I don’t Have Time to do Sponsorship “Properly”

Sponsorship expert Chris Baylis reasons against looking for shortcuts to doing sponsorships for your organization

I would say that “no time” is the number one reason and most common complaint that I hear from The Sponsorship Collective community.

No time for what, you ask?

No time to do sponsorship properly. And by properly, I mean the processes described herehere and here.

The most common reasons for lack of time or resources

I get it. In fact, I’ve been there.

Some of the common reasons for not having enough time include:

  • Not enough staff
  • No budget
  • A board or boss who does not understand the sponsorship space
  • Too many competing responsibilities
  • Sponsorship is not your full-time job

The truth is, sponsorship is not a part-time job. It is a profession and a distinct discipline that requires an investment of time and energy. It requires you to build your skill set and constantly evolve, just as sponsorship does.

If you are doing sponsorship as an add-on to your current job, you are going to continue to struggle. Heck, people who do nothing but sponsorship sales — all day, every day — struggle to meet their targets!

Learn from Joan’s mistake

I recently had a conversation with a client of mine, named Joan, about implementing a sponsorship strategy for her team. Joan has a full-time job as a CEO, she has a senior leadership team, a budget and a long history of success within her organization.

But Joan is struggling to get her sponsorship sales up and running.

Joan came to me seeking help to move the needle on her sponsorship program, so we devised a plan. Like any good strategy, there needs to be an individual responsible for implementation and measuring success. Joan decided that it would be her role.

So I asked Joan, “Since you are taking on this new role, what are you going to remove from your plate?”

Joan had no answer. Her plan was simply to work more and work harder.

Sounds familiar?

This is not a strategy and it rarely, if ever, produces the desired results. When it does, it comes at a cost to your health, your family and your quality of life.

Joan re-assessed and decided to drop several projects that were not directly tied to her one goal — to make a budget for the year.

The problem with having a good reason

Sponsors don’t care if you have a good reason for doing bad sponsorship. And why should they? Their business goals, their job, their bonuses and, by extension, their families are on the line if you don’t deliver.

Even if your reason for not delivering is a good one, your sponsor will move on or find someone else who can.

Also, it’s important to know that sponsors talk to each other! They move around from company to company, meaning that damaging one relationship by missing your goals can impact your organization’s reputation as well as your reputation as a professional.

It’s just not worth it.

In that context, you are asking your prospect to take on risk by working with you and in exchange, you promise to deliver a successful outcome —  not a “good reason” for having missed your goal.

Do you want a “quick no?” Or a “slow yes?”

Every day, I get asked a version of this question:

“How can I do sponsorship when I don’t have the time to do it properly?”

Which is really a form of asking for shortcuts or which things can be ignored with the least impact.

The answer is this: There are no shortcuts in sponsorship. I can’t tell you which corner to cut or which oversight is the least likely to produce a negative result.

In fact, I don’t think it’s wise to cut any corners at all. Doing 90 per cent of the work does not equate to a 90 per cent success rate, it may equal to failure.

These are the only two options in sponsorship:

Option one: Use a shortcut and get an answer quickly. That answer will be “no thanks” and will result in missing budget — but it’s easy, takes very little time and doesn’t require any particular skill set.

Option two: This option requires you to go through the sponsorship process, from start to finish, with every prospect and sponsor in your pipeline. It takes time, effort and a specific skill set, and results in a “yes” some of the time. The process is the same for both small and big sponsorships.

There is no blending of the two — compromise or happy middle ground.

The question is, which option do you want to pursue?

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