The takeaway from the IEG Sponsorship and Naming Rights Conference in March had to be the expression, “experience over eyeball”. This theme, that was so aptly articulated by IEG staff and their speakers referred at the time to, an interaction versus an impression. That is the ability to create a memorable interaction with constituents rather than depending on the undependable “logo” capturing constituents attention and moving them to action. “Would you be missed if you were not a sponsor,” left me thinking how most of our nonprofit event sponsors are certainly not missed or remembered after the event. And just think about the sponsorship dollars we are leaving on the table because it is easy for sponsors to walk away unnoticed. What if we worked at putting together unique sponsorship packages following a thorough understanding of our sponsors goals and concerns? What if we extended our relationships well beyond the ask, the day of the event and the receipt of the check? What if we asked our sponsors to partner with us in their marketing and PR efforts as related to their brand development and our mission? We research grants prior to proposal … how much time do we spend to research the business, the market trends,as well as the current and past sponsorships of our potential sponsors. The IEG conference made one thing clear to me … it’s up to the nonprofit to do extensive legwork prior to the sponsorship ask in order to garner the kinds of sponsorship funds they will need to grow their venues, attract larger audiences and extend their message reach. In the same fashion, it will be up to the nonprofit to cultivate and manage long-term sponsor relationships with an eye towards helping them achieve their marketing goals as well as supporting our mission. Lets give the sponsor, “experience over eyeball”.

By Robyn Fern Perlman