Posted by & filed under Corporate/Sponsorship.

Last week we looked at the first head of the hydra that can be corporate sponsorship in our sector. This week, we’ll look at vanquishing those other two heads, and set you on course to be a hero in your organization of Herculean status.

The second head I was up against was the most daunting……the valuation. Now this is the head that’s tough to conquer, and that can be time consuming in the short run. The starting point will be to list out all the different events/initiatives/campaigns you’d like sponsorship for, we’ll call them “properties”. Then what you’ll do is build out an “inventory” which is a collection of all of the opportunities (or “assets”) that you have to sponsor: These can be everything from speaking time, to a logo on a program, to an e-blast. You’ll do this for each of your properties, no cheating and just creating one single one. You’ll then take these assets and group them into custom packages for your potential sponsors. How do you know what to put in these packages? Ask your sponsor! I’ll guarantee you two things: One, if you ask your sponsors what they want in their package, and if you’ve done your homework beforehand that this is a property they want to sponsor (don’t know this yet? Check out this blog post to learn more about audience data and how to collect it) , they will tell you exactly what they want in their package; Second, if you customize your package, and don’t give people a pre-set basket of assets you’ll be able to bring in even more sponsorship dollars, and have even happier sponsors. But wait! What about how much to charge my sponsor? Great question, you’re on fire today! We’ll get to that right now. All you need to do is look at what similar properties are charging based on your audience! If your audience, as was in my case, post-secondary university students, then look to some of the student newspapers and magazines! If it’s social media, run an Ad campaign. If it’s a speaking opportunity, look at how much other events charge for a speaking spot at leadership conferences. When you’ve done your research, and looked around, you’ll see how quickly the dollars start to add up for your event. Have more questions about the inventory building and valuation? Check out this great webinar for more in-depth information. Still want more details on valuations? Check out this great guide for even more info

The third head I did battle is getting my office on board, especially my bosses. Now I’ll admit…. this is a tough nut to crack, I can almost feel the eyes rolling in the back of an ED/Fundraiser’s head. In our resource-constrained environment we don’t get a lot of chances to mess up, or even to experiment, to see what might possibly work if something else is a sure-fire thing. So, this is what I suggest as an approach. The first is to have a conversation with your boss and let them know there is this new way of doing things……we all know how this normally goes, I feel the eyes rolling again. The second thing to do then is to start small. Try some of the above techniques with a few sponsorship prospects, and let the results speak for themselves, showing that you’re landing more meetings and getting more replies than you were before. The final step is to actually involve your boss in the process. I did this at my own work, and did so in a smoke screen of “I’d really like a second, more senior person at the table to help me” Sure enough, my boss trusted my judgement from thereafter seeing the positive response from sponsors. You can do the same thing with your board, and in fact it will likely motivate them to go out and talk about sponsorship more with their contacts. Want some more examples of getting your board involved in sponsorship? Here are 7 ways to get your board involved.

So, from one small shop warrior to another I say this: YOU CAN DO IT! You can beat the three-headed Hydra, and slay that beast of corporate sponsorship. And to you, the victor, will go the spoils!

Missed Part One: Small Shop Sponsorship – The Three-Headed Hydra? You can read it here.
About the Author

Christian Robillard, Sponsorship Consultant

Christian’s expertise is firmly within the event and cause sponsorship space. Christian helps our clients identify sellable assets, determine the value of their opportunities, and, most importantly, implement strategies that work.

In addition to his work with The Sponsorship Collective, Christian is completing his masters degree in philanthropy and nonprofit leadership at Carleton University, with a focus on corporate social responsibility and corporate giving, social entrepreneurship, impact investing, and fundraising.

Christian is the founder of the AFP Collegiate Carleton Chapter in Ottawa.

Follow Christian on Twitter and LinkedIn

Posted by & filed under Corporate/Sponsorship.

This two-part blog post series goes out to my warrior-friends in the non-profits and charities who identify as “small shops”. These organizations are typically under $500,000 in yearly revenue, and cringe at the thought of taking on additional tasks that will stretch their already scarce resources. Well, I’m here to help you succeed in obtaining corporate sponsorship for your next event, campaign or initiative…all while having to invest very little time or resources to make it happen….at least at first. How do I know this? Because I did it myself! I recently made the jump from a small shop, with a $0 sponsorship budget, but before I left over a year later I had raised over $130,000 in unrestricted revenues. All of these funds were also all renewable, and went right into funding work our organization was doing. All the while I only worked part time (15 hours/week or less) so believe me when I say I understand and sympathise with that under-resourced and over-worked struggle we all understand too well.

