Is Sponsorship Part of Your Funding Program? The Need for Integration

In a recent edition of Canadian Fundraiser and Philanthropy, Publisher Janet Gadeski presented a great article on demographics. She clearly identified and noted what was found in the HLC New Media research: that traditional donors are not so traditional anymore.

The study revealed that donors are giving through non-traditional means. Fifty-eight percent of donors gave through retail solicitation programs where they were asked by a clerk if they would like to donate to the cause associated with (and sponsored by) the retail chain. Only 32% gave online and 27% through traditional direct-mail.

In all age groups tested, the respondents noted that their first contact with a charity (awareness level, recognition, etc.) came through traditional media such as newspapers, TV or radio. Digital media (in our age of technology) was not the first touch point. The second most common channel of information for boomers was traditional mail. The younger generations learned from friends, peers and family, some by speaking and others through social media. The outcome was that multiple methods of contact are essential.

This is what sponsorship is all about.

Sponsorship is an integrated marketing system that uses multiple media to deliver results. For instance, the sponsorship by Safeway (or any grocery chain) of breast cancer allows them the right to use the property’s brand and pink ribbon. They promote during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. They buy TV and radio to promote their association with the cause and drive traffic to their stores. They have cashiers ask for donations, they receive money from suppliers to “pink their products” and provide premium shelf space. They run ads in flyers. They stage healthy eating demonstrations and possibly emotional events tied to breast cancer. They link these back through Twitter and FaceBook with a daily blog for the 31 days of October. Yes, they use traditional media that are integrated into the sponsorship along with new media and opportunities. It is about touch points and case lot sales.

So next time you think of charity, giving, and corporate brand development or sales – think sponsorship. The myth that digital media is the be-all and end-all, and that traditional media is dead, is wrong. The belief that sponsorship is an un-measurable medium that builds brand alone is equally wrong. The myths are erroneous. The reality is that sponsorship can help raise money for charities, build corporate brand, sell product, sell tickets and bring bottom line profits to organizations that need money as well as, if not better than, any stand-alone medium or approach. An integrated program will deliver far better results than a silo program stuck in the belief that there is only one paved road to success.

What part does Sponsorship play in your organization? Please share your experiences, successes and failures below.

Thank you for reading. These are just one person’s thoughts. Do you think there is a need for integration?

by Brent Barootes



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