How to move away from sponsorships?
February 29, 2012 12:04 PM   Subscribe

Our company receives numerous requests for sponsorships mainly from non profits. Since funds are tight and other projects are taking priority, we're looking to move away from further sponsorships, but need justification. Is there a way to measure efficacy of past sponsorships? Any reading on how to measure retroactively? Please keep in mind, past sponsorships have rarely been tracked. Does anyone have experience in this particular type of situation?
posted by paulinsanjuan to Work & Money (9 answers total)
Who do y need to convince?
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 12:14 PM on February 29, 2012

Response by poster: Who do y need to convince?

There are associates that disagree on moving away from sponsorships. Additionally, they'll need some talking points / research when explaining why we're not supporting that charity.
posted by paulinsanjuan at 12:19 PM on February 29, 2012

Would it be possible to narrow down the scope of who you sponsor? Something like "we give priority to educational and community development organizations" or whatever?
posted by radioamy at 12:25 PM on February 29, 2012

funds are tight and other projects are taking priority

Sounds to me like sufficient justification.

Given that it's not possible to measure retroactively, maybe it's time to engage proactively by deciding what dollar amount of support your company can afford, what kind of non-profits (or, more to the point, the causes they represent) are most consistent with your company's philosophy, and (last but certainly not least) where you get the most bang for your buck in terms of enhanced profile in the eyes of your customers.

If you already have a PR firm, or ad agency, check with them for more advice. If you don't have one, there are doubtless hundreds of consultancies who could take you through the process of more productively targeting your sponsorships.
posted by John Borrowman at 12:41 PM on February 29, 2012

Response by poster: Does anyone have documents, data charts, flow charts, etc. of this process of refining and measuring ROI on sponsorships?

@radioamy, @John

I like the idea of narrowing the type of non profits.
posted by paulinsanjuan at 1:11 PM on February 29, 2012

In regards to convincing other associates that you need to move away from sponorships, your own internal data should be enough to make this argument. Create a straightforward presentation that shows that the current sponorship spending will impact or at least cause risk to your current projects.

If you follow radioamy's advice of narrowing the scope, this should make it easier to get the other associates on board. Your not stopping sponorship altogether, just scaling back. This leaves room to save any sponorships that your company feels particularly passionate about.

In regards to speaking to the non profits, I would stick to your own wording with something along the lines of, "Unfortunately funds are tight and our own projects need to take priority right now. We're sorry that we can't support you at this time." Repeat as needed.
posted by Nightman at 1:19 PM on February 29, 2012

I run a small charity. I think you need to consider letting other people calculate your ROI for you. There are numerous charity rating sites that can give you a good measure of a charity's fiscal health /ability to manage funds. But just as important, you want to know, are their programs making a difference? I suggest visiting GiveWell, a charity research website that has some really good tips on how to ensure that your dollars are being used in an effective way.

(unfortunately, small charities like mine are not usually rated by such websites, and yet we have the passionate volunteers and lack of overhead that can help your dollar go much farther. Consider still sponsoring some small charities as well as the larger ones.)
posted by treehorn+bunny at 5:33 PM on February 29, 2012

I wouldn't say funds are tight when responding/declining as it makes your organization sound less than successful. Instead rephrase to something like this, "Like all businesses, we have a limited budget for charitable giving and sponsorships. We regret that we cannot provide a sponsorship at this time."

Note also that I took the "you" out of it to make the decline less personal. No further explanation is needed. You have made a business decision that does not need justification to anyone outside the business. I'm in the process of learning to do this for my small business that gets inundated with a flood of donation requests. It takes practice to say no.

Bonus tip: we now automatically trash and don't even respond to anyone who merely submits an email, voicemail, or mailed request for donation or sponsorship. Those minimal efforts on their part don't meet the threshold of consideration on our part. You have to draw the line somewhere.
posted by webhund at 7:46 PM on February 29, 2012

I think depends somewhat on what you perceive yourselves as investing in... is it marketing or the health & well being of your customers? Or is it relationship building with others in your industry (where associates buy sponsorships to their clients org'n and sell them for org'n they support). In the first two cases, you can get some info directly from your past recipients. In the 3rd case, your associates might have a rationale of why they see the merit of sponsoring things.

I'm usually on the asking side, instead of the giving side, and we certainly talk about the impact of grant, sponsorship or donation money both in terms of the work and the prominence of the sponsor. (eyeballs, logos, participants, etc)

As a volunteer fundraiser, I would certainly not be surprised if an organization told me that ther was less/no support available this year or that they were focusing on a specific area. I would want to know what area & if it was a permanent change, but it would be understandable.

No sources today. Sorry.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 8:20 AM on March 2, 2012

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