Turning Business Contacts into Business Partners

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The FAWCO Foundation’s Basic Fundraising Tool Kit

Clubs are facing countless challenges to their bottom lines. They must try to keep expenses down while not raising membership dues to activity fees. Many feel that one solution for meeting these challenges is to enlist the support of outside organizations and businesses through sponsorships, advertising, or donations.

Finding new contacts and establishing a relationship with them may require taking the “long view”; perhaps they will not be ready to sponsor your next event, but patience and perseverance could pay off down the road.

The keys to building a partnership with your contacts are no different to building any relationship:

It is easier and more fun to do the project with two or three people. A team can ease the workload and inspire ideas. It also helps with moral support as less than 25% of marketing leads result in a sale* and your team must not take rejections as a personal loss!

Where do you find these businesses and how do you make the connection that will turn into a mutually beneficial partnership? Finding these organizations starts with a bit of brainstorming and light detective work:

You have the lists, now what?

The First Appointment

The most important part of your meeting with prospective sponsors and donors is what you do before the meeting: preparation, preparation and preparation!

The Follow Up!

As soon as possible, recap your notes from the meeting. Send a note to the prospective sponsor thanking them for the meeting. State what you discussed at the meeting. Answer any questions that were asked that you couldn’t answer at the time. Put a reminder in the note about when you will nick be contacting them.

Hopefully, your prospective sponsor will have good news in the next call, if not, follow up with any concerns or questions that might arise. If you find it difficult to get a response, be patient. Don’t assume because they haven’t taken your calls that they aren’t interested! Let them tell you yes or no.

If the Outcome is YES!

Along with a thank you note, send a letter of agreement, which both parties should sign. Also, be sure to send them the information as to how the sponsorship money should be paid. The best way to assure continued success is for you to be the liaison throughout the process. After the event, let them know how successful the event was and be sure that everything that was agreed to by both parties has been completed.

If the Outcome is NO...

Send a note saying you understand the situation and perhaps another time. Be sure to update them from time to time. You have a better understanding of what they might be able to do for you in the future. If you have other prospective sponsor events, continue to invite them.

A wise person once said, “You’ll never know unless you ask”. Good Luck!

*2012 “B2B Benchmark Report” by Marketing Sherpa