An Executive Director's point of view
March 30, 2017: Securing sponsors
Get rid of the gold, silver, and bronze sponsorship levels.
Don't try to sell companies sponsorship entitlements that you think will benefit them.
Ask them what they think will benefit them and customize proposals to provide that.
Here's what you need to know.
September 22, 2016: Relationships
Ask yourself these questions before you approach a company for support:
1. How is this company related to the work of my organization?
2. Will a relationship with this company anger any of my members?
3. Is this company identified with any activities, causes, or advocacy efforts, or does it espouse any beliefs that are in conflict with those of my organization?
4. Is this company identified with any activities, causes, or advocacy efforts, or does it espouse any beliefs that could negatively impact the public perception of my organization?
5. Will my organization have to say or do something it doesn't want to say or do?
When evaluating the answers to these questions, always put your members' needs first. And don't compromise your organization's integrity just because you need the dough.
September 01, 2016: A downside of sponsorship
September 19, 2015: It's not about logos
Here are some activities that will benefit sponsors, associations, and association members.
June 09, 2014: Give the sponsor value
And don't tell sponsors how many eyeballs will see the sign. It doesn't matter. Very, very few people will patronize a sponsor because they saw a logo on a banner in the expo hall.
Instead, ask each prospective sponsor what it wants (and each will want something different) and deliver it. Every company knows better than you how a sponsorship can contribute to its success.
Offer what the company considers valuable.
May 14, 2014: Health care sponsors
Access to purchasers.
So, don't just offer logos, signage, expo booths, and pre-packaged bundles of entitlements that YOU think are important.
Understand how the company operates and ask how it wants to interact with your members.
Offer a sponsorship proposal that meets the company's needs, not the association's needs.
February 27, 2014: Multiple year sponsorships
1. It guarantees income for future years, reducing the number of sponsors you'll need to sign annually.
2. It guarantees a better deal for the sponsor, too, who hopes to avoid annual fee increases.
3. It gives you and the sponsor a chance to learn how to work together.
4. It gives you and the sponsor an opportunity to develop new programs without the threat of renegotiation on the horizon.
5. It builds mutual loyalty. One or both of you might be prompted to do something extra to benefit the other, even if it's not in the contract.
February 13, 2014: Ambush marketing
October 23, 2013: Don't thank sponsors
Of course be thankful and deliver whatever your contract requires.
But recognize that sponsors are not doing you a favor. They are not helping you or supporting you or giving you money.
They are buying something you are selling - access to your market. It's a business deal.
So, yes, treat them well but recognize that you are giving them something, too.
P.S. If a company wants to help you, it can make a contribution. But if you have to give anything in return, it is not a gift. It's a business transaction.
August 05, 2013: Is sponsorship taxable?
Many sponsorship payments are subject to UBIT (unrelated business income tax), but some may be exempt from the payment. The Internal Revenue Code refers to those as "qualified sponsorship payments (QSP)."
Sponsorships may be considered QSPs if the sponsor simply receives an acknowledgement for its payment, and no substantive benefits. A web hyperlink may simply be an acknowledgment. But advertising is more than that and is subject to UBIT.
Find out more in Associations Now - and ask your accountant how your sponsorship payments should be classified.