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Like all methods of generating income, being successful with securing and maintaining a sponsorship relationship takes time and effort.

Business to Arts always say that arts organisations should sit down well in advance (2 years or more)  of your event or sponsorship need to map out what the event is, it’s likely impact, and what the ‘commercial opportunity’ would be for a sponsor.  We are not alone! The DeVos Institute for Arts Management at the Kennedy Center recommend mapping out your artistic programme 5 years (or more!) in advance in order to help maximise your fundraising activities.

When we refer to a ‘commercial opportunity’ above, we mean how is the corporate sponsor going to fulfill their business need? Think of sponsorship in terms of a marketing tool – if a company chooses to put money into your event, they may perhaps be forgoing money they would put to an advertising campaign. What will you deliver to the company that will be as significant to them as an advertising campaign?

If ‘commercial opportunity’ sounds daunting, you are not alone. Arts professionals often comment that they lack the acumen or ability to deal with strict, commercially-driven business motivations.  This should not deter you from seeking sponsorship. Increasingly, arts organisations are appointing ‘business-minded’ development and fundraising executives to engage with the private sector. In many smaller arts organisations, where staff resources are limited, board members with a business background can play a vital role in developing and negotiating sponsorship proposals.

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