Sponsorship Shifts to leverage in 2023

Sponsorships and partnerships play a vital role in providing funding and resources to support the work of association. While return on investment is still king, following are some of the trends associations should be leveraging to ensure their success in 2023.

The importance of digital partnerships

In the digital age, it is more important than ever for associations to have a strong online presence and to be able to communicate effectively with their stakeholders through digital channels. This means that digital partnerships are becoming increasingly important in the association sector. To capitalise on this trend, associations can consider seeking out sponsors and partners who can provide digital resources and expertise, such as website development, social media marketing, and email marketing.

The rise of experiential sponsorships

Experiential marketing, which involves creating immersive and interactive experiences for consumers, is becoming increasingly popular in the association sector. To capitalise on this trend, associations can consider offering sponsors and partners the opportunity to create experiential activations at their events and conferences, or to create branded content that can be shared with their members.

The importance of sustainability

As sustainability becomes an increasingly prominent issue, sponsors and partners are increasingly seeking to align with organisations that are committed to sustainability. To capitalise on this trend, associations can consider highlighting their sustainable practices in their sponsorship and partnership materials and seek out sponsors and partners who share their commitment to sustainability.

The rise of content marketing

Content marketing, which involves creating and sharing valuable and relevant content with the goal of attracting and retaining customers, is becoming increasingly popular in the association sector. To capitalise on this trend, associations can consider offering sponsors and partners the opportunity to create branded content that can be shared with their members. This can include blog posts, articles, videos, and other types of content.

The importance of employee engagement

Employee engagement is becoming an increasingly important in sponsorship and partnership decisions, as employees are often the primary ambassadors for a company’s brand. To capitalise on this trend, associations can consider offering sponsors and partners the opportunity to engage with their employees through events, volunteering opportunities, and other initiatives. This can help to build stronger relationships and increase employee loyalty.

The need for flexibility and agility

In a rapidly changing world, it is important for associations to be flexible and agile to respond to new challenges and opportunities. This means that sponsorship and partnership agreements should be designed to be adaptable and responsive to change, rather than being rigid and inflexible. To capitalise on this trend, associations can consider offering sponsors and partners the opportunity to renew or modify their agreements on a regular basis, rather than locking them into long-term contracts.

The rise of cause-related sponsorships

As consumers become increasingly socially and environmentally conscious, they are more likely to support brands that align with their values. This trend is also evident in the association sector, with sponsors and partners increasingly seeking to align with causes that are important to their stakeholders. To capitalise on this trend, associations can consider highlighting the social and environmental impacts of their work in their sponsorship and partnership materials and seek out sponsors and partners who share their values.

By understanding and responding to the latest trends in association sponsorships and partnerships, associations can position their organisations for success in the coming years.

If you are looking for support to optimise your partnership programs, please contact Julian Moore from SMS at julian@smsonline.net.au

JOURNAL: Associations Evolve: 2023 & Beyond Journal Released

We are excited to announce the release of Associations Evolve: 2023 & Beyond Journal, a compilation of articles from over 50 association thought leaders from around the globe.

This journal offers a unique perspective on the future of associations and the role they will play in shaping industries and communities. From innovative ideas for growth and sustainability to strategies for adapting to changing environments, the articles in this journal provide valuable insights and inspiration for association professionals.

As the association landscape continues to evolve, it is important for professionals to stay informed and stay ahead of the curve. The Associations Evolve: 2023 & Beyond Journal is a must-read for anyone looking to drive positive change and impact within their organisation. Get your copy today and join the conversation on the future of associations.

JOURNAL: Associations Evolve: 2022 & Beyond

Forty-six association experts from around the world have collaborated to produce a collection of articles showcasing contemporary thinking on governance, membership, revenue, events, and much more.

This is a great resource for those looking for inspiration and motivation to make 2022 your best year ever. It makes great holiday reading for those who are feeling particularly enthusiastic (tip: this publication pairs well with red wine and cheese).


Download “Associations Evolve: 2022 & Beyond”


This publication is part of our Associations Evolve project which looks for ways to help associations to thrive into the future. 

Thanks to Beau Cummin from Visual Traffic for his fabulous work designing this publication, Northern Territory Business Events for their great support of this project, and all our wonderful contributors.  

We hope you will find this collection of articles from experts in the association space as informative, inspiring, and motivating as we did. 

