved as possible:
- Did you want to start a research project (or program)? Instead of just asking the sponsor to pay for it, ask them to also provide additional support. One easy way is to request that they become part of the committee(s) involved. It will not only show your membership base that they are committed to the specific cause, it provides them with yet another opportunity to be present and face-to-face with your members, providing added value at the same time.
- Make sure your offerings are customizable: How does the company conduct business? How many staff/sales people do they have? What is their sales process? How does your association fit in with their strategic goals? Prepare unique cover material (letters, emails, etc) that will showcase where and how you fit into their process.
If you can demonstrate additional value, corporations should be more willing to spend the time and the money to bring your organization to the next level. What else are you doing to increase your corporate buy-in?