Getting What You Need

Getting What You Need

Our industry continues to grow and we are blessed with “newbies” joining the sponsorship sector at a rapid pace. I am watching the individual growth of so many women and men in our sector. Having been in the sponsorship marketing game for close to 35 years (man, I feel old—some folks reading this weren’t even born when I started!), I have had the joy and opportunity to mentor, watch, observe, advise, instruct, and support over the years. I have watched my peers (same age or close to it) escalate their careers or start their own agencies. It has been an incredible experience to be part of.

The biggest common denominator with all of these folks, though, has to be training and professional development. All have benefited. It may have been in-house training, being a member of SMCC (Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada), The Chamber, AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) or other professional member associations and attending their lunch-and-learns, networking evenings, awards galas, or other events. Or it may have been attending industry conferences like the WSC – Alberta Forum and similar events. Or it may have been online workshops, webinars, reading a book like Reality Check – Straight Talk about Sponsorship Marketing or the many other sponsorship books by authors like Kim Skildum-Reid and others. No matter how you look at it, training and professional development are critical to each of us as individuals and our personal growth, and to our newbies and their developmental needs.

Whether you are a veteran, newbie, or someone in-between, I encourage you to take advantage of our sector’s professional development opportunities. Here are some ideas for you to engage, experience professional development, and get what you need.

  • Become a mentor. I am a mentor with the SMCC ACTIVATE! program and have been for several years all the way back to when it began under Tyler Mazereeuw. I also am a mentor with AFP Vancouver Island and AFP Vancouver. I provide mentorship support to a secondary school and two post-secondary institutions as well as three people that I mentor “unofficially.” I learn from all of them at every meeting. It is an opportunity to share my experience and knowledge freely with others so they can learn and benefit, but also an opportunity to learn from them! If you have been in the sector for some time, find a way to become a mentor.
  • Attend an industry-focused conference. Coming up on its 17th consecutive year of providing top notch speakers, panels, and sessions is the Western Sponsorship Congress – WSC – Alberta Forum. In addition to leadership topics, there is a half-day workshop for newbies—Sponsorship 101 Bootcamp! Whether you are new to the sector or a senior manager with newbies reporting to you, consider this workshop and conference an opportunity for professional development. Beyond the content, there are networking and social opportunities. If you are a seasoned veteran or have a great industry story to tell, come tell it at this or any other event, and share that knowledge or insight. Feel free to reach out to me directly by email at Send Brent an Email  and I will get your suggestion into the right hands.
  • If you are not a member of AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) or the SMCC (Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada), sign up today. Both these organizations have professional development opportunities that are free or discounted for members as well as events, networking, and mentorship programs.
  • Become a mentor and share knowledge while you gain knowledge. This is what so many of us need to do. We can all be mentors inside and outside of formal programs!
  • Read a book on sponsorship marketing and then share it with others.

In order to be successful and develop in this sector as a newbie or someone who has been in the game for 2-6 years, professional development offered through networking, mentoring, member associations, conferences, and books by leaders in the industry will equip you with the tools and insights needed to continue growing and developing into a sector leader. For those who are already at the leadership level, there is just as much out there through these same channels for continued learning and to give back. Get what you need from our industry to make it even stronger.

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