For me, sponsorship at first was a bit like a three-headed hydra from ancient Greek mythology: A fearsome creature that seemed to sprout two more heads each time you defeated one. So, to help you slay the beast for good that can be corporate sponsorship I’m going to give you the 3 biggest heads you’ll need to slay to be successful, and how to make sure these heads don’t grow back. These are the same heads I had the hardest time in my early days, and that I came into conflict with when I first started/continue to even today. I’ll also share my stories of how these heads were successfully slain. Follow these battle-tested methods and I promise you’ll see results in the coming weeks and months: let the battle begin!

The first head I had to fight to overcome is the sponsorship package. Going into this battle I thought this head would surely do me in: I didn’t have a fancy package, or anything really, nor did I have a fancy list of companies to reach out to. Yet despite popular belief you do not need a fancy package, sent to as many inboxes as possible, to slay this head. Ultimately the sponsorship package is not the starting point, but it’s an outcome. The sponsorship package doesn’t sell your sponsors on your opportunity…YOU DO! So, stop typing up that package right now and save yourself the work. Now that you’ve got some spare time you can continue reading about my battle with this head of the hydra. So how do you win this battle then if you don’t send your sponsors a fancy, multi-tier sponsorship package? The answer is…. just an email. What goes into this email you say? As little as possible: No details about the event, no gold-silver-bronze levels, no titles in your email signature, no asks of any kind, simply a request to pick their brain about a project you’re working on and a proposed date and time for a meeting. With this mighty tool, I guarantee you’ll see your number of meetings confirmed jump considerably. Tried this and still having trouble? Want to know where to go from there? Use these helpful tips to lead you to sponsorship success, and further help you in this battle against head number one. Wondering who you can reach out to as potential sponsors? Well, let me help you find 394 warm prospects to reach out to…you’re welcome. How do I know this technique works, you ask? Another great question……because I tried it and lived to tell the tale. In working with some of our staff who were planning a gala for our international students in Canada they came to me for a sponsorship package to approach businesses to sponsor the event. I told them flat out that they wouldn’t need one, and to simply reach out to them via the email example I provided above, and to let me know when what they said. Well they went over my head and made one anyways…. I weep for the wasted time. I ended up taking it and locking it in my drawer. I then proceeded to coach them on how to use this email template and a tool called the sponsorship pipeline to get more sponsorship (which you can learn more about below). The success spoke for itself and they never tried to use a sponsorship package again.

As for those other two heads……you’ll have to wait until next time and see how the story ends.

Read Part 2: Small Shop Sponsorship – The Three-Headed Hydra next Wednesday!

About the Author

Christian Robillard, Sponsorship Consultant

Christian’s expertise is firmly within the event and cause sponsorship space. Christian helps our clients identify sellable assets, determine the value of their opportunities, and, most importantly, implement strategies that work.

In addition to his work with The Sponsorship Collective, Christian is completing his masters degree in philanthropy and nonprofit leadership at Carleton University, with a focus on corporate social responsibility and corporate giving, social entrepreneurship, impact investing, and fundraising.

Christian is the founder of the AFP Collegiate Carleton Chapter in Ottawa.

Follow Christian on Twitter and LinkedIn

Posted by & filed under Corporate/Sponsorship, Leadership/Management, Marketing/Communications.

Jennifer Jones, MBA, Director, Indigo Love of Reading Foundation

I recently was on a panel at an AFP session on the topic of what corporations are looking for from their charity partners. The room was full which was a pleasant surprise and yet, also disappointing. It’s 2014 – why are we still learning to navigate these critical relationships? Building successful partnerships is hardly a new concept yet it was a lively discussion. Here are some of the key insights.

Charities, follow the process: If a corporation asks you to follow a specific process to submit a grant or a sponsorship request, please do that. We’ve given this process a lot of thought. When you honour it, you have the opportunity to put your best foot forward. And maybe, as you start the process you’ll realize how poor a fit the partnership would be and you’ve saved yourself – and me – time. And that’s a good thing considering how time strapped we both are. There’s a misconception that corporations have big teams and big money but believe it or not most of us run really lean – I run Indigo’s social responsibility portfolio as a team of two.

