Annual Sponsorship Revenue Change

What Your Peers Are Saying:

“Brands are definitely seeking a deeper relationship with properties rather than a transactional relationship. Additionally, they are looking for properties to present unique, creative ideas for activation.

“We are hearing that companies want a deeper engagement with our organization. On the other hand, we are hearing that budgets are tight. We are having to be very clear with helping identify the ROI for companies. We are working on ways companies can connect and educate our members, which creates value for both the member and the sponsor.”

IEG Insight: Sponsorship spending continues to rebound from the economic recession of the late 2000s. In 2013, 38 percent more associations reported a year-over-year increase in sponsorship revenue versus 2011.

Spending increases may also be tied to partnerships that offer stronger value propositions, as brands are looking for associations to serve as strategic advisors to help engage members or other involved individuals.

Compared To The Previous Year, Has Your Organization’s Sponsorship Revenue…?
IEG Survey Results: The State Of Association Sponsorship


Types Of Sponsors

What Your Peers Are Saying:

“We offer endemic partners access to the expertise they seek. For consumer-facing brands, we have created a framework allowing some brands to use our campaigns on products. No endorsements, but shows consumers an alignment with experts.”

IEG Insight: Associations are looking beyond endemic sponsors to brands that want to reach their membership as consumers. Less than a quarter of associations (24 percent) have only endemic sponsors. A mix of both types of relationships often is ideal—and can help associations maximize revenue.

Our Sponsors Are Companies That Are…
IEG Survey Results: The State Of Association Sponsorship


Sponsorship Sales And Support Staff

What Your Peers Are Saying:

“I’m a one-person department. As I succeed in growing sponsorship, I risk a reduction in the quality of my support.

“Trying to do everything with one full-time staff and a changing board means a lack of continuity and time, as well as a risk of things falling through the cracks.”

IEG Insight: While sponsors require more value from partnerships, associations are strapped for dedicated staffing resources to handle the increased demand. Nearly a quarter of associations do not have a full-time staff person selling or supporting sponsorship. Organizations reporting higher levels of revenue have considerably more staff—but few have a sponsorship team of four or more employees.

How Many Full-Time Staff Members Are Dedicated To Sponsor Sales/Servicing?
IEG Survey Results: The State Of Association Sponsorship


Corporate Touchpoints

What Your Peers Are Saying:

“There are multiple entities within the organization vying for dollars, with responsibility for package deliverables spread across organization entities and departments. This impacts the ability to deliver comprehensive fulfillment reports.”

IEG Insight: The involvement of multiple parties may lead to challenges around coordination, communication, and efficiency. Corporate partners may experience “contact fatigue” and associations may find it difficult to effectively manage sales outreach, partner servicing and documentation of fulfillment without a streamlined and coordinated approach.

How Many Internal Departments, Chapters Or Third-Party Organizations Are Involved With Selling Sponsorship Or Other Corporate Support (e.g., exhibiting, advertising, donations, local sponsorships, etc.)
IEG Survey Results: The State Of Association Sponsorship


Sponsorship Benefits

What Your Peers Are Saying:

“Logo placements are not what companies seek, so associations have to become better at understanding what they want to do.”

IEG Insight: Onsite signage, website recognition and collateral ID continue to top associations’ list of benefits offered to partners. In both the 2011 and 2014 surveys, these three benefits form the foundation of organizations’ sponsorship packages—although they all offer limited opportunity for direct and personal engagement with members.

Social media integration has reached a critical mass among member organizations—but there is room for additional growth. Over half of associations currently offer sponsorship recognition through Facebook, Twitter or other channels, compared to 35 percent in 2011. However, associations must balance sponsor integration in social media with the need to limit commercial messaging that could alienate members and followers.

Which Of The Following Benefits Do You Offer?
IEG Survey Results: The State Of Association Sponsorship


Plans To Increase Sponsorship Revenue

What Your Peers Are Saying:

“Our sponsorship program is designed to be transformational, not transactional. We offer unique opportunities for companies to benefit from the knowledge, expertise, and perspectives of the association’s staff and board.

“We consistently work on upselling. We have not had the need to cultivate/prospect until now.”

IEG Insight: Associations that experienced a decrease in revenue are targeting current sponsors, tweaking sponsorship offerings, or looking at additional sponsor categories. However, fewer associations are looking to revamp their sponsorship programs by developing new opportunities or offering new benefits. This relatively narrow approach to increasing sponsorship revenue may be a missed opportunity.

What Plans Have You Put In Place To Increase Sponsorship Revenue?
IEG Survey Results: The State Of Association Sponsorship


Challenges And Solutions

Associations recognize that the highly targeted audiences they deliver are their unique value proposition. However, this doesn’t mean that securing new and increased sponsorship commitments is by any means easy. As both the survey and IEG Consulting’s work with association clients attests, significant challenges remain in taking sponsorship programs to the next level.

Some of those challenges, and the solutions we partner with clients on, include:

Challenge: Overcoming sponsor budget issues.
IEG Solution: Compelling deliverables that meet sponsors’ objectives, drive results and transform sponsorship from an expense to an investment.

Challenge: Identifying targeted corporate decision-makers.
IEG Solution: Research and guidance on whom to approach, how to approach them and what to offer.

Challenge: Internal push back; concerns regarding over-commercialization
IEG Solution: Partnership guidelines that address concerns; sponsorship activations that enhance the member experience; strategies for communicating with and gaining acceptance of management, staff and volunteer leadership.

Challenge: Unsure how to price sponsorship packages/benefits to maximize both revenue for association and value for corporate partners.
IEG Solution: Fair market valuation based on sponsor-endorsed methodology.