In the business of sponsorship, “no” is not the favorite word to hear, but it’s better than nothing.  One of our clients, who likes to sponsor events, asked a great question.  How do I say no to a sponsorship request?

To most people, it seems like an easy answer.  Either channel Nancy Reagan from the early eighties and, “Just Say No!” or take a more passive approach, like most of us do during the holidays when it feels like  everywhere you go, everyone is asking for money. You can just walk by and pretend you didn’t see that Santa or hear him ringing that bell soliciting your spare change. However, any smart sponsor knows neither is the best way to communicate to a sponsorship seeker that you won’t be fulfilling their request.  Here are a few tips to help you overcome the challenge of saying no:

  • Does the submission meet your basic internal qualifications? By this we mean was the proposal submitted on time and followed all directions.  If the submission does not meet these very basic qualifications, the answer is no and let the seeker know that your process must be followed for consideration.
  • Budget restrictions. Fact: there is a limit to what you can do.  If you have reached your funding limit for a period of time, just let the seeker know that.
  • The request is for a demographic that isn’t on your radar–right now. We suggest you find out all you can about the event and keep in touch.  If you know that the event serves a demographic your business will be interested in during a future marketing cycle, getting on an email list to stay informed will make for great negotiating when you’re ready to partner.

As a business that understands the value of sponsorship, how you handle turning down opportunities is just as important as how you tell a high dollar client that you cannot do something for them.  Essentially, it’s the same thing.  Make sure you do not shrink from the responsibility, that you respond and explain your “no” with grace and class.

If you need assistance with your sponsorship requests, we are here to help! Contact us today!