BOOK REVIEW How to Jump-Start Your Sponsorship Strategy in Tough Times Book by Gail S. Bower • Book Review by Ira L. Rosen, CFEE
The old cliché “good things come in small packages” certainly applies to this excellent guidebook written by prominent sponsorship consultant Gail Bower. It is a concise, yet comprehensive, guide to recruiting and retaining your sponsors with specific action points geared to navigating this landscape in our current challenging economic climate. I have read many great sponsorship “how-to” books throughout the years, but one of the key elements that differentiates this one from the rest is its timeliness. These are challenging times in the sponsorship world and Gail’s insight is incredibly valuable. Sponsorship has never been an easy task, but all of us in the festival and events industry recognize that without sponsorship most, if not all, of our events would cease to exist. Gail presents a very understandable outline of how companies got to where they are today, specifically with regard to the impact of recent congressional actions relating to companies that received TARP funds and other governmental bailouts in the United States. There are many of us who are not familiar with the impact of some of these actions and Gail’s book is really a “must-read” so that we can understand where our sponsors are coming from when they express fears over negative fallout from sponsorship deals. Gail quotes a Senator who called sponsorship “another idiotic abuse of taxpayer money.” This should be a wakeup call to any of us who have sponsors in the banking, financial services or insurance categories. 12
If Gail’s book stopped here, many of us would find ourselves in a panic mode wondering how we were going to continue and/or make new deals with companies in these categories. Worse, what if other companies caught this fear of sponsorship fever? Certainly, there are many other potential sponsorship categories that have suffered because of the economic downturn. Automotive is certainly one that leaps to mind, but there are others. Fortunately, Gail does not leave us hanging. After outlining how we got here, she presents a very simple, yet effective case for continued success at sponsorship sales. There are very specific questions to ask, very specific strategies to follow and very specific guidelines for success. There is room for you to fill in your own ideas which will help you create your own blueprint for success. One of the most important sections deals with Creating a Culture that Supports Sponsorship. All too often, the organizational understanding of the “why” of corporate sponsorship is not well understood within your organization, particularly if your organization has not-for-profit status. Gail outlines eight steps that are critical in order to improve your organizational culture as it applies specifically to sponsorship. This is not a book that is heavy in theory, although Gail certainly covers this. This is a practical “how-to” guide for sponsorship success, which will help everyone meet and exceed their needs. Buy it, read it and then share it with your staff, volunteers, board and yes, even your sponsors!
Published on Apr 13, 2010
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