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5 Tips For Finding The Right Sponsorship Advisor Blog_lock

 by Gail Bower  |  11 Sep 2013 at 08:35 AM  |  2 Comments


In the last month, I've gotten calls from several individuals or organizations who've gotten bad advice. They've also received disappointing reality checks from me.

One call was from an organization that rapidly needs to change its business model. The advice they got, complete with financial projections, was to create gold, silver, and bronze sponsorship levels.Lots of stress when I shared why that wouldn't be the best approach.

Another has a business model based on sponsorship but not a lot of "there" there. "Everyone" has given the organization feedback that it will work.

But the one that killed me? The 15-year-old entrepreneur who was told that corporations have lots of money to give away. He's developed a popular online destination and had high hopes about his sponsorship...


Sponsorship Levels: Love 'em or Leave 'em? Blog_lock

 by Gail Bower  |  03 Sep 2013 at 11:51 AM  |  2 Comments


Research by IEG over the years shows us that about a decade ago, corporations that work with nonprofit organizations began asking for “benefits” in exchange for their “gifts.” This request effectively conflated philanthropy with the marketing medium known as corporate sponsorship and continues to confuse both nonprofit and corporate leaders.

Nonprofit development officers, on whose shoulders it fell to figure out what their corporate funders were looking for, were stumped. Ultimately, what emerged were the generic “sponsorship levels” that many organizations put forth as corporate sponsorship — today’s Gold, Silver & Bronze packages.

Calling Gold, Silver & Bronze levels "sponsorship" is like someone thinking he's experienced New York because he visited New York-New York in Las Veg...


A Simple Test For Your Sponsorship Ideas Blog_lock

 by Gail Bower  |  26 Aug 2013 at 08:40 AM  |  2 Comments


If you know me, even through my writing or attending a workshop or collaborating on a project, you know that I encourage (sometimes even provoke) people to think big. Corporate sponsorship is one of those marketing vehicles where thinking big is easy and the best way to go.

The problem is most people don't.

Here's a simple tool to help you test your ideas for bigness.

Considering this simple Venn diagram, ask yourself how your ideas work to advance the goals or needs of each stakeholder on this diagram. What's the storyline for each stakeholder? Are your ideas exciting from this stakeholder's vantage?

If your idea isn't over-the-top awesome for each one, head back to the drawing board.

Gail Bower is President of Bower & Co. Consulting LLC, a firm that assist...


10 Skills of Successful Sponsorship Sellers Blog_lock

 by Gail Bower  |  25 Sep 2011 at 02:26 PM  |  4 Comments

Next week I'll be speaking before a group of senior leaders and board members of nonprofit organizations about corporate sponsorship. Because some of the executives who belong to this organization are in a career transition, including from the for profit to the nonprofit sector, I promised to share with them important skills and characteristics of individuals who are successful in corporate sponsorship development.

Here's my list of top 10 skills and characteristics:

Comfort selling the intangible. Many people can sell, but not everyone is comfortable selling what doesn't exist. I remember having a conversation with a friend, Ted, who sold steel lockers and related equipment when I was selling sponsorship. He said, "I can't understand how you can sell something that you can't touc...


Selling By Phone is Tough. Here are Three Ways to Make it Easier. Blog_lock

 by Gail Bower  |  24 Aug 2011 at 08:37 AM  |  3 Comments

No calls, no sponsors

Here's the bottomline: if you don't tell anyone about your sponsorship opportunities, if you don't work together with prospective partners to co-create meaningful opportunities, you're not going to have sponsors nor the revenue from that source.

You know this, of course. But that doesn't make having actual conversations with real live sponsors any less scary, right?

Here are three suggestions:

Don't fight the fear. Fear (with consciousness) can be a good thing. Fear surely saved many a caveman and woman from untimely death. Fortunately, sponsor prospects are not known for attacking much less defending themselves to the death. Rather for modern day cave people, the worst you have to fear is calls and emails that go ignored. Silence. (You may know this, too, and still there's fea...


