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