Are you appreciated? It doesn’t matter whether we are a property or a brand, a child or a grandparent, a coach or a player, a fundraiser or a donor, a husband or a wife—everyone needs and wants to be appreciated. Even those who say, “Oh, I don’t need any recognition.” What are you doing to recognize and appreciate your partner?
Appreciation doesn’t have to be extravagant. It can be a short note by snail mail or even email. It can be a phone call. Maybe it is an idea or concept. Perhaps you saw an opportunity for your partner and their business, and passed it along. It means you are thinking of them and appreciate them. People recognize that. Recently, I received a note from an alma mater. They reached out to me and said I needed to update my information and annual giving details in their new software system. So, I did. I make an annual gift—just a few hundred dollars, but I have done it each year for about 6 years since I graduated. I tick the box (as I always do with school donations and most others) making it anonymous, which is my preference for personal gifts. About an hour later, I got a note from the school thanking me for updating the new online system and for the donation. It went on to say, “Hey, you have been giving consecutively for 34 years. Are you sure you want to be anonymous?’ They were thinking I may have tagged the wrong button. I said, “Still anonymous,” but I appreciate that they cared enough to check. They reached out to ensure what I had done was what I really wanted. Feeling appreciated like that is important!
Here is sponsorship example. We have been a sponsor for the annual FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities) for eight or more years. Initially, we were a pretty big sponsor—not top tier, but up there. It was a large percentage of our overall cash sponsorship marketing budget and it delivered results. We have our tracking and ROI measurement in place. It was a good investment and the metrics showed it. We were treated really well. Caroline Vanasse was our account manager. She was amazing. She knew her product inside and out and was able to assist us in maximizing the ROI on our investment. She was the posterchild for great sponsorship sales and service delivery. Over time, at the end of one of our three-year agreements, the price of what we had been doing increased. We were acquiring a pretty unique asset, and it was limited and in high demand. Therefore, its value increased. It was out of our price range. At the same time, we had built a pretty strong presence and profile at FCM. So we cut back on our investment. We invested and are investing about half of what we used to. Caroline worked with us to make it effective and deliver positive ROI. It has been great. I expected to see the level of service drop off a little. We were much lower in the hierarchy of the sponsor grid. You cannot service everyone at the same level as your top tiers. But the level of service did not fall off. I felt (though it may not be reality, what I felt is what’s important) that we were still being treated and serviced at a high level partner status even though our investment was much lower. I truly did, and still do, feel appreciated.
As time went on, Carole moved up the ladder within the organization to Director, Private Sector Partnership Development Corporate Events and Partnership—Corporate Services and has since moved on. As a result of her promotion, I was passed off to the new rep. Don’t we all hate that? But again, this was seamless. Caroline worked alongside my new FCM person Nadia Mckenzie and then slowly, over a year or so, stopped attending meetings as Nadia was managing them alone with me. It was truly seamless and unnoticed. But when you get a new rep, it isn’t always the same. Will she or he really understand our relationship with the organization? They will never be as close as our last rep. Now I have to “train” this new rep about us. We all have had those thoughts and experiences. In this case, that did not happen. Nadia has been amazing. The level of service, ideation, and managing of our needs through COVID have been amazing. I truly feel that we are treated like a top tier sponsor. We probably are not, but I feel as though we are. And that’s what matters. I feel appreciated.
Here is the simple take-away. Make your partners feel appreciated. Take care of them just like Nadia does to me and Caroline before her!
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