Non-Profit Event Sponsorship Tips

I was participating in a recent League of American Orchestras roundtable when the question was asked “How do you secure sponsorship for smaller, non-signature events?”. The biggest hurdle seemed to be businesses approaching these request “only as a marketing opportunity”.

As a marketing director who handles non-profit donation and sponsorship request, I offered up this advice for making your event attractive for sponsorship:

  • Be prepared and professional. This is after all a business transaction. Do not pitch to my emotions but my business sense.
  • Have an offer. Do NOT present “whatever you want to do”. This makes me nervous. Marketing people are used to a defined relationship. We pay for ads or commercials and get a defined amount of space or time. Your approach should be the same. You can have options such as package A or B, but these should be spelled out.
  • Marketing is based on customer demographics. Tell me who is coming to your event. Also, tell me who is on your committee, supporting your organization and on your board. Give me the average age, income level and what they do for a living. If your audience is my target market, I will sponsor the event. The more information you have, the more interested I will be.
  • Provide me with event information, logos and marketing materials. I probably will provide additional promotion of your event for free.
  • My company has rules about how our logo can and cannot be used. If you make it clear that you understand this and will play by these rules, you are much more likely to get a yes from me. Ask for our style guide and you will win bonus points.
  • Most sponsorships include event tickets, but don’t stop there. Add perks that don’t cost you anything like reserved seating or a chance to meet with other sponsors and large donors. As a business leader, these are the people I am interested in meeting.
  • If I say no to a sponsorship or cash donation, do not hesitate to ask for in-kind support. Also, ask for referrals to other marketing directors and business owners who might be interested.
  • Be flexible. I might choose one of your sponsorship packages BUT have some additions or subtractions. Be open to suggestions which might open a new avenue of marketing you had not considered. If these suggestions are not good for your organization or cost extra money you cannot afford to spend, it’s OK to say no. Just give me a good reason why.
  • Do NOT promise something you cannot or will not deliver on. I will call you out on it and be very upset at not getting what I expected. I will tell other marketing professionals about my experience.
  • Tell me when and where the public will see the event marketing with my company name and/or logo on it. This includes invitations, brochures, e-mails, your website and social media, event signage, tickets, promotional items, gifts or goodie bags, speaker mentions and presentations during the event or any other associated items. Tell me how long this information will stay on your website or printed materials after the event has past.
  • Plan a public Thank You for your sponsors after the event is done. Make sure I know this is part of your marketing plan.
  • Send a follow-up item to our offices with your logo on it as a Thank You. All of my clients and employees will see it on a regular basis. This can be as elaborate as a trophy or plaque to as simple as a hand written note on letterhead.
  • Do not take a no as never. Ask again in the future, unless I very directly tell you not to. Sometime it’s just about timing.
  • Add me to your marketing list (email blast, mail, newsletter, etc…) it will make next year’s pitch even easier. Do this if we sponsor your event or not.
  • Remind me a portion of the sponsorship is tax deductible. Send me a tax letter with my thank you gift. Do not make me ask for it.

In the end, if you have a professional pitch, well developed with demographics and marketing opportunities spelled out, I will be interested in sponsoring your event. If I think you are easy to work with, will protect my brand and do what I expect of you then I am very likely to sponsor your event. Good luck!

Winning Awards is Nice But….

There’s something you don’t hear everyday: Winning awards is nice but…. did our work help the client reach their goals?

When you are working with a company like The Golding Group, the ultimate goal is create a Win-Win situation where we create smart, impacting work (that sometimes wins awards from our peers) -AND- reach your goals with a singular plan of action. That is exactly the case when The Golding Group partnered with the Mental Health Association of Central Oklahoma (MHACO) for a re-branding and awareness campaign that is now receiving many accolades from the marketing/advertising community.

At the ultimate direction of Golding Group partner and non-profit rock star Cher Golding, we began a complete campaign aimed at erasing over 10 years of communications inactivity, the stigma associated with mental health issues and a variety of other core issues. We asked those who participated in MHACO programs what the #1 problem was in communicating to the target audience of over 380,000 Oklahomans living with mental health issues. 

The mental health system is extremely difficult to navigate, and access to care depends on one’s insurance coverage or ability to pay for services. Connecting with the best program that meets ones needs is crucial for success. Those in need of services claimed they did not know where to start (not enough information) or were overwhelmed by conflicting and contradictory sources (too much information). Our campaign addressed both issues at the same time.

By creating a clear message based on the needs of the target audience, delivering that message in a timely and cost effective way by incorporating marketing, advertising, strategy and public relations, The Golding Group was able to create a 524% increase in exposure, 149% increase in clients and almost 850,000 impressions in the community in one year. All this was done on time and under budget for a huge return on investment (ROI).

