I recently received a report on sponsorship from Brenda Smith of Generosity NZ, and thought it timely to pull together a few other insights that have come to my attention.
Sponsorship the most common means of engagement
The Generosity NZ givINTEL Business Giving Report of June 2017 is a second edition, following up on the inaugural 2015 report. It tracks corporate engagement in the community across the spectrum, from donations through to more targeted sponsorship programs.
Generosity NZ surveyed 120 organisations and enquired on the way they gave. Eighty-three per cent of those responding to the survey were deemed as large (over 100 employees). The data was collated from February 2016.
The Generosity NZ report defines sponsorship as where ‘businesses pay to be associated with certain events or attractions’. In dollar value, it accounts for one third of organisations’ giving programmes.
Larger businesses tended to operate more programs with longer term outcomes. Many of those responding to the survey were divisions of multinational companies.
Sponsorship is the most common means of engagement, with almost 90% involved (In Kind and staff are the next best preferred of giving programs, at close to 60% each). How do companies select sponsorship partners?
The report shares that many businesses proactively seek sponsorship partners. They look for partners that:
· Fit well with their brand and drive revenue and return on investment
· Allow maximum brand exposure and naming rights
· Provide opportunities for staff and families to be involved and engaged in out-of-work activities
· Deliver a unique customer experience and significant prospecting opportunities
· Support community projects where their products could make a difference and will build long term relationships with key clients
· Align with their sustainable development goals and philanthropic policy
This information is unlikely to be surprising. It provides For-Purpose Organisations a reminder of what the funder is seeking to achieve. It reminds those seeking sponsorship of what they need to have covered before determining whether they are a compelling fit.
Which sectors are receiving sponsorship?
In July Lynn Freeman from Nine to Noon at Radio NZ interviewed Louise Parkin of the Nikau Foundation (and others). The topic was Grant Mapping, who gets what and why? The survey covered Gaming Trusts and grant makers. It was a pilot in Wellington of 13 providers, 3 of which were acknowledged as being very sport oriented. These groups provided $37M over 3 years.
Findings from the pilot were that sports received 39% in the sample, but it was noted that this may change when the giving group is expanded. The underlying research was gathered and presented by Generosity NZ.
University of Auckland MBA student Angela Green – producer of A Slightly Isolated Dog’s Don Juan and Jekyll and Hyde, is researching the deepening relationship trends that sponsors are seeking, and the potential for arts organisations to meet that need.
‘Effectuation’, a term coined by SD Sarasvathy (2001), describes the decision-making and collaborative process that entrepreneurs undertake when creating new products that currently don’t exist; the end result is impossible to predict. This has similarities to creating an artwork or performance – the creative combination of collaborative resources: ‘means’ – lead to unpredictable but innovative outcomes: ‘ends’.
Approaching sponsorship using effectuation could be about embracing these principles, where something new and unexpected blossoms from the combination of artistic and commercial interaction.
This is the principle of ‘Test & Learn’ that we have discussed previously.
Meanwhile, Mike O’Donnell reminded us all in an August article in Stuff that banking up goodwill is an investment because one day you’ll need to draw on it.
Sponsorship allows you the opportunity for tolerance when you get something wrong, and the latitude to organise to get it right.
Giddy Up’s aims
· A How-To guide aimed especially at the SME (sub-100 staff) organisations
· Focusing on the sponsorship end of the continuum, starting from donations/giving
· Establishing relationships where the parties can create an outcome that thrives from their combination
Disclosure: Brian was a previous board member of FIS, and if he has got something wrong above he will appreciate the latitude to get it right.