Emily Goldberg ‘Sponsorship Insights Group’ on LinkedIn, asked: “What are the biggest mistakes that people make when approaching sponsors for sponsorship?”

Here are some great responses to Emily’s question, including mine.

  • Roberta Vigilance

Event Sponsorship Author & Consultant

Hi Emily, congratulations on your new position. I found that the biggest mistakes sponsorship seekers make when approaching sponsors is not having a full understanding of what sponsorship is and how it works. As you know, this lack of knowledge can turn sponsors off quickly. I focus on teaching individuals around the globe the fundamentals of sponsorship so they can secure sponsors successfully. You can visit me online. Thanks for asking, it’s a very good question.

  • Matt Slater

Head of Business Development and Corporate Sponsorships at Partnership for a Healthier America

One of the biggest mistakes is not doing your homework before making the ask. If a company is not at all a fit with your property its very unlikely that you will get any interest. On the other hand, if the right due diligence is done and you can demonstrate why the assets you offer fit their needs well it will set you on the right path.

  • Terri OBrien

Partner & Chief Engagement Officer

Not listening to a potential sponsors marketing goal and talking about the goals of the organization

  • Bernie Colterman

Managing Partner at Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing

I agree with all of the above. Another major mistake is not having a good reason for contacting a potential sponsor in the first place. The first time you make a new contact, you need to establish credibility quickly and they need to feel that they are not just another “name on the list”. You need to be able to fill in the blanks on this statement: Hello, my name is ___. I’m from ___. The reason I’m calling is ___ (and it better be a great reason)
Hope this helps.

  • Darrell Louie

Corporate Development Consultant

This seems like such an obvious question, but it is so easy to go sideways when approaching a sponsor. As many have said, probably most key is not doing your homework/research: Why are you approaching this sponsor? Do your missions/goals match? What can you offer to help the potential sponsor meet their community and/or business objectives? Are these marketing (more fungible) dollars or foundation (restricted) dollars? Can your organization execute sponsorship/partnership programming that you are promising the client? These are just a few of the key questions one might want to answer before approaching a sponsor.

  • Enovia Bedford

Visual Marketing Account Executive at Project Group LLC

I’m on both ends of pitching and receiving pitches, A lot of pitches that I receive it’s unclear why I would sponsor the event. People who don’t know the sponsorship world think that sponsors hand out things just to give away free product and to cut checks and aren’t aware that sponsorship is about what the company is getting in return for sponsoring. Also everyone thinks that their event or tour is the best for the company and it should never be approach that way.

  • Greg Bloom

CEO, Bloom Connections – Infinite Brand Engagement

Brand Empathy is paramount. Put yourself in a potential sponsor’s shoes and be prepared to offer and execute to the level you would expect for yourself. Not giving plenty of lead time and not clearly or truthfully defining your audience and reach are common mistakes. We represent over 120 events and initiatives annually between our 15 event group and initiative partners and have to define, illustrate and share opportunities months and months, even a year or two in advance. Offering such a variety of content and audiences gives us a bit of an edge as we have something for almost any category of sponsor. We’ve made mistakes over the years, learned form them and evolved, and we’ve been able to execute more seamlessly across industries and with all of our group partners.

  • Chris Riedel King

Experienced sponsorship manager, marketer, communicator

The top mistakes I see time and again:
1. Approaching only the biggest employers in town and expecting that they should sponsor your event/program because they are large.
2. Approaching all potential sponsors with the same pitch, the same package — not doing any homework to take into account that sponsors business objectives and goals/guidelines when it comes to sponsorship.
3. Cutting and pasting into a sponsorship ask and not doing a thorough job of it. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve received something to Prudential, when I represent The Principal.
4. Misspelling my company’s name wrong. It’s pretty easy to look up.
5. Arguing with me about whether or not the sponsorship is a fit for my organization. I think I know better if it’s a fit or not.

Roberta Vigilance brings event sponsorship awareness to communities that are seeking funding for events and teaches how to secure sponsors. She is the author of How To Secure Sponsors Successfully.

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