Sponsorships in a Time of Uncertainty


Jason E. Ebey, IOM

You had your 2020 sponsorships calendar all set and were excited about the plans you had in place. And then the world turned upside down, and now you’re trying to determine how to plan the remainder of the year. But it’s really challenging to plan when none of us has a good grasp of what the rest of the year will look like.

And if it’s hard for you to plan as chamber leaders, imagine how difficult it must be for your member businesses. We have some ideas that we hope will prove helpful to you.

One thing to remember, now more than ever, is that chambers working through unprecedented times is not unprecedented. Chamber professionals work through recessions, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, and more. Uncertain times and adversities are standard operating conditions.

As you begin to review your calendar for the remainder of 2020 with an eye to determining what to keep and what to move or cancel, keep in mind that there is a need for chamber professionals to provide services to members to help those member businesses thrive and succeed.

What do you have on your calendar what would facilitate that goal? Be sure to keep those initiatives.

Review, too, the benefits you have promised your sponsors for the events and initiatives on the calendar for the remainder of the year.

  • Are there benefits that can still be provided, even if they require a bit of modification?
  • Could you place a sponsor’s logo as a background on a Zoom gathering which will be recorded and shared on social media? That breakfast might not have to be canceled now. The sponsor will actually gain benefits due to the increased visibility of the logo and the additional presence on social media?
  • Specific members find specific things they can gain from their sponsorships. Consider why the sponsor chose their unique sponsorships when reviewing how to convert benefits to a virtual world.

It can be tempting to decide not to keep your signature events because they are the largest and demand the most time and effort from the staff. But those events are also usually your largest in terms of funding. Consider how you might keep those while moving or canceling your smaller, less cost-beneficial events like after-hours or monthly gatherings.

You won’t be able to keep everything. You have to look at your calendar with a strategic eye. How much of a burden will it be to move everything? You can’t move everything from this spring and summer to this fall and still have the fall be feasible. You also can’t simply cancel the rest of the year and still have your community view you as a business leader.

Chambers that are positive encourage positive attitudes in their membership. Right now, members are looking to their chamber leadership for positive energy more than ever.

If you need help working through your 2020 calendar and determining what to move, cancel or keep, please get in touch with us. We will be happy to help.

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