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The Power of Sponsorship

Sponsorship is a very big business in Canada. The 2013 Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study estimates that in 2012, sponsors invested $1.57 billion in this form of marketing.  Every kind of business incorporates sponsorship in its marketing strategy by investing in professional and amateur sports, fairs and festivals, charities and causes, municipal programs and facilities, the arts and so on.

With so much money in the game, you might think that sponsorship is a clear-cut endeavour. Yet it's not. Every year, many sponsors are disappointed in relationships, implementation and their investment outcomes.  And every year, charities overlook what they have to offer, what their audience members or supporters are worth and what their sponsors and potential sponsors really need.

Here's what you need to know: The "secret" to a successful sponsorship isn't really a secret at all. Here it is in four simple sentences:

  • Find out where your prospective sponsors “hurt” (i.e., what holds them back from greater success).
  • Offer a customized solution at a fair market price.
  • Go above and beyond to deliver.
  • Repeat.

If that sounds a lot like the sales process, it is. Is sponsorship an important part of your revenue mix? Could it become important if you gave it more effort? You will achieve far better, longer-lasting results by selling solutions rather than begging for support. The sponsorships you create when you take this approach will bring you not only more revenue, but more media coverage, more public awareness and more people—all to fuel your mission and achieve your own goals.

So if you are ready and willing to:

  • stop asking humbly for "support" and calling it "sponsorship;"
  • sell your sponsors specific benefits rather than giving them "the satisfaction of helping our good work;"
  • throw away your standardized gold, silver and bronze packages; and
  • (above all) listen deeply and consistently to your sponsors, then you are ready to set on a path to a transformed sponsorship program!

Brent Barootes has worked with many Canadian professional and amateur sports teams, non-profit and charitable organizations, and major corporations to develop, design, and build effective sponsorship programs. His expertise includes sponsorship valuations and audits, inventory/benefit development, package development, and mentoring of staff and volunteers. Contact him,

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