The sponsorship dirty dozen

Marriage vows state clearly that it is “for better or worse, for richer or poorer.” Legal documents spell out clearly just what each party is supposed to bring to the arrangement and what each one will derive from it.

Nonprofit managers understand the necessity for ensuring that contracts of any kind are clear in enumerating expectations and responsibilities. They have come to learn that carelessness can lead to a lot of “worse” without any “better” or a lot of “poorer” without any “richer.”

Speaking during the AFP 50th International Conference on Fundraising, Stacey Goldberg of IEG Consulting Group said that even though nonprofits might think they have all the bases covered when dealing with a prospective sponsor, it is possible to overlook something that might seem trivial or might not appear on the radar at all. When things go wrong, however, nothing is trivial, and the radar is jammed with one catastrophe after another.

Goldberg offered the Dirty Dozen: 12 things properties should correct in dealing with sponsors. They are:

  • Distinguish between sponsorship and charitable giving;
  • Understand each prospect’s business objectives;
  • Base price on value, not need;
  • Offer to share the load;
  • Have a structured approach but be flexible;
  • Act as one property;
  • Understand measurement metrics;
  • Send the right proposal to the right company;
  • Don’t send large documents unless requested;
  • Don’t attempt to skirt agencies;
  • Don’t be overly aggressive with follow-up; and,
  • Commit to promises made in proposals and contracts.