We love our sponsors!

9 Aug


Reading this article by the Sponsorship Strategist, about Olympic sponsorship made me think about how walkathons may rely too heavily on corporate sponsorship to meet their financial event goal.


Event sponsorship is a necessary evil of most walkathons.  For some start-ups, sponsorship dollars may be upwards up 50% of the event income.  This can be scary if the sponsor(s) decide not to return.  I have tons to say about sponsorship but will try to keep this focused for today.

For walkathons, event sponsorship should be limited to a small group of companies that would like to partner with your organization to further your mission.  This limited number will allow you to keep it exclusive and manageable for the staff that is tasked to cultivate the relationship.  The more sponsors you have, the more staff you need to manage them.  Your sponsors need constant hand-holding.  If they feel under-appreciated, they will break-up with you.  Just like most old-fashioned relationships.

Many mature events that slide backwards, either with donations or participation, tend to use sponsor dollars to make-up lost revenue.
They do this by selling-off the naming rights for anything and everything: Water stops, mileage checkpoints, snack stops, toe-trucks, rtc..

Having so many sponsors and levels (gold, silver, bronze etc..) dilutes the exclusivity of a sponsorship program.

Sponsorship can be subject to a flavor of the month syndrome and may not be guaranteed from year to year.  If you care for your walkers that care for your cause, then they will be back.

Walkathons need participants to bring donations to the event. You need guests to have a party, and walkers to have a walkathon.

Focused energy on finding walkers that share your mission will outlast the relationship you have with your sponsors, and will result in a longer-lasting constituent relationship with your organization.

The following logos belong to the sponsors of the London 2012 Olympics.   See the levels here.  I wonder how many people are on payroll to manage these relationships.



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