Developing your proposition is a vital step in the process of securing sponsors and corporate partners. If you are not sure what your organisation has to offer sponsors and corporate partners or your prospects are not finding your sponsorship proposition compelling, this seven step process will enable you to determine what your organisation has to offer and to build compelling propositions that will attract the right sponsors and corporate partners to your organisation.
STEP 1 – Objectives
Step 1 in the process is to identify the objectives you can help a company address through a partnership with your organisation:
1. Which audiences can your organisation help a company engage with?
For example, attendees, subscribers, members, players, viewers, donors, visitors, exhibitors.
2. What is the profile of each audience?
Outline demographic information such as age, gender, income and geographical location and psychographic information or lifestyle interests such as media consumption, propensity to travel, and interest in specific products, information and activities.
3. What is the quantity of each audience?
For example, 10,000 members, 25,000 subscribers.
4. What is the level or depth of emotional attachment or affinity to your organisation?
Describe the attractiveness of your audience to your prospect:
“When we say that we can give you access to 20,000 people, we are talking about 20,000 people who have a strong emotional attachment to our organisation and who will be positively disposed to a brand that shares their commitment to the cause”
Provide proof of that attachment in terms of the length of time that people have been supporters and subscribers and the strong renewal rates.
“Our subscribers have been attending performances on average for five years, 30% for over 10 years. We have a 90% subscriber retention rate year on year and subscriber numbers have increased 10% each year”.
5. What is the level of audience engagement or frequency?
The more that people are involved or engaged with your organisation, the greater the opportunity for them to assimilate and associate the brand messages. Repetition and frequency creates the opportunity for a stronger emotional connection.
“We enjoy an ongoing dialogue with our audience throughout the year. We’re a brand they trust and like to receive information from. Through a partnership with us, you can leverage this relationship to communicate your brand and product messages.”
Consider which companies are looking to engage your audience.
What communication vehicles do you have that a partner could access? Be alert for opportunities to enable them to increase awareness of their organisation, brand, product, service or people, or act as channels to communicate their messages to your audiences e.g. advertising, brochures, programs, social media.
When, where and how many are available for each?
Objective 3 – Message
The key to successfully engaging partners is to communicate how partnering with your organisation, programs or events can help to communicate their story. Explore what messages and stories you can help a company communicate and identify prospects that want to tell those stories.
What are the values, attributes and positioning of your organisation and properties that a partner can associate with? E.g. prestigious, inspiring, excellence, fun, creativity, diversity, leadership, accessible, national or international.
Experience the brand
What events do you have through which audiences could either physically or emotionally experience these messages? E.g. fundraising events, launches, community days.
In what way could your organisation or properties lend credibility to a brand or product? E.g. naming rights to a specific segment of a conference or exclusive supplier to a sport.
What is the purpose and mission of your organisation and properties that through being seen to support, a company can reinforce and enhance its own corporate message, image and reputation? E.g. community or environmentally focused, caring, accessible or inclusive.
Corporate Social Responsibility and foundation objectives
Which CSR and foundation objectives or themes could you help a company to achieve? E.g. youth, education, indigenous, health, sustainability and environment.
Objective 4 – Employees
Attract, retain, motivate and reward employees
What opportunities can you provide that may help a company to attract, retain, motivate and reward their employees? E.g. shared values, tickets, rehearsals, volunteering.
What opportunities do you have to make a tangible difference to a sponsor’s organisation by educating and training employees and by working with the sponsor to integrate key themes within their organisation? E.g. leadership, team building, communication skills.
Objective 5 – Relationships
Brand loyalty and retention
What can you offer a company that would enable it to increase loyalty and retain its clients and customers? E.g. access and discounts to preferential tickets, premium seating, hospitality, parking.
Developing and enhancing new business relationships
What opportunities can you provide to a company to engage with its prospects or key stakeholders?
Objective 6 – Competition
What content do you have access to that could help one company to differentiate its offering from its competitor? E.g. access to talent and information.