The most crucial part of the campaign was not the OKC AD Club ADDY Award winning creative (which was really good) but the American Marketing Association Marketini Award winning (twice) outcome measurements and strategic plan validation. The key to highly effective (thus award wining) marketing is in the planning and measurements. This is where campaign go from good-to-great by testing market reaction and adjusting accordingly. 

This campaign did exactly what the client needed it to do and now happens to be winning awards and creating new opportunities for The Golding Group. That is what we would call a Win-Win scenario. If your ready to create a mutually beneficial partnership, contact us for a conversation about what The Golding Group can do for you business or non-profit organization.

Marketing Lessons From Last Week’s Episode of Mad Men

ImageAs you might expect, we’re big fans of the AMC show Mad Men here at The Golding Group. We just love the romantic idea of creative professionals getting in a room together and pulling genius ideas out of thin air. Of course that’s not how the “real” world works, but it’s fun to watch. Even if it’s fiction, we did notice some real lessons all business leaders could learn from this season’s 2nd episode. 

1. Keep real business goals in mind, leave your personal stuff a home
Don Draper (the main character) is working on a new campaign for Heinz Baked Beans. The client wants the Rolling Stones to record a jingle for them because his teenage daughter is their biggest fan. Don knows it’s a bad idea, but tries to make it work. In the end, he realizes the Stones are not what sells beans and has to find a way to convince his client.
2. Be a team leader, not a glory hound
Another story line involves a bright, upcoming junior partner Pete struggling for respect from a rather stagnant senior partner Roger. Long story short, the young gun is bringing in all the best business, making him highly valuable to the struggling firm. Pete has secured an airline account (a big deal) and is leveraging his success against Roger. 
Here comes Pete’s big mistake. He uses the announcement to the staff of the airline account as a way to put Roger down, missing a chance to build the entire team up. His ego and personal politics are in the way of what’s best for the company. Pete’s action cost him respect from some of the senior partners.
Bonus mistake: Roger no longer wants to hire the best young talent, because he fears everyone new is after his job. The firm will now miss out on opportunities to build the best team possible due to Roger having insecurities.
Of course, the Mad Men ad agency Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce does it right more often than wrong. Don is the best at what he does because he gets to know his clients real strengths and weaknesses, finds a way to tell their story and always keeps the big picture in mind when working on individual pieces. Don is a strategic thinker long before the term came into vogue, and that’s why we love his style so much.

2012 ADDY Award Winners for The Golding Group

UPDATE: The MHACO Video has been awarded a bronze ADDY Award from the District 10 judging. This competition includes advertisers from Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma.

The Golding Group adds two new awards from the Oklahoma City Advertising Club with ADDY wins for projects we worked on with one of our favorite non-profit clients Mental Health Association of Central Oklahoma (MHACO).

The Silver winner is a :30 sec. TV commercial conceptualized and directed by Kyle/Cher and produced by Midwest Media. The spot tackles the two most common problems the clients of MHACO have when needing support or information about mental health services: not knowing where to look -or- too many sources to know which is best for them

The Bronze winner is a direct marketing specialty (promotional) item conceptualized by Cher Golding, designed by Kyle Golding and produced by Robyn Promotions. It is a rubber “gripper” for the back of a cell phone to keep it from sliding off your dash or desk. The gripper os in the shape and color of the Mental Health ribbon and has the MHACO web address and national suicide hotline phone number on it. By keeping this information actually on the back of the phone, those in need of services can call or click for immediate help. The gripper card can be mailed or handed out at events.

We are proud to be recognized for our creative work on these two project, but even more proud to create highly functioning tools for a great OKC non-profit organization. Both awards were the highest awarded for the category (no Golds were given).

Improve Your Marketing with Response Tracking

You did your research, created a target market profile and know what makes your product/service better than the competition. Now you have to deliver that message. A consistent message over multiple channels works best, but which should you use? How do you prove your marketing worked? Can you justify cost to your client/boss? The answer is tracking.

The best way to justify cost and measure success or failure is tracking the response rate. But how do you know it was direct mail and not radio/TV/print/ect… that did the trick? By using a trackable device in conjunction with the call to action.

One advantage of printed items is the (potential customer can keep it, give it to a friend or bring it to your location to redeem for a discount, special offer or attend an exclusive event. This is how a trackable device works.

If someone needs to show a postcard, coupon or code word to get the deal – they will. Now you have proof of response rate. You can’t just look at the sales numbers to know if your marketing work because part of that equation is up to your sales staff. Closing a sale opportunity created by direct marketing is conversion rate, not response rate. Walking in the door with direct mail in hand is response rate. Marketing will only get the sales process started.

Once you know response rate and cost, you can track which advertising medium provides the best return on investment for your budget. A call to action and trackable device is a highly effective and easy way to track success.