As a business owner, I’ve had the opportunity to get involved in the world of sponsorship.
I often get requests to sponsor clients who are, for example, doing a weeks-long trek across some challenging terrain, to raise money for women’s shelters. I even gathered my own sponsors in our tiny village of Lyndhurst in support of the Rejuvenation Committee, by swimming the 3km from one end of our lake to the other.
Before I attended a sponsorship three-day retreat in San Diego, California with the Raise a Dream team Charmaine Hammond and Rebecca Kirstein, I’ve been curious about sponsorship and wanted to learn more before attending the retreat.
Sponsorship, like so many topics, seems fairly simple until you start delving into it, and realize just how much you don’t know.
In preparation for attending the retreat, I was given access to the Big Dream Primer. This is their 7-Step online preparation course with videos and tons of tools. I was blown away by the breadth and depth of their expertise, tools, and perspectives—especially as it relates to dreams, and making those dreams a reality.
Now that I’ve officially stepped into the world of sponsorship, on both the giving and receiving end, I was curious to learn more about the business owners I know and respect, and how they make sponsorship decisions. It’s especially difficult because while many of us would like to support every cause or organization who asks, at the same time we need to be conscious of the businesses return on the investment we make through our sponsorship dollars.
If you’re thinking of taking the first steps toward becoming involved in sponsorship, have a look at this post where I discuss barriers to making a change and how to overcome them.
I recently spent over an hour on the phone with Laurel Davidge. She told me that sponsorship for her involves connecting with groups that share her values; for example, a concern and awareness for animal welfare. She especially appreciated being asked by the organizations she was supporting what they could do to promote her business. This also included what message would she like to send to the members of the organization she was sponsoring.
It makes me wonder how often organizations looking for sponsors actually ask this question. For me, it seems absolutely essential. There are so many benefits to positively and tangibly responding to the needs of the sponsor. Organizations or individuals can ensure a relationship which continues to be mutually beneficial to both parties going forward. This lays the groundwork for future collaboration.
Establishing and maintaining relationships is an important component for any sponsorship creation. I’ve heard this many times from Charmaine in videos and other course materials. And the more I learn, the more it rings true.
What impressed me in my conversation with Laurel is that she quite willingly offered additional sponsorship. This was based on a meaningful relationship she’d developed with the organization who was aligned with her values and purpose. It was clear to me there was a real mutual respect and admiration between these parties. It allowed them to work together in furthering a common goal of animal welfare. But also in cross promoting each other and leveraging networks and connections toward growth and new opportunities.
The give and take of sponsorship.
When I look at this particular relationship, and speak to Laurel, it really exemplifies the give and take nature of sponsorship. It also shows how easy it can be for sponsors and those they’re sponsoring to positively impact each other.
I wrote this article because I look forward to sharing more about sponsorship through my interviews with other business owners.
But first, I have some questions for YOU.
- How do you go about making decisions on who to sponsor and why?
- What is important to you when it comes to measuring your return on investment?
- How do you decide whether the seeds you’ve sown have given you the fruit you’d anticipated?
- What about other ripple effects from your sponsorship dollars, have there been any surprises?
- And finally, how aligned do you think sponsors should be with the organizations they are choosing to support?
Did you enjoy this article? Here are three more you might also enjoy: