Top 10 Corporate Sponsorship/Partnership LinkedIn Posts of 2023: 7, 8, 9, 10

By Bruce Rosenthal Associates, LLC

The Competition is Coming! The Competition is Here!

Competition for associations …. let me count the ways!

When I work with associations to help them improve their corporate sponsorship programs to increase revenue and add member value, I do a competitive analysis.

Competitors for companies’ sponsorship (aka marketing) dollars include other associations; trade publications; for-profit webinars, conferences, and expos; social media groups; job boards; and sponsors companies’ websites, webinars, and conferences.

Sometimes I come up with a list of 50 competitors – 50 ways that companies can achieve their goals other than sponsoring the association I’m working with.

Now there is another type of competition – competition for members’ attention. Deirdre Reid, CAE’s Association Brain Food ( referenced an article ( about paid membership communities.

For example, Chief is a private paid membership community for executive women that raised a $100 million investment last year. Hampton, a membership community for entrepreneurs, founders, and CEOs, has membership dues of $8,500 per year.

What is a good way associations can challenge the competition? Create a sponsorship program in which corporate sponsors provide educational content (including co-branded content) that will fulfill members’ needs and enhance value for each sponsor company.

Be the resource of choice for members. Be the marketplace of choice for sponsors.

Is Your Sponsorship Program Outdated?

You might have an outdated corporate sponsorship program if ….

   1)  Program hasn’t been evaluated recently
   2)  Organization’s board and staff aren’t supportive of the program
   3)  “Heavy metal” categories (Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze sponsor levels)
   4)  “Take Out Menu” of benefits
   5)  Benefits are mostly “logo”, “visibility”, “recognition”
   6)  Sales pitch is “we need your support … our members will be grateful”
   7)  Prospectus is sent “èn masse” to hundreds of companies
   8)  Association competes with itself … multiple offers to the same companies
   9)  Treat sponsors/partners like an ATM
   10)  Don’t know sponsors’ business goals

How Board Members can Support Sponsorship Programs

“How can an association’s volunteer and elected leaders help drive non-dues revenue?”

That question was asked at The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Leadership Summit where I was on the panel facilitated by Andrew Flank about “Creative Programming to Generate Non-Dues Revenue”.

I offered a 4-step role for board members at national and component/chapter association conferences:

  1. The association should provide a list of top-tier sponsors – and what they sponsored – to each board member.
  2. Board members should thank sponsors at each company’s exhibit booth or other conference events.
  3. Board members should ask top-tier sponsors engaging questions, such as “What are you hearing from our members?” and “What are the biggest trends you are seeing in our trade/profession?”.
  4. Board members should report back to the association staff what they hear from sponsors during the conference.

Sponsors like being tapped for their expertise.

Associations should know what’s on the minds of sponsors.

What Makes a Sponsorship Program “Chaotic”?

An association executive described her organization’s sponsorship program as “chaotic”.

I asked her what she meant by that. She said, “a lot of different asks”.

I often hear from companies that “a lot of different asks” is not helpful … multiple people in multiple internal association departments and external agencies repeatedly calling the same companies to sell sponsorships of various conferences, events, webinars, forums, and white papers, plus sales of ads and exhibits.

“A lot of different asks” is a lose-lose strategy. Associations are competing with themselves and it irritates companies.