Aug 29, 2009 at 04:10 AM
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Help Your Favorite Non-Profit Net a $20K Sponsorship

Call it the American Idolization of sponsorship. Allowing consumers to have a hand in the sponsorship selection process is a relatively new trend. Last week, we looked at Monster's crowdsourced band sponsorship and Okanagan Spring's crowdsourced value-in-kind promotion.

In response to those stories, we got an email about Tom's of Maine, which is doing a similar promotion for community programs and non-profits.

501(c)(3) non profits can apply until August 30th by filling out an application on Tom's of Maine's website. Between September 21st and October 30th visitors will vote for their favorite program and in November the company will select five winning organization who will be awarded a $20,000 sponsorship to accomplish their goals.

With over 40,000 retail locations, Tom's of Maine makes natural personal care products free from artificial ingredients and not tested on animals. In 2006, Colgate-Palmolive bought a controlling interest in the company.

Most brand managers get flooded with proposals. Customers on the other hand love to have a say in the process, traditionally done through post-event polls. Could the brand manager's pain be the customer's gain? Even if you don't get any groundbreaking insights, you might get a groundswell of traffic and buzz around the promotion itself as Monster Energy has. One word of caution though, since sponsorships are often used to help brands enter new markets, expand awareness to new audiences and launch new products, in many cases your current customers might not have the informational advantage or context to provide informative decisions around certain objectives.

Nevertheless, have you thought about giving customers a vote in your sponsorship selection?