Six Sponsorship Takeaways From Morgan Spurlock's Greatest Move Ever Sold Blog_lock

 by Gail Bower  |  23 Apr 2011 at 11:54 AM  |  0 Comments

Morgan Spurlock's new film, POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, is out today, and I urge you to check it out. It's hilarious and lots of fun to watch (see my full review). And there are so many lessons to be learned about sponsorship, if you're new to the medium, as either a buyer or seller, or need a refresher.

Here are a handful of observations I had, culled from the 30 or so I just shared in a teleseminar:

For Brands/Buyers:

1. Are you taking risks in your sponsorship decisions? Or are you doing the same old same old? Marketing is about getting noticed, getting attention, and changing behaviors or perceptions. If you sponsor the same thing all the time, people eventually tune out. Shake things up every now and then. Be open to new ideas. If your operation ...


How Not to Approach Potential Corporate Sponsors Blog_lock

 by Gail Bower  |  23 Nov 2010 at 03:24 PM  |  2 Comments

* Soapbox Series

The SP Soapbox Series features expert "in the wild" commentary from leaders in the field of sponsorship. To have your commentary featured here, email your request to info@sponsorpitch.com. The Soapbox Series is supported by Brand Affinity Technologies new netBAT network for celebrity and sports publishers. Get free celeb content and earn ad revenue with netBAT. Sign up now!

Three non-profit organizations with which I have no relationship sent me proposals not long ago to sponsor their events so that Bower & Co. could reach:

families and children;
North America's business leaders;
the fashion industry's elite.

The first thought that came to mind when I opened the envelopes and read these invitations was, in a word, "Huh?"

Bower & Co. Consulting LLC clients are non-p...


Sponsorship Sales: Out with the Consultative Approach, In with Bidding? Blog_lock

 by Gail Bower  |  20 Apr 2010 at 05:36 PM  |  1 Comment

About 10 years ago, I took up ceramics. The first class I took at one of the country's premier institutions, Philadelphia's The Clay Studio, host to the upcoming NCECA conference, was a hand-building course. I learned all sorts of techniques for creating pots, and the one I loved the most was using slabs of clay. Eventually, I began making tiles.

To make a slab, you flatten a chunk of clay to a desired thickness, using either a slab roller or a rolling pin, the same type more commonly used in kitchens to make dough. Because I'd done some woodworking earlier in my life, I gravitated to slabs because it's possible to create similar kinds of pieces using both media. However, the trickiest thing for me about slabs was reminding myself that this smooth, evenly thick material wasn't wood. ...


Spring & Sponsorship at the Flower Show Blog_lock

 by Gail Bower  |  26 Mar 2010 at 12:05 PM  |  0 Comments

PNC, Subaru & others activate at the Philadelphia Flower Show

After a couple blizzards, trudging around in snow, pretty at first, gets tiresome. The recent Philadelphia International Flower Show reminded me that spring indeed will arrive.

Another reason I attended the show was to check out the sponsorship activation. The Flower Show is one of the best sponsorship developers in Philadelphia, and I always appreciate the obvious guidance and hard work of their staff.

PNC gets a round of applause from me for their dedication to Philadelphia's arts & cultural scene. The financial institution whole-heartedly supports important arts organizations and invests philanthropic dollars to nurture the passions of future arts and culture lovers. At the Flower Show, they benefitted from a strong association through their presenting status and did a good...


What's Not To Get About Sponsoring A Panda? Blog_lock

 by Gail Bower  |  09 Feb 2010 at 12:08 PM  |  0 Comments

FedEx gets 'mileage' out of Tai Shan

The Washington Post reports that hours after he landed, Tai Shan, the panda who grew up at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and returned to China on Friday, had acquired a corporate sponsor: Sichuan Auto Industry Group.

Remarkably the reporter states: "It's unclear what Sichuan Auto gets out of it."

Are you kidding me? How about world domination!

Who doesn't love a Panda? And for a country with a growing business sector but no internationally-known brands, association with a globally-recognized and beloved animal that is associated with China and a symbol of 40 years of U.S.-China relations is a pretty smart investment.

Having recently traveled to China I can tell you that China takes its national symbols very seriously – like most cultures do. For a national brand to ...


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