Special Events without Sponsors? – No Way!

I’ve written a lot about sponsorships. Sponsorships are about building effective partnerships that enhance both an organization’s mission and the sponsoring company’s business goals. They are fundamental to your organization’s survival.

Special events are the main key to acquiring corporate sponsorships. And, they lead to other sponsorship opportunities beyond events, such as long-term strategic alliances, and cause-related marketing.

Marketers learned that programs that combine loyalty with value equal profits. Your relationships with your clients, volunteers and community provide that loyalty and help ensure the audience that your corporate partners want. While many marketing verticals are flat, sponsorships continue to grow and provide positive results.

Pat Kahnert, PBK & Associates Inc., is a Marketing Public Relations Effectiveness Consultant. He is committed to ‘Helping Business Leaders and Their Teams Build Better Communities’. Pat’s excellent checklist for designing sponsorships with confidence is a great tool when venturing into sponsorships:

Objectives –

  1. I know how to help sponsors connect with community through our event.
  2. I focus on desired outcomes and event audience needs and benefits.
  3. I ask key influencers to help me reach the right business contacts.
  4. I have done extensive research to determine preferences of sponsors.
  5. I have a personal contact plan in place for getting to know a prospect.
  6. I will focus first on friend raising and then embark on fund raising.
  7. I have allowed ample time for establishing a strong strategic”fit” with a sponsor.
  8. I understand my prospect’s business goals and primary audiences.
  9. All sponsorship partners are clear about objectives, roles and expectations.
  10. The contract has been signed with plenty of time to deliver on all promises made.

Implementation –

  1. We have developed a customer-centric sponsorship policy with our sponsor’s input.
  2. We have developed an integrated project map process to fulfill all obligations.
  3. My sponsor has agreed to serve on our event organizing committee.
  4. We have organized advisory councils (volunteers, sponsor employees, community)
  5. We have secured media sponsors to help raise profile and promotion.
  6. Sponsor logo recognition was approved and applied to our sponsors’ satisfaction.
  7. We follow a clearly defined risk management policy, with back-ups to everything.
  8. We proactively look for ways to leverage sponsor’s name and association.
  9. We stress professionalism, and give sponsors regular updates against plan.
  10. We facilitate personal introductions of sponsors to others involved.

Measurement –

  1. We measured what matters most to sponsors and their key stakeholders.
  2. We explained to our event audience what our sponsor’s role meant to their enjoyment.
  3. We often asked sponsors if they were pleased with value received so far.
  4. We thanked the sponsor publicly and one-to-one for making a difference for our event.
  5. We produced a summary of benefits (media, audience, logo recognition, value-added)
  6. We optimized promotional investment and publicity effort, keeping within budget.
  7. We appreciated the value of our sponsor’s total contribution (money, time and more).
  8. We shared feedback from audience, volunteers, employees and customers.
  9. We celebrated success and recognized important personal and team contributions.
  10. Our sponsor is delighted with results generated and will return next year.


If you have any questions, please contact me at deborah@creative-si.com. I’ll gladly share my Timeline for Sponsorship Efforts with you.

Building Your Special Event around an Awards Program

2010 DeKalb Public Safety Champion Awards

“Who is your Pubic Safety Champion?”

The DeKalb Police Alliance was trying to find a way to increase awareness and funding through their upcoming special event. They knew they needed that something special to tell their story and brand their event.

The 2010 DeKalb Public Safety Champion Awards filled the bill! The awards competition became the story, increasing interest in the organization and the upcoming Police Officers Ball. And, it became the linchpin that pulled together all the elements of the event.

The awards honored men and women in public safety and the community who went above and beyond the call of duty to keep everyone safe. An eye-catching nomination form highlighting the Champion Award statuette was key to all promotional activities, including presentations, press releases, social media initiatives and articles. An on-line nomination form gained the most nominations. All people and organizations nominated were recognized as Champion Honorees; the winners were recognized and saluted at the event.

Here are some hints on how you can create an awards program to better tell your story:

  1. Brainstorm – Invite board members and stakeholders to the table. Explore what type of awards program works best with your mission. With the police alliance it made sense to honor people committed to public safety. Look in your arena for best fits.
  2. Make sure you have buy-in from your board– This is key to your success.
  3. Check the Calendar – make sure no other organization is having a similar awards program around the same time as yours.
  4. Be creative and consistent with your messaging and graphic design – Be sure that you take full advantage of the program’s potential by weaving powerful messages and graphics throughout your event.
  5. Find an awards sponsor – Write your proposal to show the awards program benefits to sponsors.
  6. Publicize, publicize, publicize – Create a dynamic program using traditional and social media. Benchmark your successes and analyze responses to see what segment of your market you’re missing.
  7. Use the event wrap-up to position next year’s award program. Start building anticipation. Invite this year’s winners to reach out into their communities to nominate.

Your awards program will unearth many meaningful stories and help ensure your success. If you want guidelines for event management and sponsorships, please contact me directly – deborah@creative-si.com.