Sponsorship – how can this be good? (Part 2)

Sponsorship – how can this be good? (Part 2)

Let’s pretend I am an event or a charity. I need sponsors to support my event. So I grab a copy of some other charity’s old sponsor package – change the names and the event, and copy the sponsor options. Sponsor package done.

But I am doing the same thing as everybody else in the city – offering Gold, Silver and Bronze levels (no wait – to be creative I have added a “Platinum” level – that will bring the money in!) I am not offering more benefits to sponsors, just asking for more money (maybe no one will notice?).

While this is a real scenario, let’s take a look at this critically. If we accept the fact that a donation is a contribution of funds without any expectation of return (see part one of this series), and a sponsorship is a transaction where a company provides funds in return for some market value elements, does the following sponsor offer make sense –

A Platinum Level sponsorship at a golf tournament is $10,000 and in return for that support the company is offered:

  • Their logo attached to the event in a “presented by” status
  • Their logo at the event on signage
  • Their logo on the hole signs placed throughout the course
  • A chance for the CEO to speak at the dinner in front of the 200 players and organizers
  • Inclusion in all the event advertising done before and after the event – along with the other thirty sponsors of the event.
  • Four golfers that will play in the event

From a community support perspective – I can understand why a company would pay $10,000 to reach 200 people, to support a charity that they “like”.

From a marketing perspective – I know that I could take that $10,000 and run a very strong four-week advertising campaign that would reach 40,000 per quarter hour (and my frequency would be amazing)!

Alternatively – I could use that $10,000 to develop and deliver a comprehensive social media marketing campaign that targeted my specific audience, created offers for sales, tracked on a daily basis the response from that audience and in the long-run, generated conversions.

In other words – if we remember the difference between sponsorship and donation outlined in part one of the series, and we took a look at the offer being made by the charity, we realize that this golf event is not an offer for sponsorship, it is a request for a large donation.

But what if that didn’t have to be the case? What if the event organizer could change the way the event was done – to create true business opportunities for their sponsors? And what if the company insisted that the event organizer incorporate business marketing tools in the program, consistent with their marketing objectives?

The answer is obvious – if both sides of the transaction focused on creating a true marketing program – they would be creating a win-win scenario and a true sponsorship agreement. This type of sponsorship marketing happens all over Canada. There are very large firms in Toronto and Vancouver that specialize in sponsorship marketing and they have been in business for decades.

So why doesn’t it happen in Winnipeg? Why don’t companies expect more from their sponsor dollars? Why don’t charities and events offer more from their events in this city?

I have tried for years to understand this situation – back to when I ran three annual Sponsorship Event Marketing Conferences for CBC. The material, the ideas and the systems offered in those sessions were spectacular. And yet, twenty years later, nothing has changed.

It is a shame – because the benefits of true sponsor partnerships are considerable – for both the event and the sponsor.

(This is part two is a three-part series on Sponsorship in Manitoba)