For non-profit organizations, community-oriented businesses, schools, and other charitable groups, events account for a large part of their fundraising efforts. Likewise, businesses of all sizes are always on the lookout for opportunities to grow their reach and presence in the marketplace to be more competitive, and events are a smart way to attract the attention of media and clientele.
The shifting dynamics of the current event planning landscape have made it a bit more challenging in terms of balancing the frequency and audience size of such events vs. the expense of hosting them and the costs of new exposure or acquisitions.
This is where smart approaches to partnership and sponsorship can become invaluable. By simply adjusting the mindset to be more inclusive, event organizers can achieve their goals while also forging stronger ties to the community and potential customers.
The Halo Effect
Partnering with a non-profit organization for an event can have many benefits – not least of which is the positive perception a brand can earn through give-back efforts or other charitable giving. However, the
halo effect can also come with advantages that have actual monetary value. Take for example, the annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival in Miami. For more than 16 years, the event has partnered with the Florida International University Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
Close to 1,200 students from all divisions of the program perform vital tasks during the 4-day festival which comprises dozens of large and small events, dinners, galas, tastings, and celebrations. The main corporate sponsors get the halo effect, the students receive real-world experience on an international level, and the university has gained roughly $30 million over the years for their participation.
How to Do It
Look around your community and see where your business may overlap with a local charity. It may not be a direct or obvious connection at first. A real estate groundbreaking might do well to invite a local performing arts or music school to provide entertainment for the event. A corporate retreat might benefit from holding their gala night surrounded by modern art with a local museum as the venue.
Remember that goodwill is a two-way street. If your charitable partner asks for a sponsorship, or guest speaker, or internship opportunities, see what you can do to help out. Additionally, make sure you’re making the most of your public relations and social media opportunities by releasing official statements, photos, videos, and appropriate links to maximize the relationship.
Know the Value of No Thank You
While partnerships can be great both for saving money as well as raising the profile of your organization, not every fit is a good one. A fine wine brand is not an appropriate partner for children’s groups, for obvious reasons. Besides that, no brand is capable of supporting every possible non-profit that comes their way; it would spread resources too thin. Keep in mind the idea is to grow together and then pursue those relationships which are capable of delivering for all parties involved.
About the VIBE Agency: The VIBE Agency is a Miami-based award-winning full-service production agency that specializes in the creation and orchestration of live and virtual experiences for the corporate industry. The agency is forward-thinking and was recognized as one of the 50 top event companies by Special Events magazine in 2019 and 2020. Most recently, Valerie Bihet, founder of the VIBE was named a Smart Women in Meetings 2021 Hall of Fame honoree by Smartmeetings, for her consistent work advancing the industry. If it can’t be live, make it VIBE!