Counter the competition
What opportunities can you provide to one company to give it an advantage over its competitors? E.g. category exclusivity, favourable position at event.
Objective 7 – Sales
Display or sample
What space, either physical or media, does your organisation have for a company to display and provide samples of its products, services and brands to its audience? E.g. exhibition space, auction items, gift bags, social media and online banners.
Stimulate sales, trial or traffic
What opportunities can you provide to a company to stimulate sales or trial of its product, services or brands? E.g. coupons, competitions, special offers, drive days, cause-related marketing, on-pack promotions.
Objective 8 – Personal Interest
Who do you know that has a connection or interest with your organisation?
To use an analogy, this exercise will identify your ‘full menu’ from which you can recommend particular dishes based on the tastes of individual prospects uncovered in the questioning phase.
As you consider the questions and identify which objectives you can help a company to achieve, note down companies that come to mind as prospects. For example:
› If you have a high net-worth audience, consider which companies are targeting high net-worth individuals
› If you have a strong focus on sustainability, consider which companies are trying to communicate a sustainability message
› If you can deliver volunteering and team-building activities, consider which companies have large numbers of staff to put through those programs
STEP 2—Identify your properties
The next stage is to identify your properties.
Charities typically have fundraising events, buildings, service delivery programs, and education and awareness programs.
Arts and cultural organisations have exhibitions, performances, concerts, concert series, outreach and education programs, fundraising dinners, venue and theatre naming rights.
Sports have stadiums, leagues, teams, players, coaches, apparel, awards and community programs.
Associations have conferences, events, awards and scholarships.
In addition, they will have:
Category partners such as travel, accommodation, beverage, media, automotive, legal, technology, digital
Tier partners such as principal or major, based on their level of investment in the organisation
Theme partners such as community, family, sustainability, regional, access based around program and service offerings
STEP 3—Determine which properties you will take forward
At this stage of the process you should determine which properties you are going to take forward and when, based on their attractiveness, impact, funding needs and your resources.
Identify the most attractive
The properties that will be attractive are generally the ones they will be associated with a clear message or story addressing an issue that is of relevance and interest where funding will create impact. They have the biggest audience, the strongest media coverage and extensive communication channels.
Note – Corporates want to back programs that will have impact, so be clear to communicate in numbers the impact of their funding.
Identifying your funding priorities
Consider which properties you require funding for. If you have a program that has partners and is fully funded for the next five years, this will be a lower priority than finding partners for a program where the funding is running out in six months or a new program that is planned to be launched in 12 months and requires funding.
Consider which properties are your priorities, given your available resources. Consider those you would take forward with additional resources.
STEP 4—Construct propositions around the properties
The same set of questions that were used in step 1 would be used on each property to:
1. Create the proposition for the property where you have a specific type of partner in mind – the proposition being the outcomes or objectives that the property can deliver for that partner
2. Explore the various propositions a specific property could provide (and then the types of partners that would be attracted to each proposition) within that property.
STEP 5—Develop visual aids
Having determined which properties to take forward, you will need to develop visual aids—sales materials that will help you to capture and communicate these opportunities. These will be in the form of Key Fact Documents that introduce your organisation and Opportunity Documents that introduce your properties which can be turned into Proposals once specific objectives are clarified.
You will also need to value your partnership opportunities.
STEP 7—Revenue Forecast
Finally, develop a revenue forecast based on the value of the properties you are taking forward and when you anticipate they will be sold.
Confidence and knowledge
Undertaking these steps will give you a thorough understanding of what you have to offer corporates and the confidence to move forward with the rest of the business development process.
So don’t wait – bring your team together to address each step and start building compelling propositions which will enable you to identify and attract the right prospects for your organisation.
If you would like training on how to develop your proposition join me at a workshop – details.
If you can’t make the date, contact me to discuss running an in house workshop with your team – details on how they work here