Securing a sponsorship is only the first step of the process. Nurturing that relationship is critical to maintaining long-lasting support and attracting other sponsors.
Businesses sponsor events for two main reasons. First, if the sponsorship is for a charitable facility or event, supporting such a cause probably aligns with the organization’s charitable mission. Second, companies hope that the sponsorship will show their support of the industry to current customers or will introduce their product(s) to a new audience in an effort to gain new customers.
You should understand that the relationship is just beginning when you receive a sponsorship. Laura Smith, the chief executive officer and co-founder of Youth Equestrian Development Association (YEDA), and Jane Moulton, treasurer for the Eastern Mountain Ranch Horse Association, share how they recognize sponsors for their support.
Advertising: “We offer sponsors an ad in our program book, a link on our website and a banner that is hung in the arena at all of our shows,” said Moulton.
Signage: Facilities that receive year-round sponsorship support might be asked to hang more permanent signs than a banner within the space to acknowledge the relationship.
Booth space: Where space is available, offering a sponsor the chance to interact with your clients and supporters is a significant opportunity for sponsors to tell their story to potential customers. YEDA offers sponsors a booth at no cost at their annual national competition.
Sharing mailing lists: Ideally, sponsors want access to an interested, targeted audience for promotional purposes. “We have had some sponsors ask for our membership list, but we ask the members if they are okay with giving contact information before sharing,” said Moulton. You also can include sponsor messages in your correspondence with your clients or followers (newsletters, eblasts, blogs, etc.).
Saying thank you: Sponsors want to know their support is appreciated. “Send thank-you notes and photos from the event with the sponsor's signage included. The more time you spend finding and working with your sponsors, the more successful you will be,” Smith said.
The key to establishing lasting sponsorship relationships is open and regular communication to ensure the agreement is mutually beneficial.