The Q&A Team: The Benefits of Event Sponsorships for Businesses and Non-Profits

Events are a primary method for nonprofits to raise money for the causes that mean the most to their organizations while forming strong personal bonds with their donor base. However, event space, refreshments, tables, and equipment are pricey, so having a corporate sponsor helps nonprofits reduce their costs while allocating the maximum amount of funds raised towards their cause.

For businesses, event sponsorships are an opportunity to personally engage with customers and establish a long-lasting, positive brand impression. Therefore, non-profits and businesses can form mutually beneficial relationships by combining their respective strengths and hosting events.To help connect non-profits and businesses in search of event sponsorships with each other, Lemuel White and Mickey Lukens created an easy-to-use and resource-efficient platform called SponsorMatch. The pair loaned their expertise to the ProfNet Q&A team and offered sound advice on how businesses and non-profits can launch successful sponsored events.

How can a business decide what event sponsorship will work best for them?

Marketing managers must ask themselves if the prospective event aligns with their overall business goals. Think about whether it reinforces the right experience for their target customer and if it will produce the greatest return on investment.

Is there a limit to the number of events a business should sponsor?

Not at all! However, as with any advertising effort, businesses should assess if the long-term return on investment, such as new customer gains, is greater than the cost of sponsorship.

What channels should you use to promote an event sponsorship?

One of the most successful and cost-effective methods of promoting an event is through a well-planned social media strategy. But depending on the business, event being sponsored, and customer being reached, promotion through a diverse combination of mediums and digital platforms is best.

How should a business handle an event sponsorship that ends up being a conflict of interest?

A thorough investigation of the proposed sponsorship and background of the organization can prevent a conflict of interest before it occurs. However, if an issue arises that could not be mitigated, businesses should collaborate with the organization to minimize any aspect of the event associated with the conflict that might negatively impact the customer. In extreme cases, company leadership should be as transparent with customers as possible by acknowledging the issue and responding accordingly to keep from alienating trust.

What are the typical processes and challenges for nonprofit organizations in search of sponsorships for their event?

One of the greatest challenges for nonprofits is effectively communicating the right information to businesses that will lead to a partnership. With the exception of very large nonprofits, most small to medium nonprofits spend hours cold calling businesses in hopes of forming a partnership. The entire process is very informal and problematic for event organizers who must locate marketing decision makers, pitch their event and levels of sponsorship, and convince the business that their investment would benefit their target consumer. When reaching out to potential partners, nonprofits must come prepared with detailed information on who their members are such as where they are from, where they live, how much income they make, and other relevant demographics.

How can using SponsorMatch connect businesses with nonprofits?

SponsorMatch works by matching the needs of nonprofit events to the goals of businesses. Similar to online dating sites, nonprofits and businesses will be able to see exactly what each side is looking for and only reach out when those needs match. Nonprofits will be able to easily divide their event into levels of sponsorship. Businesses will be able to see all the details of any given event and select what level they are willing to support, at what cost, and what exposure they will receive. The platform will even notify both nonprofits and businesses automatically if it believes there’s a possible match. Overall, SponsorMatch saves valuable time and resources for both the nonprofit and business by holdng all of their partnership assets, communication, and details in one place

How do you see event sponsorships changing for nonprofits and businesses in the future?

Technology has created more channels for individuals to learn about the businesses they purchase from, and customers are placing a high value on the social contributions of those businesses. In the future, businesses will continue to incorporate more socially responsible partnerships to help their communities while elevating their own brands. Technology will also allow nonprofits to change not only the way sponsorships are conducted, but also how members are found, donors are retained, and visions are fulfilled on a worldwide scale.

polina opelbaumWritten by Polina Opelbaum, editor of ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources. To read more from Polina, check out her blog on ProfNet Connect.

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