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Thinking about Sponsorship

THE TAKEAWAY: Sponsorships can be hugely rewarding for a group - but should not be rushed into. Before jumping head-first into a sponsorship agreement a group will need to consider and discuss a few important questions.


Sponsorships can be a hugely rewarding aspect of an organisation's fundraising, but it is not something to be rushed into. You will need to do your homework first.

Before searching for sponsors, your group should take a look in the mirror. There are a range of factors you should discuss before jumping head-first into the world of sponsorships.

Some of the factors that should be considered and discussed include:

Can you commit?

Does your group have the resources and administrative ability to commit to a sponsorship without stretching itself too thinly?

It's important for your group to be realistic on this, as you want your sponsorship to boost your existing operations, not divert you away from them. Your group should investigate how much it would cost in money, time and other resources to service a sponsorship and whether you are ready to do so.

What are your values?

Ensure any potential sponsors share your group's outlook.

You don't want to be associated with a company that promotes behaviour that runs against your own mission. To take a few obvious examples, would you enter into a sponsorship with a tobacco company? How about an alcohol or gambling company?

What do you want?

How would your group like to benefit from a sponsorship with a business?

It may be through volunteer or in-kind support, skills sharing, knowledge building or a sponsorship arrangement. It is a case of working out how you can maximise the benefits from your group and if you can leverage any other assistance.

What can you offer?

What can your group offer a potential sponsor?

Thinking about what your group has to offer could also generate some preliminary ideas about an ideal sponsor for your community group. Options include: Assistance in volunteer projects, sponsorship or naming rights, providing access to your network of members and supporters and promoting the business to your database.

What are you worth?

Know your worth.

You should be aware of what your group is worth and what sort of benefits a business would receive in sharing a sponsorship with you and being able to associate and market their association with your good name.

Who do you want?

Which local businesses are in harmony with your organisation's values system and could be potential sponsors?

Developing a sponsorship with a local company multiplies the benefits to the local community and should be a priority when looking for a partner.


What to look for in an ideal sponsor

Finding the best fitting sponsor to align your group with will provide positives for both sides of the sponsorship, and the community as a whole.

The following is a checklist of what you should look for when looking at a possible sponsor and assessing both their positive and negative traits.

Positive Traits

Negative Traits

  • It is willing to engage in a sponsorship.
  • It has a good track record in previous sponsorship arrangements (if any).
  • It shares a number of the objectives that your business or community group sees as important.
  • It has a number of values or philosophies in common with your business or group.
  • Its activities fit well with some of your own.
  • It has the resources to follow through on a proposed sponsorship with your group.
  • It can carry the responsibilities placed on its side of the sponsorship.
  • It appears willing to share not only the responsibilities of a sponsorship, but the rewards as well.
  • It has one or more achievements that your group values.
  • Your group feels that it can talk to your prospective sponsor as an equal and with respect - and vice versa.
  • It wants what you can offer, and can offer what you want.
  • It appears as committed as you to using the sponsorship to bring about benefits to the community.
  • It has no (or very few) values and philosophies in common with your group.
  • It has no (or very few) objectives in common with your group.
  • Its activities do not lend themselves to a good fit with your own.
  • It has a bad track record in previous sponsorship arrangements, or an apparent lack of desire to be in a sponsorship.
  • It will struggle to carry its share of sponsorship responsibilities, or may not be willing to fairly share either the responsibilities or the benefits of a sponsorship.
  • It has had a previous conflict with your group.
  • Your group does not feel it can talk or work with the prospective sponsor respectfully, honestly or as an equal.
  • It does not want or need what you can offer, or you do not want or need what it can give you.
  • It does not appear to be committed to a sponsorship that would help the community.