What’s wrong with sponsorship in Manitoba? (Part 1)

What’s wrong with sponsorship in Manitoba? (Part 1)

I have come across so many organizations lately that are using generic sponsor packages to solicit money for events and fundraisers. These are templates of packages that were used by charities twenty years ago – yet they still exist in the city today.

While they are called “sponsor packages”- they aren’t actually, in any way, a true sponsor package – they are merely requests for donations!

Let’s take a look at the difference:

A donation request – Asks for money to support a cause. In some situations the request may offer something in return – a thank you, a receipt or even a sign at the fundraiser. These return elements are not equivalent to the level of donation provided but act as a symbolic gesture acknowledging the support.

A sponsor request – Asks for money as an entry fee for participation in the event. The sponsor dollars purchase business benefits (or the right to create business benefits) associated with the event. The sponsor agreement creates a business partnership between the event charity and the business/sponsor in which both parties are seeking to benefit from the transaction.

If you are an event or charity – be honest with yourself. Are you actually offering to build a business partnership with the company in which both parties benefit (spoiler alert – putting their logos up at your event does not count as building business)?

If you are a company providing sponsor dollars annually in the city – are you actually leveraging those dollars as part of your marketing (if you aren’t – let’s just call it philanthropy and move on).

Proper sponsor transactions happen throughout the country – in many major cities in Canada. Yet in Manitoba, the sponsorship industry seems mired in 1980’s ideology. I don’t know whether it is because events don’t have the knowledge to build true business packages, or companies don’t have the time/energy to leverage their investment, but it is disconcerting how poorly sponsorship programming is done in this province.

(This is the first in a three part series on sponsorship in Manitoba).