Sponsorship Revolution

Thought I had shared and talked about this before, New Sponsorship Revolution (Abby Clemence), if you’re in the charity sector and you haven’t read it, click now.

I’ve often said there are better ways that charity and business can “work” better together. With the right business connection, savings can be made, other income streams can be opened and more.

Read New Sponsorship Revolution now.

As usual your comments, thoughts or other are welcome.

Is there Competition in Sponsorships, Collaborations?

Something that I’ve been pondering (again) and something that was recently raised with me was the issue of whether you can have more than one sponsor for your organisation from the same “industry”?

I recall a few years ago when an organisation I was doing some work with had an approach from a professional service provider who wanted to get on board and help the organisation, but as there was already a sponsor from the same profession the CEO and Board were hesitant to accept the offer.

The company made several calls, sent numerous emails and eventually they were invited in for a meeting to further discuss what they wanted to offer; when it was suggested to them that their “competitor” was already a sponsor, all eyes lit up. Not the charity’s, but the reps from the business. They could see an opportunity, not selfishly, just an opportunity that could work toward something more favourable for the charity.

Eventually the company’s offer of support was accepted and they produced a great service offering to the charity and those who were benefiting from the work of the services provided by the charity – it was a win win.

A further win was when the two “competing” companies met at a black tie dinner and discussed how they could work together to further enhance the work of the charity.

They started working together to build on the work of the charity, they developed a new funding model and – they laid down a challenge to one another, an annual sports challenge between the two companies. This raised significant funds for the charity, raised morale within the two companies and created other opportunities.

So, to cut a long story short, don’t shut the door on an offer of support until you have sat and carefully looked at the offer from all angles. There’s more than likely positives to come from having “competition” in your sponsorship ranks.

Is your Sponsor the Right Fit?

When seeking sponsors from the business community, do you simply target all and sundry, or do you ensure those you’re considering are the right fit and appropriate to your cause?

Appropriate, as in alcohol and youth – isn’t a right fit, or fast food, aka KFC and health may not be an appropriate fit.

Sure, not all companies that offer to sponsor and organisation will want, or expect, their name up in lights; but the majority will want some form of recognition for the support they have given.

It’s this group that we should look at to ensure that they are the right fit; that they aren’t going to detract from the good work of the organisation; or leave a bad taste in the mouths of other supporters and, potentially the people the charity is aiming to assist.

There is a potential risk that one sponsor could cause the loss of other sponsors who may not wish to be seen to beside the other.

This is where a sponsorship plan and “rule book” is needed, and it should outline the types of business (and individuals) that an organisation will approach for support; what the sponsor may receive in return for their contribution and other facets of how sponsorship with be governed.

We see almost every school term children and their parents with boxes of chocolates trying to raise funds for school or extra-curricular activities. There has been discussion around this for some time; there’s pros and cons to this type of fundraising. And, yes the money these types of activities bring are greatly needed. But surely there’s a healthier way.

For example; recently Valerie Adams and Malcolm Rands of the ecostore featured in articles with a soap alternative to chocolate being used as school fundraisers; it seems a great way for fundraising without any health risks etc.

Yes, it is accepted that there will be occasions when an organisation will have no other alternative but to accept support from a company that perhaps could be seen as “inappropriate” – e.g. petrol companies, seen as being environmentally “bad”; but necessary for an organisation to reduce costs  by receiving free or cheap fuel.

But, where possible it’s important that there are no real or perceived negative connotations when accepting sponsorships. It’s important for your brand and, the sponsors brand that everything fits properly with any sponsorship type relationship.

See also:

Business partnering is a two way affair

What Drives Business Sponsorship?

Sponsorship – Answering the questions

Business Giving

Celebrity Endorsement

It seems this subject will keep coming up, the recent piece on the NZHerald website Famous faces don’t help charities – studies, raises this subject yet again.

In June 2012 I wrote Celebrities and Charity Endorsement, in it were figures from research – in summary;

A poll of 2,842 people found about half took no notice of the celebrity’s message and a further 14 per cent were put off it. A third said they became more aware of the problem or charity and a small number were motivated to support the cause or change their behaviour. 

The research, commissioned by the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University and the University of Guelph in Canada, found that 79 per cent of respondents had never been prompted to do anything for a good cause by a famous person’s message. Of the 21 per cent who had been motivated to act, 44 per cent had tried to learn more about the cause and 43 per cent had visited a website or clicked on a link. Read full report

In 2011 The Guardian ran Are celebrities a help or hindrance to charities?

In this interview piece the issue is well discussed and worth a read.

Peter Stanford is a journalist, and on the board of several charities

“Never say never but, in my experience, the fabled benefits of celebrity support have rarely lived up to the hype, because to achieve that dividend requires the sort of additional organisational muscle that is beyond the stretched resources of most small- and medium-sized charities. I have lost count of the number of charity chief executives and chairs who’ve told me that they pinned their hopes on a bumper payback because they had a famous face at a fund-raising event, or fronting a campaign, and then been disappointed. I believe they would have done better to concentrate their effort instead on fine-tuning the mechanics of the event, or honing their campaigning message so it genuinely touches a nerve with the public. We may live in the celebrity age but to imagine that a big name will automatically open wallets and hearts is to underestimate our potential supporters”.

Justin Forsyth is CEO of Save the Children

“In my experience, the benefits of celebrity are not fabled but real – and can produce very concrete results. Without the campaigning energies of BonoBob Geldof and Richard Curtis, for example, I don’t believe 46 million more children would be in school today in some of the world’s poorest countries. The combination of their creativity, tenacity and appeal transformed the Make Poverty History and Drop the Debt campaigns. I remember just before the Gleneagles G8 in 2005, Bono came into No 10, met with the key negotiators from each country, and after a stirring pitch, asked them how they will want to be seen by their grandchildren in years to come – as leaders who changed the world or who missed an historic opportunity.

“Of course the celebrity touch isn’t everything. Every charity – however big or small – needs to have a clear and convincing message about what it’s trying to achieve. But the support of an impassioned celebrity for that cause can help reach new audiences with that message”.

Full article here

In the piece on NZHerald.co.nz it was stated “Two pieces of research say “the ability of celebrity and advocacy to reach people is limited” and that celebrities are “generally ineffective” at encouraging people to care about foreign causes.

Two-thirds of people could not link any celebrity with a list of seven well-known charities and aid organisations, one paper found”.

And further “Our survey found that while awareness of major non-government organisations’ brands was high, awareness of celebrity advocates for those brands was low,” the professors wrote in their article, published in the International Journal of Cultural Studies.

“Instead it was plain from the focus groups that most people supported the charities because of personal connections in their lives and families which made these causes important.

“The evidence suggests that the ability of celebrity advocacy to reach people is limited.”

Read the full NZHerald article from the Independent here

So, are celebrities a benefit to charities – what do you think?