Poet Edith Lovejoy Pierce said “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day”. The New Year represents a new opportunity to increase the visibility and income of your small business. No matter what you believe about the state of the economy, corporations have continued to sponsor businesses, brands and projects that have the potential to move their marketing and sales objectives forward. Here are seven things you need to know to attract corporate sponsorship in 2013:
1. You have sponsorship prospects. The truth is that almost all small businesses have corporate sponsorship prospects, but only some truly know how to identify and approach those corporate prospects in ways that are not intrusive and mutually beneficial. Consider starting the year off by inviting your vendors, stakeholders, and VIP customers to a prospect research session to uncover the relationships that exist between your business and the corporations to which they are connected. Once you have your prospects identified, create strategies to engage those prospects.
2. You must get close and personal. Begin your prospecting sessions with the end in mind: getting the names of corporate contacts you can solicit, and the commitment from your connecter to make an introduction. Your goal is to get a face-to-face meeting (optimal) or a phone conversation with your prospective sponsor.
3. Start taking social media seriously. According to HootSuite’s CEO Ryan Holmes, in 2013, companies can look forward to expanded returns on their investment in social media, as social technologies improve and functionality extends beyond just marketing and community building.” Through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, you can offer great opportunities to linking your sponsor directly to their ideal customer. I’ve worked with many organizations who have built their sponsorship program strictly on the benefits they can offer through social media.
4. Understand that sponsors aren’t just interested in logo recognition. Think about it ….do corporations like Pepsi really need your help to promote their logo? Look to offer more creative benefits that align with your corporate prospect’s brand and ultimately help them drive business.
5. Offer diverse opportunities for corporate sponsors to partner with your brand. New sponsors may be reluctant to take on your top tier opportunities until they have a sense of if the partnership will generate a return on their financial investment. I don’t encourage you discount your value, but do encourage you to consider developing a range of smaller sponsorship packages that serve as the prelude to larger opportunities.
6. Adjust your attitude. Before you approach your sponsor remember, you are proposing a win-win partnership of mutual benefit. Go in with the attitude of “we have an opportunity for your corporation to build business and spread goodwill,” rather than “we really need your money.”
7. Honor sponsorship deliverables: Once you have a sponsor, where possible, over deliver and offer more value, benefits, and/or recognition at no additional cost. Small gestures help endear your organization to the corporate sponsor, and increase the chance that you will retain and attract new sponsors.
About the author: Anisha Robinson Keeys is the Principal Officer of Best Practice Fundraising. With 15 years of nonprofit fundraising and marketing experience, she has raised over $52 million dollars in the areas of youth and women’s empowerment, disaster relief, arts, and health care. Her e-book: Get Corporate Sponsorship! is a step by step guide to securing corporate sponsorship from identifying the right prospects, creating a strong proposal and win-win corporate partnerships. Learn more about Anisha at bestpracticefundraising.org
This article is from the SmallBizLady special blog series: 31 Ways to Boost Your Small Business in 2013. #Boost2013
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