School is Back In… Learning Abounds

Every year at this time, we feel that we are settled back into routine. The summer is over, the kids are back in school, and all those holidays we had to cover for (and catch-up we had to do when we returned from holidays) are complete. As the kids return to school, it is time to think about our own professional development.

As a sponsorship agency that works with our clients on both the brand and property sides to build internal capacity in their sponsorship programs, all of us at the Partnership Group – Sponsorship Specialists™ believe in ongoing professional development. Our industry is changing so rapidly. We need to stay on top of all that is happening.

The CSFX was a tremendous experience this summer, but there is still more great learning and networking to do. In October, November, and December, there are SMCC (Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada) chapter meetings and breakfast forums in Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. As a member of the SMCC, these are free to attend in some markets (exclusive to SMCC members only). They are amazing networking and learning sessions that are brief and to the point. I will be presenting on Thursday, November 20 at 7:00 a.m. at the Scotiabank Saddledome (hosted by the Calgary Flames and Calgary Sports and Entertainment Group). This will be an overview of the proprietary 2014 Consumer Sponsorship Rankings. The session will also show the trending on what consumers are truly thinking about both the brands that buy sponsorship and the properties that sell them.

In October, there is the SMCC Western Sponsorship Congress™ that is almost sold out. With over 35 presenters and more than 275 registered delegates, this is Canada’s largest sponsorship professional development and networking conference-with keynote speakers such as Justine Fedak from BMO Bank of Montreal and  Jackie Fast from Slingshot Sponsorship in London, England, and breakout workshops from Dan Alvo, head of marketing at Wrigley Canada, Sarah Miele from the CNE, and Jessica Luc from VanCity Credit Union discussing their approaches to corporate sponsorship. In addition to the keynote speakers and over 24 breakout sessions, there are two terrific panel discussions, including the 9th Annual 5 Minute Pitch™, which is a highlight of the two-day conference. Also new this year is the PitchFest™ where rights holders get 15 minutes face to face in private with brands to pitch them. This is an incredible opportunity for any property to access so many different brands with which they may never get an initial face-to-face meeting.

The day before the SMCC Western Sponsorship Congress™, the Partnership Group – Sponsorship Specialists™ is hosting four unique and one-of-a-kind half-day professional development  workshops ™. Come learn about how your municipality can get started in the sponsorship game and what you need to do to begin. Or learn how to manage relationships in sponsorship and in life. Also, there is a half-day session on sponsorship prospecting, getting meetings, and proposal development, as well as one that focuses on understanding, from a brand perspective, how philanthropy and sponsorship can be linked for success.

There are also smaller regional conferences such as the Atlantic Sponsorship Forum, Sponsorship Toronto™, and specific industry sectors such as AFP, FCM, ARPA, AAAS, UBCM, CCA, and others that offer sponsorship training at their conferences and programs. All of these offer good value, professional development, and networking.

In my opinion, there is no reason why anyone in our industry, whether a veteran or a newbie, should not attend 3-4 professional development events a year. Such training and development is critical to personal growth and professional development as well as for your organizations.

These are just one person’s thoughts. Yours are welcomed as well. Please add your thoughts or comments below. Thank you for reading and your feedback.

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