Weighing Sponsorship Opportunities

How to Decide If a Sponsorship Opportunity is Right for Your Company

Companies are often asked to sponsor a variety of opportunities ranging from reserving a table at an industry event to buying an advertisement for an elementary school. With all of the opportunities and choices, how do you decide if a sponsorship opportunity is right for your organization?
As a general rule, when considering sponsorship packages, companies must consider two things:

  1. Is this my target audience (buyer)?
  2. Does the sponsorship opportunity create employee goodwill?

Make Sure You Can Align the Opportunity to Your Organization
After you are clear on the audience and purpose, then make sure there is a tie back to your company or your employees. Recently, I was talking with a friend who worked for a medical device company whose employer chose to sponsor Denver Dumb Friends League. The employees didn’t necessarily feel a connection with the animal organization, so the company sponsored the American Heart Association. That organization had better alignment with the employees and the company’s business, where the Denver Dumb Friends League was not as closely aligned with the work or the employees. (Personally, I don’t know how you can’t get behind dogs and cats, but this is a true story. Typically, animal and children’s organizations are safe bets for nonprofit support.)

A Case in Point
Once you have decided how the opportunity aligns with your organization, uncover ways you can best maximize the opportunity. A client was considering sponsoring a car racing event, but the audience that attends the event is not the affluent customer my client wants to target. So in this case, we knew that sponsoring the event would not necessarily attract more customers. Yes, there could be a customer here or there, but in general, we didn’t feel the client would gain a return on investment through new customer acquisitions. Therefore, the client had to ask, can we use this opportunity to help our employees and generate excitement for sponsoring a car for the upcoming competitive races? Understanding his employees and their backgrounds and interests helped him decide to sponsor the car racing events for the summer because he believed the value was in the opportunity to foster employee good will and teambuilding. In the end, Philosophy recommended that becoming a General Sponsor at the lowest level, $2,500 would lead to positive employee morale.

As with all good marketing initiatives, it is important to “Think Three.” What are at least three marketing initiatives that will help maximize the opportunity?

Here are a few ideas:

  1. News Release – Send out a press release announcing your company’s support of the organization. (Philosophy’s clients are humble more often than not and never like touting their sponsorship opportunities. That’s why we love our clients — but keep in mind, if the marketing and public relations firm, not the client, is sending out the announcement, it doesn’t seem as self-aggrandizing. Also, people like doing business with companies that support their community. In the end, you’ll attract like-minded companies by letting them know that this is important to your organization.)
  2. Corporate communication (internal and external) – Make sure to tell all of your employees about your company’s support of the opportunity. People like to work with companies that are doing good things, and it will make them feel good about the place they work every day. Find out if the organization you support has a company newsletter and ask whether you can submit information on your company to be included in the next issue. People also like to do business with companies that are supportive. If the company has a direct mail list, ask for it so you can create a future direct mail or HTML targeting this customer base.
  3. Website – Include information about your involvement with the organization on your website. If the organization has a sponsorship logo, get it and include it on your site.
  4. Advertisement – Consider taking out an ad recognizing all of the corporate sponsors in a relevant publication. You’ll be spreading the word about the organization and will at the same time gain exposure for your company’s involvement.
  5. Use Social Media – Use developments and updates about your involvement with the organization for your company’s social media sites, i.e., LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Consider featuring employees and their involvement with the cause to thank them for their commitment. With permission, post pictures of your employees who support the opportunity.


These are just a few ideas to consider once you decide to commit to a corporate sponsorship opportunity. If you have additional ideas, please e-mail me. I would love to hear what your company does to maximize its corporate sponsorships.

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