Dear Sponsor: Is the honeymoon over?

Like any strong marriage, sponsor relationships require continual renewal

Your courtship of your organizational sponsor paid off! You proposed to formalize your relationship, and they accepted! Since the day you two took your vows and exchanged benefits, your relationship has been solid. But – as with any marriage – take that relationship for granted and you might not like the results.

There’s good reason to keep the honeymoon magic alive. A growing consensus suggests the nonprofit sector will continue to struggle with economic viability for the foreseeable future. As federal funds wane and the economy fluctuates, associations are relying on their sponsors more than ever — just as those same sponsors face increasing calls to demonstrate a return on their investment in your organization.

A wandering eye is the last thing you want in this relationship. When was the last time your association and fundraising teams reviewed your organization’s sponsorship offerings?  Are you measuring the impact of sponsorships in terms that have meaning to the sponsor? Do you ask for corporate sponsor feedback on the value proposition? 

We encourage direct contact with your spouses – er, sponsors — to discuss what matters to them. Here are some pointers for keeping the relationship vital and current:

  • Solicit input from your most constant, dedicated corporate supporters to determine if the benefits you offer them are still valued the way they once were.
  • Always remember your anniversary.
  • Explore opportunities to expand sponsorship packages and create year-long benefits. 
  • If you forget that anniversary, double down on their birthday.
  • Consider bundling sponsorships that might include additional benefits such as:
    • bonus points for exhibiting
    • access to leaders
    • access to leaders during your association meetings throughout the year
    • enhanced visibility within your organization
    • access to association thought leaders
    • an environment in which sponsors feel free to share their pain points and explore solutions
  • Combine the value of sponsors’ monetary and in-kind donations when providing benefits, and strive to offer sponsors additional benefits when increasing giving levels.
  • Send ‘love’ notes to congratulate your sponsor on milestones or press releases. 
  • When all else fails, chocolate and flowers.

It’s a wise best practice to review your sponsorship benefits every two to three years to ensure you remain current with your supporters’ needs and interests. Include this review activity in your year-end goals and work to keep your corporate sponsors engaged often. If the relationship has begun to drift, consider renewing your vows – with a pledge to love, honor, and mutually benefit from this day forward.

If you have any questions or if CAP can be of help in creating sponsorship packages, please contact Lori Vega at

Post-pandemic steps to an engaged and diverse board

Your board is essential for driving your mission and strategic priorities. Over the last couple of years, the pandemic has kept many boards from meetings in person. The lack of face-to-face interaction may have your board members feeling less connected and effective. Now that we are able to gather again, what are you doing to make sure your board is diverse, engaged and well-trained?

Annual Assessment

Each year, a great practice is to conduct an assessment with your board, review where your board stands today, and to determine where there are gaps.  Does your board reflect the community your non-profit is serving?  Do your board members have the expertise and talents needed to get your organization back on track and marching strongly into the future and beyond? Creating a checklist of skills and talents required will help identify collectively where your focus should be on recruiting new members. 

In addition, an annual assessment of each individual board member and the entire group will help your organization identify and stay on top of underlying issues that may be rapidly weakening the effectiveness of your board.

A Diverse Board

According to the National Council of Nonprofits, building a diverse board is top of mind for most nonprofits. Unfortunately, not much progress has been made. Following is a link to the National Council of Nonprofits’ helpful resources to increase your board’s diversity and engagement.  (We found the self-assessment on diversity, inclusion and equity particularly valuable)

Effective Board Practices

Also, at the beginning of each year or following the voting in of your newly elected members, plan a board training session and orientation for a collective review of:

  • Mission/Vision
  • Bylaws
  • Strategic plan(s)
  • Budgets and development plans
  • Financial forecast
  • Association and foundation key programs
  • Volunteer structure, roles and responsibilities statement
  • Organizational policies
  • Process for working with board members who may require training or mentoring
  • Conflict of interest documents (current and renewed each year)
  • Board role in philanthropy and fundraising

As Jonathan Schick, author of The Nonprofit Secret: The Six Principles of Successful Board/CEO Partnership reminds us, at the heart of every successful non-profit is one thing:  the board/CEO relationship.  Prioritize the processes that can keep you and your board connected and engaged.

If you would like to talk through any of these ideas, or if you have any questions, contact Lori Vega, Principal at CAP, directly at  Or, more information and resources are also available on the CAP website: