Community sponsorship: put your money where your heart is

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May 15, 2017

It’s safe to say that if you operate a successful small business, whether it’s in the city or the bush, you might have been approached to sponsor local community activities. Perhaps it’s the local rugby league or surf club, a charity, the arts, rotary, a political party or school initiative.

There’s a commonly held view that supporting the local community is good business. But is it?

Sponsorship and marketing go hand in hand

A well-considered community program can contribute to your overall marketing. Apart from the feelgood factor, being involved in the community can bolster brand recognition, by putting your logo in front of more eyeballs.

Sponsorships are a valuable way of building your profile and reputation. This will prove useful for financial planners, as clients are looking to trust you with their money management. That said, like any marketing channel, there should be some method to the madness.

  1. Consider your client base. Look at what sponsorship activities provide access to potential customers. For example, if young families are your target audience, it makes sense to target activities they’d support, such as junior sport. Conversely, older people make valuable contributions to the community through initiatives such as volunteering, caregiving, education and social activities.
  2. Involve your team in selecting the cause. This is usually a sensible idea. You want your team to be passionate about your community relations activities and sponsorships, so seeking their collaborative input is crucial.
  3. Think outside the square: It’s a given that your local sporting clubs will be seeking sponsors. By all means be involved, but it doesn’t hurt to look for options that maybe aren’t as obvious.

Don’t make it all about the bottom line

A client of my firm, Corpwrite Australia, who is heavily involved in several causes in the market he lives and works in, advises that when it comes to sponsorships, “You can tell the people who are in it for the business side of things.” If this is your approach to sponsoring community activities, you won’t achieve the results you’re seeking – and worse, you could sully your reputation.

It’s important that you consider supporting programs that align with the business and your own personal values – and those of your employees. The old saying ‘what goes around comes around’ applies in this instance. If you enter into a community relations program with the right intentions, the pay off for your business will be there. If you’re invested in the community and want to see it thrive and prosper, that can only be good for business.


TOPICS:  community sponsorshipmarketing



About The Author /

Anthony O'Brien is a principal of corporate marketing and communications firm Corpwrite. He is a business and personal finance writer with experience extending over 20 years in the communication industry. He is presently the small business writer for Money magazine and has contributed regularly to a range of other publications including Charter, The Australian Worker, INTHEBLACK, Rugby League Week, Jetstar Magazine, Australian Way and The Bulletin. O'Brien also worked as a reporter with NBN on its nightly television news service. O'Brien is a published author, working with leading finance commentator Paul Clitheroe AM, chairman of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board, to co-author Make your Fortune by 40 (Viking 2001) and Road to Wealth (Viking 2000). Prior to launching into self-employment in 1999, O'Brien worked in a diverse range of corporate communication roles for IBM, Link Telecommunications, BT Australia, several NSW state politicians and a number of PR firms.