May 28, 2009 at 08:02 PM
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Step up to the Chalkboard, We're all Teaching Sponsorship 101

In the last year or so, I can't tell you how many times I've heard "we were close to a deal and then so and so left" or in this environment more likely "got laid off." We hear a lot about the direct hit that shrinking sponsorship budgets have on sponsorship projections, but one secondary issue you've most likely encountered is the loss of corporate side sponsorship professionals as companies downsize their workforce. What does this mean for you? Quite often, this means you have to start the sales process all over again from square one - convincing a new set of decision-makers within your partner organization. In some cases (esp. when the position isn't immediately replaced), you're starting at Sponsorship 101, educating on the basic benefits of sponsorship as an effective component of the marketing mix. Of course, in an ideal world you've been educating up and down the ladder for some time, but in either case you'll probably have some teaching to do.

Michigan Business recently profiled the issues event organizers are facing:

One of the issues organizers have encountered recently is the loss of contacts at companies that have provided funding in the past. In one instance, the contact at one company that had been a longtime supporter was downsized, leaving Festival of the Arts without a contact familiar with the event.

"You find yourself in a whole new education process if you can't find someone who will listen to you," David Mix President of the Festival of Arts said.

The sad truth is, you never know when your advocate will become the next victim (which is one reason we launched a jobs section).

It's more important than ever to expand your network, share relevant information online and start building relationships, which will lead to new deals! No one formed a relationship without first making a contact - as far as we know ; ) . Are you using all the tools at your disposal? We say there is no better time to start than today!