Jun 23, 2011 at 01:33 PM
written by Jackie Fast, Slingshot Sponsorship

Cause Sponsorship: Top 3 Reasons Why You Aren't Selling

I am often asked to provide consultancy to charities on how they can make their sponsorship propositions more attractive to brands. The charities are often well known and have great causes – with well-planned and well-attended events. Understandably, it’s difficult to understand why more brands aren’t getting involved.

After experience and investigation with a number of our charity clients, I’ve discovered that there are some very simple tips to help make charity sponsorship proposals more attractive to secure sales.

1. Is your sponsorship package worth what you are asking?

Just because you need a certain amount, that doesn’t mean that your package is worth that amount. Far too often I see sponsorship proposals that are clearly not valued based on their tangible benefits. Of course there is a certain amount of association with the charity that is ‘priceless’, but this is not the sole (or even usually the key) reason marketing directors will align their brand to your cause. However, the weight of sponsorship investment is assumed to be the majority of the charity association with media assets such as PR and print ads ‘thrown in’. This is definitely not the approach to take when putting together your sponsorship proposition. Marketing directors are a savvy bunch and they want to see tangible benefits to prove effectiveness. Which brings me to my second point…

2. Marketing directors are busy

Marketing directors receive thousands of proposals, opportunities, and ideas that they can choose from to promote their brand. Your sponsorship proposal is not only competing with other charity proposals, but also all the other available marketing platforms that the brand can align themself to. It is a cluttered market and you have to be clear and transparent. Although beautiful powerpoint presentations with great pictures tend to look great – they make for impractical sponsorship proposals.

Of course the sponsorship proposal will depend on your programme as this format can be effective for selling emotive campaigns. However, more often than not, it is rarely the most suitable option.

3. Make more time

Charities tend to work with limited resources and find it difficult to put all the plans in place well in advance. As such, they don’t start approaching sponsors until they have all of the event information confirmed – typically 3 months before the event takes place. This is typically the time they think it is appropriate to approach sponsors.

Although the event could be absolutely ideal for a brand’s positioning and objectives, very few brands have spare funds within their marketing budget or the additional resource to make use of the opportunity. Marketing budgets are typically planned at least 1 year in advance. Regardless of how much they may want to get involved, they will not have the budget to do so.

As such, charities need to either:

a) start working on the events plan earlier,

b) start approaching brands earlier, or

c) aim to only secure sponsorship for the annual events that have a clear direction and plan in place.

We have recently signed some great charity clients (such as Mencap) and will be blogging more charity sponsorship tips throughout the year. Make sure to check back often or subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss anything!

Jackie Fast is Managing Director at London-based sponsorship agency, Slingshot Sponsorship. Jackie offers running commentary on the Slingshot Sponsorship blog, and allows us to republish here when the subject fits.