All the best for a fun and relaxing break over the festive period. I hope you arrive back at work refreshed and ready for an awesome 2022.

Warm regards,
Belinda 

VIDEO: “Sponsorship Update June 2020: Who’s Sponsoring Associations This Month?”

This past month has seen a number of really exciting sponsorship and partnerships proceed. In this session Julian Moore will talk about what sponsorship deals are closing, who is currently looking to sponsor, how best to approach, and opportunities that are currently available for associations seeking sponsorship funds. In this session Julian shares the highlights on what’s happening in sponsorship this month.

Watch the video

VIDEO: How to Create Your Association Partnership Recovery Program

This is a recording of the 45 minute webinar run on Friday 3 April 2020. COVID-19 has decimated the traditional funding sources of many associations. With events and their associated sponsorship in disarray for the foreseeable future, associations are scrambling to deliver enhanced services to members remotely and remain financially sustainable. Sponsors are facing their own challenges. Organisations that traditionally provide sponsorship are currently more concerned with what will happen to their staff and adjusting to the new operating environment. When they do begin looking at new opportunities, they will be assessing them by their ability to generate a strong measurable return to help them rebuild their momentum. Now is the time to retain your existing sponsors and, as the timing becoming appropriate, ensure your partnership program is ready to come back with a bang. In this webinar, Julian Moore, Australasia’s foremost association sponsorship practitioner, will discuss how other associations are successfully adapting their offerings and the key steps needed to create your partnership recovery program to ensure strong revenues into the future.

Watch the video.

Download the slides.

WHITEPAPER: Association Apocalypse

The operating landscape of associations is undergoing a seismic shift. Associations need to act now to ensure they can navigate these shifts to emerge stronger and more relevant than ever before. In my new whitepaper, Association Apocalypse, you can read more about the:

  • Six fundamental shifts occurring in the association operating landscape,
  • Three key models associations will need to re-invent, and
  • Eleven core operational enablers associations must get right along the way.

This whitepaper has been designed to assist association leaders to understand the scale of the change coming and create a platform for productive discussions within their associations about appropriate pathways forward. If you have more questions please feel free to contact us to find out how we can assist.

Read the whitepaper.

BOOK: Membership Managers Handbook (2018 Edition)

Are you looking to effectively manage a membership program for your organization? Look no further than The Membership Managers Handbook! This comprehensive guide covers all the essential aspects of membership management, from acquiring and retaining members to developing member benefits and creating a successful membership strategy.

Filled with best practices and real-world examples, The Membership Managers Handbook is a valuable resource for anyone responsible for managing a membership program. It includes tips on how to engage and retain members, as well as strategies for growth and innovation.

Whether you’re a seasoned membership manager or new to the role, The Membership Managers Handbook is the perfect tool to help you succeed.

Download the Membership Managers’ Handbook free of charge.

You Can’t Grow Your Member Numbers is No One Is Selling Your Membership …

I have worked with a number of associations recently who have wonderfully high retention rates but very low growth rates. After investigating further, it became apparent that all these associations have a wonderful range of services, many very happy members, and absolutely no sales function whatsoever. To fix this situation, and to effectively recruit new members, you need the have the following processes in place:

A process for generating leads into your organisation. To create new members, you need prospective members. This means developing strategies for generating leads. This can include attending trade fairs, viral campaigns, and strong internal policies around the collection of opt-ins from prospective members with whom staff and volunteers come in contact with.

A process for building a relationship with prospective members. Recruiting and retaining members is a bit like dating. Just because you are ready for them to join doesn’t mean they are ready to make that commitment. Having some regular non-member engagement is a great way to enable prospective members to get a feel for the organisation. This can include issuing free e-newsletter and enabling non-members to register to attend your events (at a much higher fee). 

A process for converting someone from a non-member to a member. There are many great sales channels for membership including direct mail, e-mail, outbound telephone calls, and/or an on-the-ground sales team. Associations who are growing the most strongly use a mix of all of these. After a heavy swing to email over the past 7 years, we are now seeing associations generating an excellent return from sending a well-crafted direct mail piece followed up by a phone call.

It is vitally important that every prospective member enquiry or outbound campaign is followed up with a phone call. This is an absolutely critical element to member recruitment success. With the advent of cost-effective, outbound call centres specialising in associations (such as Optimum Contact) there is no excuse for these calls not being made.