Updated: Jun 26
Whether you're in the office the last couple days of the new year or thinking about 2023 as you plan your post holiday return, take this opportunity to get a head start on your corporate sponsorship, fundraising, or non dues revenue plans with these 3 essential to do's that will establish a solid foundation of success for 2023!
To Do #1: Express Gratitude: Call Your Existing Sponsors/Funders : It's usual for corporate supporters to receive letters or emails of gratitude from purpose driven organizations around Thanksgiving and the December holidays. However, making a phone call at year end or in early January is a welcomed surprise! Even if your contact is out of the office, returning to a message of gratitude via the spoken word will set you apart. If you are able to reach your contact by phone keep the conversation short and focus only on the message gratitude for their support and what it means to your organization. You can set the expectation that you'll contact them again soon to schedule time to meet and discuss the year but just wanted this call to be a message of thanks. Also, if your CEO/President/Executive Director is able to make some of these phone calls to your largest corporate supporters that goes a long way!
To Do #2: Set Up Google Alerts for Automatic Prospecting & Research: Are there companies you've had an interest in speaking with about corporate support for your organization but just haven't gotten around to the research? Are there industries that you think make sense as a target area for your organization's corporate sponsorship focus? Are there topics you'd like to learn more about that your sponsors care about? Interested in researching a decision maker you're meeting with for a big non dues revenue idea for your association? Google Alerts are perfect for all of the above and more. Just Google "Set Up Google Alerts" and Google will provide instructions to enter your areas of interest. Google will then automatically send you relevant articles and news around these specific topics, people, companies, etc. Also, if you're interested in multiple Google Alert topics, it's a good idea to create another email address for the sole purpose of Google Alert emails as you'll receive a plethora of information. With Google Alerts there's no reason to feel stuck in getting started. Google has done the sourcing work, you just need to find what resonates with you and your organization within the content.
To Do #3: Stay Away from FOMO: Your Organization has its Own Journey: Starting with the positive, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) can be a good thing. You learn best practices from other organizations, read inspiring sponsorship case studies, and keep up with the latest in what corporate sponsors and funders have an interest in supporting. However, FOMO turns counterproductive when it makes you or your organization feel inferior as opposed to inspired. At its worst, FOMO can paralyze you from doing anything because you don't want to do something that others might perceive as incorrect. For example, you're at a conference and you meet Sandra, another corporate sponsorship professional of a similar sized purpose driven organization as yours. She mentions that she makes 25 new outbound calls/emails each day to potential sponsors and spends a minimum 5 hours a week on new prospect research. You on the other hand just took on the corporate sponsorship role for your organization. As this is a new area of focus for your organization, you agreed with your President to focus on a small number of prospects that you'd research and nurture. This strategy felt good until you met Sandra. Now you're not sure what to do. This is how FOMO can derail a good strategy. The truth is, organizations and their leaders are unique. What works for some may not work for others. Just because another professional or organization does it doesn't mean you should. Spend time with your executive team to build a corporate support and outreach strategy that works for your organization and best represents its mission and values. Most importantly, stick to your plan no matter what the neighbors are doing.
Lori Zoss Kraska, MBA, CFRE is the founder/Chief Principal of Growth Owl, LLC and author of The Boardroom Playbook: A Not So Ordinary Guide to Corporate Funding for Your Purpose Driven Organization. More information at https://thegrowthowl.com