Yes you need a sponsorship policy in place! Every municipality does. Whether you are doing full-scale building naming rights deals or just soliciting sponsorship for your Canada Day event, professionally developed sponsorship marketing policy is essential. Too many municipalities (large and small) we run across have no such policy in place. They may have an antiquated policy or one that looks at supplier agreements or philanthropic giving, but not sponsorship marketing and/or naming rights policy.
Over the years we have witnessed countless situations where a lack of sponsorship policy has come to hurt the municipality or a specific department like parks and recreation or culture and also sponsors. The situations where a convicted child molester named a kids park because there was no policy saying he couldn’t; there is the scenario where the sponsor came to be an untrusted brand but still named the building in a community; or the situation where an agreement was signed by a sponsorship officer for a municipality, but council overturned the agreement because they felt it was not good for the community but had no authority to do so.
A well-constructed, thought out sponsorship policy will cover all the bases. It will demonstrate who can be a partner and who cannot. It will ensure that the adult store in your community (that pays taxes and will want to know why it cannot sponsor something unless you have policy in place to back you up) cannot be associated to a child focused event or community playground. It will make sure that tobacco or alcohol opportunities don’t cloud judgement if they become available. The policy is there to set the standards that you can stand beside. They also ensure that the seller, your sponsorship account manager knows the game rules before they hit the streets.
But it also outlines situations like asset availability, who can sign to what investment level on behalf of the organization; what assets are available at what investment levels; who reports to whom and even where the funding (dollars) go when they are received by the organization, to a department or the overall bottom line? At what investment level does council get involved… $1M, $250,000, $50,000, $5,000 or $500?
Whether you build the policy yourself and have a sponsorship marketing agency like the Partnership Group – Sponsorship Specialists™ review it for you or even have them build it for you, be sure you are protected. Have a sponsorship marketing policy in place.
I welcome your feedback on policy successes and horror stories as well as any great policy tips you can share. Please add your thoughts or comments below. Thank you for reading and your feedback.