Sponsorship is about relationships, engaging, interacting, and experiences. I believe that we can create all of these elements within any property. We need to be creative within our organizations to build great sponsorship programs. People often complain that they are small, they are in a remote location, their organization is not “sexy,” and so on. I remind them that they have an audience and sponsors want to reach audiences. Creativity can support the other.
I think Nido Qubein nailed it when he said, “Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” I love this, and it is so true. We need to see the vision. We need to be creative. We need to propose possibilities. When we do that, the sky is the limit.
We have a client that is a small member association. This is a very focused group—a member group that no one really even knows exists. They were raising about $15,000 a year in sponsorship. We worked with them on an inventory and assets, and some mentoring. Then they took the bull by the horns and went to market. We just provided tools. They provided the vision and the “get up and go.” Today, they generate about $150,000 a year in sponsorship. Not a bad jump! But they looked at where they were as a starting point, not a barrier or a limit—and they succeeded.
Look at where you are today in your own career or as an organization as the starting point. Then really get started and set the vision for where you want to go—then go there.
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