Build a Successful Sponsorship Program by Talking with Your Sponsors by Dan Kowitz and Bruce Rosenthal

By Adam Natali posted 11-19-2020 14:03

Association executives grapple with many questions about their corporate sponsorship programs: from what benefits to offer to what fees to charge; from how to determine sponsor renewal anniversary dates to how to structure prospectuses and fulfillment reports.

In addition, association executives are wondering about the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on their corporate sponsors and partners.

We’ve uncovered a reliable way to find answer these and other questions about your association’s corporate sponsorship program: Ask your corporate sponsors!

Here are five things we’ve heard when we’ve interviewed corporate sponsors on behalf of our clients:
1. “The sponsorship only gives us name exposure. I would hope that it gives more than that.”
2. “I think the willingness of the association to work with us on whitepapers and things like that is great.”
3. "Our company markets 365 days a year; our conference sponsorship is only 3 days a year."
4. “Our contact person at the association has been outstanding – very friendly and open to brainstorming.”
5. “For the money, time and energy [the sponsorship involves], I can create other opportunities.”

Here are five questions you can ask your corporate sponsors, with a focus on new issues related to the pandemic. Use these questions as conversation-starters; ask follow-up questions and probe for more information.

  1. What are your company’s marketing top goals and objectives?
  2. What products or services would you like to market to our association’s members in 2021?
  3. What have been the impacts of the pandemic on your company’s ability to communicate with your customers and clients?
  4. Due to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, how does your company anticipate reaching customers/clients and potential customers/clients in 2021?
  5. How would your company define success in engaging with our association in 2021?

Having answers to these questions will help your association make the best decisions for your sponsorship program in 2021.

Dan Kowitz and Bruce Rosenthal are Co-Conveners of the Partnership Professionals Network.

The Partnership Professionals Network, in partnership with Association Forum, is offering a Conversation Circle on the “Outlook for Growing Non-dues Revenue Through Sponsorships and Partnerships in 2021” on Dec. 1, 2020, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Learn more.