Practice Makes Perfect: Using Practice Statements to Boost Revenue
Associations looking for corporate sponsorship should know that the move isn’t solely about increasing revenue — sponsorship also has to fit with the association’s mission while adding value to members. To back up real quick: Corporate sponsorship is considered as financial or in-kind financial support by a commercial interest that is given to an association or other nonprofit organization. “Sponsorship is distinguishable from a charitable contribution in that a corporate sponsor is typically motivated by a desire to receive a public acknowledgment in exchange for its support of an event or program on a single occasion or over a period of time,” according to Association Forum’s “Corporate Sponsorship” practice statement.
Who should associations target? In particular, companies might look to market their offerings if they: have new products; are repositioning mature products; are reaching out to new markets; or are undergoing mergers, spinoffs or reorganizations. According to the statement, “The key consideration is not the cost of a program nor the items and activities associated with it, but the value delivered to the organization’s members and other constituents, along with the visibility it provides to the sponsor.”
Naturally, these sponsorships have to work for both parties. To that end, associations should consider sponsors’ goals, which usually arise as new or expanded ways to interact with people who can purchase products or services, according to the practice statement. “Increasingly, sponsors are looking for focused meeting opportunities with industry leaders through their association partnerships as they develop business plans going forward.”
In general, the practice statement highlights the following tips to maximize sponsorship success:
- Deliver what is promised.
- Adjust to the sponsor’s needs.
- Seek out small companies that are looking for new opportunities to raise their profile.
- Keep sponsors informed.
- Be selective.
- Manage the relationship.
Lastly, when looking at a sponsorship to boost non-dues revenue, be sure to check for necessary rules and regulations set by your industry — many restrictions can apply. To dive deeper into agreements, legal compliance and more, visit associationforum.org/practice-statements and search for the “Corporate Sponsorship” practice statement for the full document.
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