Increase Sponsorships: A Guide


Jason E. Ebey, IOM

Every chamber wants to increase sponsorships. It isn’t always easy, but there are some simple methods to get you started.

Be the Change Your Change Your Chamber Needs

This summer’s 2016 ACCE Conference in Savannah, Ga., was amazing, and I keep thinking about how sponsorship development was the hot topic. We were delighted that all the sessions on sponsorship were relocated into the overflow room due to such tremendous interest.

I co-presented “Sponsorship Strategy: Organizing for Success” with Loren Traylor of the Birmingham Business Alliance at the ACCE.

The great tennis player Arthur Ashe once said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” His theory applies to most of life, but especially to sponsorship development.

Define Sponsorships

In creating a sponsorship plan, a chamber must first have sponsorship. Nationally, we are seeing a trend with many nonprofit organizations – from schools to churches to regional charities – using the term “sponsor” for a variety of meanings. This is affecting the corporate landscape and how chambers are able to secure sponsorship dollars.

When YGM trains volunteers all over the country to execute a Total Resource Campaign – just one form of an organized sponsorship plan – many volunteers will express a sense of exhaustion of having to volunteer to go secure another sponsorship.

They will say “we just had to get a sponsor for Sally’s soccer uniform last week” or “Johnny’s Boy Scout troop was just getting sponsors for camp last month.” However, following training and securing an understanding of Chamber sponsorships, they quickly articulate “these are not sponsorships.”

How TRC Sponsorships are Different

What a YGM sponsorship is all about is talking to business contacts about utilizing the chamber for marketing and advertising of their business. Asking business owners about these sponsorships are much different – and often much easier – asks.

An organized sponsorship plan will increase your financial resources, grassroots marketing, and volunteer involvement while providing the chambers with both program and staff development.

The fall is an excellent time to begin planning for your chamber’s future. If you would like to speak with us at YGM about how we can help, you may reach us at

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