As the Founder and CEO of Growth Owl LLC, Lori Zoss Kraska often finds herself reflecting on the challenges that professionals face when it comes to raising funds in our modern, fast-paced world. One of the most pervasive issues is the fear of missing out, or FOMO, which can lead to anxiety, stress, and burnout. Below Lori shares her thoughts on this issue, and steps to create a solid foundation for success.
Call Your Existing Sponsors/Funders
While it's common for purpose-driven organizations to send letters or emails of gratitude to their corporate supporters around the holidays, taking the extra step to make a phone call randomly during the year can be a pleasant surprise. Even if your contact is out of the office, leaving a message of gratitude via the spoken word can set you apart. Keep the conversation short and focus solely on expressing appreciation for their support and what it means to your organization. You can also mention that you'll be reaching out again soon to schedule a time to discuss the remaining year, but you wanted this call to be a heartfelt message of thanks. Additionally, having your CEO/President/Executive Director make some of these phone calls to your largest corporate supporters can go a long way!
Set Up Automatic Prospecting & Research Alerts
Do you have companies in mind that you've been wanting to speak with about corporate support for your organization but haven't had the time to do the research? Are there specific industries that you believe would be a good fit for your corporate sponsorship focus? Do you want to learn more about the topics that your sponsors care about? Or perhaps you're preparing for a meeting with a decision maker for a big non-dues revenue idea for your association. Google Alerts can be a valuable tool for all of these purposes and more. Simply Google "Set Up Google Alerts" and follow the instructions to enter your areas of interest. Google will then automatically send you relevant articles and news related to those specific topics, people, companies, and more. If you're interested in multiple Google Alert topics, consider creating a separate email address dedicated solely to Google Alert emails, as you may receive a large amount of information. With Google Alerts, you don't have to feel stuck in getting started - Google has done the sourcing work for you, and you can find what resonates with you and your organization within the content.
Remember That Your Organization Has Its Own Journey
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) can be a positive motivator as you learn from other organizations, read inspiring sponsorship case studies, and stay updated on what corporate sponsors and funders are interested in supporting. However, FOMO can become counterproductive when it makes you or your organization feel inferior instead of inspired. In fact, FOMO can even paralyze you from taking action, as you may be afraid of doing something that others might perceive as incorrect.
For example, you may meet a fellow corporate sponsorship professional at a conference who shares that they make 25 new outbound calls/emails each day to potential sponsors and spend a minimum of 5 hours a week on new prospect research. Meanwhile, you have just recently taken on the corporate sponsorship role for your organization, and you and your President have agreed to focus on a small number of prospects that you will research and nurture. This strategy initially felt right for your organization, until you heard about 'Sandra's' approach. Now you're uncertain about what to do. This is how FOMO can derail a well-thought-out strategy. The truth is, every organization and its leaders are unique. What works for some may not work for others. Just because Sandra's approach works for her organization doesn't mean it's the only or best approach for yours. Remember, your organization has its own journey, goals, and resources. It's important to stay true to your organization's unique needs and capabilities, and not get swayed by FOMO.
Instead of succumbing to FOMO, focus on what you can do with the resources you have. Set realistic goals based on your organization's priorities and capabilities. Develop a strategic plan that aligns with your organization's mission and values, and create a timeline for implementation. Stay focused on your plan and regularly evaluate your progress. Celebrate your achievements and learn from any setbacks. Remember, corporate sponsorship success is not about following trends or doing what others are doing, but rather about finding the best fit for your organization and building authentic relationships with your sponsors.
In conclusion, as you prepare for corporate sponsorship success in 2023, express gratitude to your existing sponsors, set up Google Alerts for automatic prospecting and research, and stay away from FOMO. Remember, success in corporate sponsorship is about understanding and leveraging your organization's unique strengths and needs. With a strategic and authentic approach, you can unlock success and build meaningful and long-lasting partnerships with corporate sponsors.
To learn more from Lori Zoss Kraska, connect with her on LinkedIn, or through Growth Owl, LLC.