Finding sponsors is not easy. It takes a lot more than a brochure and a good story. Setting the foundation for a relationship is the best ways to start and is key to creating a sustainable sponsorship process. Spend more time cultivating relationships now and you’ll spend less time chasing that next dollar down the road.
Here are some tips on how to build relationships that lead to sponsorships you can count on:
- Get to Know the Organization: Take a look at the website and social media outlets. Find out who’s who within the company. Research and understand their mission, their vision and which initiatives are important to them. Will their sponsorship lend to their initiatives and help them to further their cause?
- Get to Know the Whole Organization: Keep in mind that larger corporations may have more than one initiative. Companies that encompass several brands/services may have different initiatives for each. Do some digging. Also, note that some of their initiatives may be present separately from the website, perhaps as a foundation.
- ERGs: Check to see if the company has any Employee Resource Groups; there may be an ERG for Women, LGBTQ, Sustainability, Veterans, etc within the company. If your conference is geared toward a specific community, the company could see fit to support your conference and send along their team.
- Identify the Person(s) Responsible: There may be one or more people responsible for corporate giving, community outreach, an ERG, etc. Take time and do the research.
- LinkedIn as a Relationship Builder: Follow the company page and connect with key individuals. Once they accept your connection request, you then get the opportunity to comment and like their posts. This will make your name more familiar to them, plus people really like to know that people are paying attention to them.
- Pay Attention: If you do connect with them on LinkedIn to find out what they post about, where did they go to school, where did they work before, etc. Look for talking points.
- Share Items of Interest: When you see a workshop or blog that they may be interested in, send along the info with a quick note, “Thought you may find this interesting.”
- Google Alerts: Set up a Google Alert on potential sponsor companies and contacts. Google will alert you when something new is posted about them online. Now you can congratulate them when they win an award, or the company is doing something new or any number of items that may show up.
These steps will go a long way in creating a relationship with key sponsor possibilities. That way, when the time comes to bridge the digital gap, they will feel as if they already know you.