Local Schools Change Sponsorship Levels to Degrade Those Giving Less

sponsorship levelsIt used to be that sponsorship levels were pretty universal. You had Gold, Silver, and Bronze. More perks at the high end, but everyone felt like winners. Then, organizations added a Platinum level at the top, and others introduced ‘presenting sponsors.’ Anyway you cut it, the top sponsors felt great, and the lower end sponsors still felt good.

At some point, conventional wisdom in sponsorship levels changed, and organizations began getting cute with the sponsorship levels. “If you were running a swim program, you would have things like blue whale for the top sponsors, and sharks and dolphins in between,” said PR & Marketing expert Brandene Jones. “The problem is, these organizations started adding things like ‘minnow.’ Well, some companies would rather be nothing than a minnow, so organizations would lose out on tens of thousands of dollars because they essentially shamed away potential marketing partners.”

Jones says that instead of reverting back to more simple, straight-forward sponsorship levels, companies continued to add higher levels above their existing ones in hopes of making up that revenue. “If they had a $2500 level, they’ll add a $5,000 level,” said Jones. “They are hoping to hit a home run, and take short cuts. It’s obviously easier to land one big account, then 6-10 smaller ones in theory. But, the truth is, these smaller donors are less demanding, and if you give them a fair level and title, getting that sponsorship money is just as easy if you are dealing with one big donor.”

A local Stapleton school is a great example of this. They offer five different sponsorship levels, which include at the top end, North Central Park Sponsorship and True Stapletonian. But the bottom level is known as Auroran Level. Local businesses do not want to associate as giving to the Auroran level, but may not want to commit to the higher levels. It ends up just being money and partnerships lost. “I think at some point the schools will hire someone that understands the business end of things, and these levels will change back to being more respectful,” said Jones. Until then, smaller Stapleton businesses can continue to expect to see insulting names for the money they are willing to donate.

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