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Aligning your sponsorships with your values and your brand

Let’s face it, banks and credit unions commit to their fair share of community sponsorships. From youth sports teams to collegiate or professional sports to the cultural and arts community’s fancy galas, and community festivals, where there is a community event, you’ll typically find a bank…or three as a sponsor.

With that much competition, doesn’t seem like there’s room for a great ROI. Many times, decisions are made to support the request because of leadership’s involvement in the organization or those involved on the Board of Directors. Others reasons may be to satisfy some measure of regulatory grants/donation requirements. With all of the rational behind sponsorships, we must fundamentally remember that sponsorships are a part of the marketing mix not just business development.

Regardless for the reasons behind the support, all sponsorships should deliver on a commitment to express your bank’s values and help align your values with organizations that share in them.

Here are some things to consider for your sponsorships

  • How closely does the sponsorship align with your business objectives and goals? If the answer is little to none, you should do the right thing and perhaps take a pass on those opportunities.

  • Do you evaluate sponsorships for their ability to improve your regulatory exams?

  • Does the sponsorship give you the ability to create an experience so people have a personal, memorable and really positive experience with your brand and not just a logo. If you buy a sponsorship only for branding, you have missed an opportunity.

  • How will your sponsorship be activated? Your activation plan is what will make your brand come to life and create value for your organization.

  • Do you have industry exclusivity or can you find a way to ‘own the event’?


Do you have defined major categories that your financial institution will support. Try creating a quadrant to illustrate those four categories and map out the organizations in each category so you can assess where you may be over or under investing.

  • As you think about your sponsorships, ask yourself, what do you want to be known for? Do you want people to know your financial institution is a fan or sports? If so, professional, amateur or youth sports? Equally important, what areas do you want to avoid.

  • Do you align your sponsorships with your customers’ giving preferences? Research shows that across the U.S. personal donations are down for global organizations like the American Red Cross or United Way but up significantly for local organizations that support the environment, pets and kids’ education. People prefer to give to local organizations that make an impact on the quality of their life.

Also, you don’t have to let other people’s endeavors limit your sponsorships. Create your own.

For example, if you want to increase deposits from non-profit organizations why not create a contest that will spark them to enter your contest. They will gladly provide you with th inside information that helps you build their profile for the opportunity perhaps win $10,000 worth of marketing support services to help them during their biggest fundraising program. By partnering with a local agency that may also be willing to underwrite the cost, you are the beneficiary of all the good data that’s being collected to improve your prospecting – and good will that comes from being strategic with your corporate giving.

Do you need a new template to help you evaluate and integrate sponsorships and corporate philanthropy? Contact us for a free one.

#sponsorship #banking #corporategiving #CRA #donations