Sponsorship in Community-Business Partnerships

Sponsorship is one of the more visible forms of community-business partnership. It can provide a good basis for a partnership because there is real give-and-take, with both parties doing a little to reap some rewards for themselves and for their partner. Sponsorship arrangements are flexible and can be altered to suit almost any needs and capabilities.

It is important to realise that sponsorship is not a handout or a simple donation. Sponsorship requires work and the understanding that both partners have to play a role. The sponsorship must benefit the operations of both organisations.

Australian businesses spent $800million on community sponsorships in the 2003-2004 financial year, according to the Giving Australia: Research on Philanthropy in Australia report. Of all Australian businesses, 20% were responsible for those sponsorship contributions.

For business, sponsorship offers the opportunity to publicise the organisation's name through its association with a community group, raising its profile and image.

Community groups value sponsorship because it offers them some all-important financial support they may not find elsewhere. This allows them to concentrate on their aims instead of worrying about money. Sponsorship does not necessarily require money. It can involve the provision of services, goods, administrative support or marketing assistance in return for branding.

Cause Related Marketing (CRM) - where a business and community group join together to market an image, product or service - is closely related to the sponsorship partnership model.

Methods of sponsorship:

  • Displaying a business's logo on the uniform of a sporting team or entire club, or on equipment used by an environment group, for example.
  • Purchasing naming rights to a community festival or community group's event.
  • Providing a car or vehicle to your partner, branded with the community group's name and the business or car dealership from which the car has come.

If you're considering a sponsorship, ask yourself:

  • What you want to gain from it (and why)
  • What you have to offer
  • Which organisations would make suitable partners

Up for negotiation:

  • Distribution of partner's material to your loyal mailing list.
  • Access to your list (where you have asked and received permission from members as per Privacy Law requirements).
  • Sales of partner's product at your functions.
  • Display of partner's logo at your television or media appearances.
  • Display of partner's logo in your ads and marketing materials.
  • Naming rights to an event/building/organisation.
  • Signage at other events.
  • Appearances by your sportspeople/doctors/students/directors/leaders.
  • Endorsements and testimonials.
  • Lobbying for partner's causes in (for example) parliamentary committees.
  • Access to new audiences for partner's product.