By Michael Kithcart
Relationships are the core of any successful partnership. It is in times of uncertainty that honoring and supporting key relationships becomes more important than ever. Now is the time to be a worthy partner by finding ways you can support your sponsors. Join forces. Share. Collaborate.
At Caravel Marketing we are seeking ways to join forces, share information and collaborate with our clients, partners and community. We firmly believe we are all better together, so in the spirit of sharing and helping one another, we wanted to share our best practices to strengthen the relationships we have with corporate partners/sponsors. Please be part of the conversation and add what you’re doing in the comment section below:
1. Be proactive. Do not wait to determine if your event or fundraiser is going to be canceled to reach out to sponsors. Engage with them now! Make sure they know they are on the top of your mind and that you care about the relationship. Talk long term, the historical partnership if applicable. Inquire if there are corporate initiatives they are using as guidelines to inform their decisions. Spend the time to find out what’s on their minds.
2. Ask them what they need. Don’t assume. What they need you might actually be able to provide. You won’t know unless you ask and just by asking you’re demonstrating that you’re thinking about them. Dig deep here. You might not be able to help on the Top 3 things on their list but you might be able to accommodate 5-7.
3. What can you be providing now? Think beyond the sponsorship, the venue, the fundraiser, the services. What’s valuable to your corporate partners/sponsors that you could give them access to now that could also be useful to them? Think about your e-mail database, social media campaigns, joint community services the two of you could be providing or the sponsor can make possible. Promote how your sponsors are helping the community during this time of need. You have a unique voice. Help sponsors spread their word now, just like they do for you when it’s event time.
4. Collaborate virtually. You all have amazing brainpower within your organization. Maybe you have technical support that could be helpful to a sponsor. Maybe your team and the sponsor’s team could to a virtual conference call and brainstorm ideas to make the engagement better/bigger/different/immediate. We are all better together so join forces and see what kind of magic can come from it.
5. Be solution oriented and engaged. In every interaction with corporate partners/sponsors, stay focused on being solution oriented. Find common ground, explore beyond your usual parameters or the guidelines of a signed agreement. Truly be partners and be curious around what could make their lives a little bit better now or later. This will reap benefits long term and it’s the right thing to do.
6. Play the long game. Who knows how 2020 is going to shake out. Today, as we write this, there are so many unknown variables. Here’s what we at Caravel Marketing know for sure. There have always been events, people want to come together for a common cause, entertainment is a needed vice in life. We have no idea how long gatherings will be banned or delayed. But we do know eventually we as humans will once again want to come together to support and promote the celebrations, music, causes, arts, events, venues we enjoy.
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About the author: Michael Kithcart is the Strategy Consultant at Caravel Marketing. Throughout her career, Michael has transformed organizations, created divisions, organized startups and enhanced the effectiveness of individuals and teams. She is a leader in working with organizations to develop strategic initiatives that meet and exceed sponsorship sales goals.