What do you do when your association needs to boost revenue beyond membership dues? Sponsorships are a great way to bring in additional non-dues revenue. But, how do you bring in more sponsorships?
In my experience working with sponsors, I’ve found that it’s as much about relationship-building as it is about building a sponsor program. Of course, you can’t create relationships with sponsors in one day. But it’s never too late to get started. Having these relationships in place can be extremely valuable.
Here are a few approaches that I’ve found particularly effective in building sponsor relationships and driving more sponsorships:
- Get to know your sponsors.
Sponsors will keep coming back if they trust you and feel as if they can just pick up the phone and call you. They’re also more likely to take your call if they view you as a friend, not just a professional peer. Ask them about their professional life outside of sponsorships. Ask about their personal life. For example, what do they like to do in their spare time? Do they have any fun plans for the upcoming weekend? Take note of their answers, and ask them specific, relevant questions about how things are going the next time you communicate with them.
- Ask for feedback.
Survey your sponsors to learn about their current pain points. Find out what they need. Dig into what options they would consider for sponsorships. Giving them an opportunity to provide their thoughts in a convenient format is a great way to better understand their needs and offer more compelling sponsorship opportunities.
TECH TIP: YourMembership association management software has survey functionality built in, making it easy to build and send targeted surveys and get feedback.
- Pick up the phone.
Pick up the phone and call them after you’ve reviewed their survey feedback. Thank them for past sponsorships. Let them know what your organization is doing now. Let them know your members’ pain points. Offer them ways they can bring value to your members. Get creative and talk about ways you can work together to offer solutions your members need most, such as industry information or discounts on products and services.
- Put it into action.
Building relationships with your sponsors is a great way to increase your associations non-dues revenue but is an on-going process to keep your sponsors coming back.
Here are a few easy tips to keep you on track:
- Pull a report to see a full list of your sponsors.
- Check to see when you last communicated with them.
- Make sure you follow through by adding reminders to your calendar to complete tasks and follow-up.
- Develop a survey and send it out (immediately after their sponsorship ended for fresh feedback).
- And finally keep cultivating your sponsor for your next sponsorship.