As I wrap up speaking at a conference this week teaching several sessions on Sponsorship Selling 101 and how to attract and acquire new sponsors to your P2P event (if you are not familiar with P2P events…think runs, walks, rides), the audience’s reaction to the sessions was really tremendous and their feedback thought-provoking. So I thought I would tell you the top three things they told me they found very useful. Here we go….
Sponsorship of cause events has evolved rapidly over the last 5 years. No longer a nice to-do because someone in a decision making capacity at a local corporation has an affinity for your cause, or sits on your event board and is required to sponsor the event or a team; sponsorship analysis is way more complicated than ever before.
According to more than 100 corporate CSR decision makers that I have had the honor to interact with as a subset of Catalist’s corporate/cause match-making opt-in network (www.gocatalist.com), decisions on whether to sponsor a cause event follow the same rigid evaluation process done for sponsorship of other categories (sports, conventions, associations, etc.). They are appraising the overall value of the sponsorship to market and differentiate their brand in terms of impressions, positive PR, product sampling, organic buzz, activation ratios, halo effect, employee activation and more. And they need data and numbers to back up just how much impact your event gets them so they can justify the spend.
So how does your event sponsorship capture the value of these categories and get to a resounding “yes” year over year? Try these three tactics:
1. Is the Fee Worth It? Make sure you can back up the fee you’re charging sponsors with a 1:5 value ratio, meaning if you charge a company $1M for a national sponsorship, you are giving them $1.5M in defined, measured value. Now more than ever companies are asking “is the fee worth it” and you have to be able to define for them in value and metrics that it is. It is for this reason Catalist created Merit, a valuation algorithm that uses a defined point system to outline the value of not only each one of your leveragable assets, but your cause halo effect, as well, creating a definitive (and defendable) price for each of your local, regional, and national packages. (Learn more about Merit at www.gocatalist.com)
2. Are You Creating Wrap Reports? Sponsorship money is marketing money. You have to clearly define for each sponsor what ROI their brand received by engaging in the sponsorship with your cause event. How much paid, earned, owned and shared media did you leverage and how much exposure did that get the corporate brand and to what audiences? How much product sampling was the company able to do? How much shared content was created and how much marketplace buzz did it receive? What unique owned area/experience did the brand get and what was the effect of that opportunity? And yes, how many logos were on site/on materials and what audience saw those logos during the event and will see those impressions post event? It is so important to measure these things and report back to the company in terms of metrics and specific data. If you are not measuring exposure and reporting back to your sponsors via wrap reports 30-60 days post event, you may find it very difficult to renew that sponsorship for next year. If you need to find a measurement software/platform, shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can give you advice on some tools.
3. Can Your Participants Engage in Uberchoosing? Uberchoosing is a hot trend in our 2017 Catalist Corporate Partnership Trends document. See: www.gocatalist.com/insights. But what is uberchoosing? Simply put it is allowing the donor to decide exactly where his or her money goes. Think not just funding cancer care, but instead things like support programs, music therapy, the latest piece of life-saving equipment, charitable care, free mammograms, community education programs, a promising research initiative. Why do sponsors care about this? Uberchoosing makes the participants more engaged which makes the sponsors happy. Uberchoosing also extends to the employees of your sponsors. It allows employees to engage with your event based on their individual affinity. Many corporate sponsors have told me that if their employees are fully engaged and excited about something the company sponsors, and even if they want to walk away from the sponsorship, they can’t; it will cause unrest.
Lots to think about. Happy selling (or as I like to call it cause-ing)!