Leverage relationships: Sure, you can use your network to jump the queue – maybe one of your Board members knows my CEO – in fact, that’s very smart. But it’s not a guarantee. Thankfully most executives these days understand we have a strategic focus, which isn’t overridden because of relationships. Our cause is children’s literacy and no matter how much an executive might love dolphins, we’re not redirecting funding for dolphin research! What that introduction will do is expedite the conversation and we’ll both figure out, probably with a quick phone call, if there’s a potential partnership to explore.

Date 1 introductions: If we meet in person to dig a little deeper, please don’t come with what you believe is the solution for how we’re going to work together. Slow down, after all, this is only our first date! Show that you’ve done your research about our organization, as I have done about yours. This is the time to really understand each other’s business goals and how working together can be mutually beneficial. This is the time for both sides to come with thought starters and have the other react to them. This is the time to decide: do we go on date two?

Date 2 and beyond: Assuming our goals are aligned, we’ll keep dating as we dig deep to develop our goals and strategic plan. You’ll have to trust me to sell it internally so we get the resources we need to be successful. After all, as a team of only 2, or 4 or 5, corporate foundations and CSR teams lean heavily on the corporate resources to run a successful partnership.

A beautiful marriage: When we’re committed partners, like in any relationship, the work isn’t done. There needs to be clear and consistent communication on progress and results as originally agreed upon. And if all those criteria are met, then this could turn into a beautiful marriage. After all the time and effort put into the partnership, that’s what we really hope for. It’s way more productive than always being on date number one!

Corporations, pay it forward: if your first date doesn’t work out, consider introducing the charity to organizations you think would be a good fit. If I don’t have anyone in mind, I often suggest a quick brainstorm session over the phone to identify untapped opportunities. Yes, it reflects well on me and Indigo but it also is just the right thing to do and it’s one more way I can pay it forward.

Lastly… I just received this question from the organizer of an event bringing together a NFP and its charity and corporate partners.“What changes have you seen in the role of partnerships between nonprofits and corporations, and what in direction do you see these partnerships heading?” My answer? As charities are increasingly able demonstrate their social impact I feel the power imbalance between charities and corporations is slowly starting to equalize. And I’m all for it.

Jennifer spent her early years in marketing communications, across industries in Toronto and Asia. She worked at CIBC Small Business marketing and sponsorship and then joined the CIBC Corporate Sponsorship team to run the CIBC Run for the Cure and Weekend to End Breast Cancer. Jennifer joined Indigo six years ago with responsibility for Indigo’s social investments, overseeing the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation and the launch of Adopt a School, Indigo’s first cause marketing program, which unites stores, schools and their communities to puts books into the hands of children across Canada. 

Posted by & filed under Congress, Corporate/Sponsorship, Leadership/Management, Marketing/Communications, Speakers.

Bernie Colterman, Managing Partnereducate-your-employees

Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing

As the competition for philanthropic dollars increases, more and more nonprofit organizations are looking at sponsorship as an alternate revenue source to more traditional fundraising methods. However, the transition to the marketing-based approach that is required for sponsorship-driven revenue is not easy for many organizations because it requires a mind-set that is radically different from traditional models. Some of these challenges include:

  • Working with large numbers of stakeholders who do not understand sponsorship and how it is different from the philanthropic environment;
  • Establishing “fair market value” for organizational assets;
  • Unrealistic expectations of what revenue can be expected (and when) from various opportunities;
  • Limited internal expertise to market and deliver the program; and,
  • A “business-oriented” culture that is typically not in line with the entrepreneurial approach required to market, negotiate and deliver on sponsorship agreements.  Read more »

Posted by & filed under Career Development, Corporate/Sponsorship, Diversity, Leadership/Management.

by Lois Shaw, amplifi

Charities and nonprofits are facing a changing political and cultural landscape, funding competition, and greater expectations of accountability from funders. Social media, smart devices and mobile networks make available instant updates and real time awareness of their issues, causes and products. Their challenge: to stay on top of this shifting foundation while fulfilling their purpose as an organization and meeting the needs of their community.

How can they achieve success?

On Wednesday, April 24, 2013, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Toronto Chapter brought together a stellar panel of leaders to explore the unique features of the community and offer some solid tips and tools that would benefit any organization. Read more »