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Why You Need to Build Meaningful Relationships with Sponsors

Event sponsors are worth their weight in gold—sometimes literally! Sponsors offer much-needed revenue to help with event operations—and you’ll want to build close relationships with them over time.

The trouble can be, after spending so much time, effort, and resources to attract new sponsors, the strength of a new partnership can easily start to wane after the first year. In the beginning, the newbie is treated like a VIP—they’re given lots of attention and fanfare—but as time wears on, the attention might shift to newer sponsors. It’s all too easy to take sponsors for granted and assume they’ll always be around. This is not the case—and we’ve seen it happen many times.

A few years ago, one of our clients managed to snag up a big-name sponsor for their annual events. Initially, they were over the moon with the new partnership, but as each year passed, the sponsor slowly pulled back on their support. This was a red flag for us here at TaylorMade Experience.

Since we know how important it is to maintain sponsor relationships, we reached out on behalf of our client. We wanted to find out what we could do to better serve the relationship—was there something that wasn’t meeting the sponsor’s needs?

As it turned out, they still wanted to offer their support, but in a different way. The sponsor was looking to get more involved in the event on a grassroots level and wanted their people directly interacting with the guests. No one ever brought this up before, but there was opportunity to grant the sponsor’s wish. We ended up re-working the sponsorship package, and the sponsor increased their support as a result.

So, if you’re looking to build meaningful relationships with your sponsors that will endure the test of time, try the following.

Give them some unexpected perks

Who doesn’t love perks? Get creative with what you can offer your sponsors to make them feel special. Some ideas to try:

  • Include them in a VIP reception
  • Feature their logo in creative ways throughout the event
  • Give them a special shout-out during the night

The key is to think about what they would like and come up with ways to surprise and delight them.

Follow up after an event

Follow up is important for every aspect of an event, including with your sponsors. After the event, send your sponsors a report that shows the results of their investment. You should also check in with them throughout the year, just to see how they’re doing (and without the motive of hitting them up for cash).

Don’t bounce them around

There should only be one direct point of contact between the sponsor and your non-profit organization or company. This will strengthen the bond between that sponsor and the point of contact—and the developing relationship, as a result, will be on a more personal level.

Show gratitude

Appreciation is key. You can show your sponsors your continued gratitude in lots of ways, whether it’s through public or private announcements, handwritten thank-you notes, gifts sent to them after the event, or in some other meaningful and personal way.

Make connections for them that make sense

In addition to getting their company name out there, sponsors also love expanding their network. Find out what they are interested in or any special details about them—this will give you the opportunity to create a special moment for them. You can do this by introducing them to a celebrity in attendance, making a crucial introduction for them, or sitting them at a table with people they said they want to meet.

Don’t let your sponsors just be dollars in your budget—they’re people first and foremost. If you treat the relationship as a two-way friendship, it has a much better chance of enduring the test of time.

If you need help building sponsor relationships, let us know. We have years of experience helping to engage sponsors so they continue to offer the support and help your organization needs.

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60

Years Combined Experience

10

In-Kind Donations Procured

50

Sponsorship & Fundraising Calls Over Last 12 Years

500

Corporations Researched for Fundraising Opportunities