So far, I have been mainly talking about how to get a sponsor to support you, your event or your project. Little has been said about what happens after the contract has been signed and you have received the funds. This is when your relationship with the sponsor really starts!
It happens way to often that a conversation between the sponsor and the rights holder stops when the sponsorship deal has been made (and a sponsorship contract has been signed). ‘A logo has been put on a website, so I guess my job as the rights holder is done. If the sponsor wants anything else, they should follow up and/or make a move.’
BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP
If you are looking for a one off sponsorship, you might be able to get away with such approach. Though, more often than not, you will need this sponsorship again next year.
The sponsor will look at what did they get in return from your sponsorship before renewing the deal. If there was not even a basic communication from you, before, during and post event, I would bet they would rather give the funds to someone else. You might say it is only a couple hundred dollars. But you know damn well that this kind of money (or in kind) can make or break a deal. So, if I were you, I would make sure I would be the one to get the money the following year too!
Furthermore, if you focus on building a true relationship with existing sponsors, they might not just support you again, but increase the funds the following year. They will see the real value in supporting you. Not to mention that since you have already developed a relationship with this particular sponsor, you don’t have to go through all the hard work of convincing someone to sponsor you again.
We can all agree that such approach will save you plenty of time and energy. Moreover, this particular sponsor might recommend you to their business partners who are also looking for great sponsorship opportunities.
SO, HOW TO KEEP YOUR SPONSORS HAPPY?
- In the lead time to your event, keep them posted about the latest developments or any exciting news regarding your project. Have you been mentioned on TV or in a local newspaper? Have you signed a really cool celebrity to come to your event? Let your sponsors know about it.
- If you are preparing and publishing any press release, make sure you loop your sponsors in. They might want to use your story to create their comms, which may lead to additional promotion for your event.
- If the circumstances of your event change and new opportunities for activations open for existing sponsors, let them know about it. Share your ideas and suggestions with them. They might not want to go ahead with it, or they might think of something else but they will appreciate you thinking of them at all times.
- If you have met someone who you believe your sponsor might benefit from connecting with, make an introduction. Even though it has nothing to do with your event.
- Organise a small sponsors gathering prior to your event. This way they can meet, talk to and connect with each other. You might not benefit directly from a such meet up, but you will add to the value of sponsors sponsoring you.
- Make sure you share your post event reports and observations with your sponsors. Give them all information about the event you can, so they can use their own stories around it. Do this shortly after the event, when there is still some buzz around it, to have the greatest impact.
- If you are organising an event again the following year, share your ideas and intentions with the current sponsors as soon after the event as possible. The experience will still be fresh in their mind. They will also have a better idea of what to expect from the event and how could they leverage their involvement next time. And you will have a decent amount of funds already secured for your next event.