Let’s face it – one of the joys of working in sponsorship is that you get to do cool stuff and sometimes you get to have complete control over exactly what cool stuff you do. Enter the sponsor event.
Over the years I have been racing in a 470 dinghy with Olympic athletes in Sydney Harbour, competing in a ‘Race around Melbourne’ and being inspired by global celebrities all in the name of building sponsor relationships.
Don’t get me wrong, these days involve a huge amount of work and can be mega stressful, but if you are not making them fun then you are doing something wrong.
I have made some mistakes over the journey though. So, in order to save you from some of my blunders, here are my Do’s and Don’ts that will help ensure your sponsor event is the best it can be.
- Make it educational – there does need to be an aspect of the day that inspires.
- Get to know your sponsors – and allow time and activities for them to get to know one another.
- Inspire them.
- Have all your sponsors introduce themselves and briefly outline the reasoning behind the partnership.
- Ensure that you have a decent budget. You do need to put a good day on for these people to build relationships and show your appreciation.
- Be imaginative.
- Have fun yourself.
- Keep it punchy.
- Have a guest speaker that you have completely vetted first; be on top of what they are saying and make sure it is on message.
- Invite your CEO and any relevant executives for as much time as they will give you. It is important for them to build relationships with your sponsors as well (and vice versa).
- Invite prospects if you have them pretty much over the line.
Don’t Do These
- Make it longer than a day (or a long day for that matter). You want the day to be action packed but you don’t want to make it exhausting.
- Ask for group feedback during the session and particularly if you know there is a sponsor or two that will start agitating. I had one event where we asked for feedback and one sponsor took full advantage of the opportunity to air their grievances. Feedback sessions are to be done one-on-one. Don’t make it a group discussion.
- Invite smaller sponsors who have no chance of becoming a sizable partner i.e the local painter who provides some contra in return for hospitality etc. This is a no go.
Overall, think about the personalities in your sponsor group and what you think they will enjoy. At the end of the day, if you make it fun, relevant and everyone gets to know each other better then you can’t go wrong.
And the best part of it all is that it is focused on the relationships and we know good sponsorships are about relationships.
If you have any tips or advice on the sponsor day front then I’d love to hear them.
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