Last week’s very successful sponsorship event gave me some inspiration to write a blog post about the event, the importance of sponsorship for Clubs, Societies and Projects (CSPs) and how the Union can help you go about obtaining those sought-after sponsorship deals.
Last year, when I was running to become Union President, one of my manifesto points was to provide a Sponsorship Fair for CSPs. I believe the exact wording of the goal was: “I will deliver a ‘Find a sponsor’ event - a careers fair format, inviting organisations and companies to network with CSPs, to link up club and sponsorship.” Having been a member of several clubs and societies myself while studying at Imperial, I understand that most CSPs are always looking for sponsorship to help them provide the best possible activities for their members.
After lengthy conversations with the Student Activities Team and Head of Student Experience and Services, we came to the conclusion that a Fair would be far too difficult to organise for the very little it would actually achieve for the CSPs that need the most sponsorship help. The problem with Fairs like that is organisations go for the CSPs who usually get the most sponsorship as it is. This is not to say that we don’t feel the need to support the larger clubs in getting sponsorship, but we recognise that the goal for a sponsorship event would be to give each CSP a fair chance of finding sponsorship, regardless of size or activity.
We knew that it would be best to ensure club officers have better training opportunities and support to help them get sponsorship. With this in mind, I organised a Sponsorship Event to take place just before the Summer holiday, which would allow CSP officers to learn about sponsorship processes and gain tips and advice. From this, I drew up three main aims which I wanted the event to achieve (and are hopefully points the attendees agree with!):
- Empower CSPs to find their own sponsorship
- Ensure that getting sponsorship is sustainable from year to year
- Give CSPs the skills to market themselves
The evening involved presentations by Ivy Choi (Imperial College Recruitment Team Leader, Procter & Gamble UK), Kurstin Finch Gnehm (Regular Giving Manager, Advancement Division at Imperial College London), Nic Prettejohn and Tomas Virgl (President and Industrial Liaison respectively, Computing Society - DocSoc, Imperial College Union), with Nas Andriopoulos (Vice President Activities, RCSU), joining the panel for the Q&A session.
The speakers gave some brilliant advice to the attendees, from guidance through the entire sponsorship process, through to how to approach companies and market yourself, and everything in between. A huge thank you to the speakers for their fantastic presentations! We also distributed some handy guidance packs which contained useful advice, tips and sponsorship templates.
What I found particularly significant about the evening was just how many CSP officers want this sort of training and guidance. The 50 places available were extended to 75 and filled within a matter of hours. I also got some brilliant feedback and heartfelt 'thank you’s' from officers who were so pleased something like this had been put on, as it was incredibly useful for them and their CSPs.
Need help getting sponsorship?
If you are a CSP officer reading this blog entry and missed out on the event - fret not! The Student Activites Team have been working on bringing all of our guidance, advice packs and templates online. You can find them here https://www.imperialcollegeunion.org/activities/running-club-society-or-project/finance/sponsorship. This section will be updated regularly, so please keep checking back for more information, tips and advice. The Student Activities team will also continue to run sponsorship training over the course of the next academic year – sessions will be posted in the 'What’s On' section of the ICU website, so keep an eye out for those!
If anyone has any questions about sponsorship, CSPs or funding in general, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line - to myself: firstname.lastname@example.org, and/or the Student Activities Team - email@example.com.
All the best,