Can Sponsorships Really Help Enhance Your Advocacy?
For not-for-profit organisations, sponsorships are a step in establishing good partnerships that offer access to new advocacy opportunities and additional income streams or event funding.
For corporates, partnering with a charity provides outstanding opportunities to implement corporate social responsibility programs, and reach and engage not only with advocacy targets but the community more broadly.
Finding the right partner
A strong match with a corporate is a great way for NFP’s to get publicity and create awareness for their cause. For example, when the Children’s Medical Research Institute was looking for sponsors for their awareness and fundraising initiative ‘Jeans for Genes Day’ - where people wear their jeans to school or work, making a donation to the Institute – reaching out to clothes retailing giant LOWES was a no-brainer. LOWES is now a key partner of ‘Jeans for Genes Day’.
Income generator vs fundraising partner
It’s important to work out whether sponsorship arrangements are for income streams or for meeting the costs of specific awareness or fundraising campaigns. An obvious example is the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, which has Westpac as its ‘naming sponsor’ along with other corporates who provide an income stream to help keep their choppers in the air.
Some organisations use a different model, seeking relatively small sponsor partnerships to cover the cost of annual fundraising dinners or campaigns and using these to generate revenue.
Some partnerships are only needed once or twice a year as part of awareness-raising campaigns.
These arrangements are often one-off, with a sponsor funding a marquee event where the NFP focuses on intense strategic communication and advocacy activity. This model is useful for holding events in State Parliaments or Parliament House in Canberra during sitting weeks.
Find a match for your clients
The main benefits of sponsoring a charity is the opportunity to implement corporate social responsibility programs, and make a positive difference to the communities in which corporates often operate. To maximise this, corporates should seek NFPs that resonate with their organisation, client base or advocacy targets.
A number of transport and mining companies sponsor the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service because their businesses often operate in areas normal emergency vehicles find hard to access, showing they care about their workers’ well-being and community.
Reaching advocacy targets
Most partnerships incorporate a flagship event, providing an ideal opportunity for strategic communications. By inviting MPs, Ministers and their staffers you can also gain a unique opportunity to engage with key government advocacy targets in a less-formal environment.