“Sponsorship recruitment? So what I do for all my new staff, to help them settle in, is to make them write out all the benefits for a sponsor 5 times, because writing something down is the only way you can remember what needs to be done”. Ummm, WHAT?
This is literally a quote from someone I was speaking to recently about sponsorship recruitment and it got me thinking about how we are often asked if we can help find the right staff for people we are speaking to.
Now, this may seem like a pretty simple question, but it is also a very important one - What does the right staff member look like? To answer that question, there are a number of factors which need to be answered and which form the basis of my 5 tips to finding the right staff.
Importance Of The Role
Before we get into it, we need to note that we understand the nervousness behind employing sponsorship staff. We have been there and get that this role is not your run-of-the-mill administrative job.
Filling a sponsorship manager position is possibly one of the most daunting of recruitment tasks because finding someone who will be the link between your most valued financial contributors and who will represent you well could have some fairly significant repercussions if you get it wrong.
So here is how to get it right (most of the time).
1. Understand What You Really Want/Need In A Person
A lot of people we consult to often just pull out a standard position description and wonder why they can’t find what they really want in an employee.
If you take a step back and figure out what skills are needed, rather than simply functions of the job and experience, you may find that your position description should be altered to draw out the person you are looking for.
2. Understand Your Audience
I am not just talking about your sponsors that need to be serviced, and the demographic you generally sell to, but the audience you are targeting to recruit from.
Different generations will bring different skills but they also have different methods of communicating with you and your partners. Understand what will be the right fit now, and going forward, before setting any pre-conceived ideas about what you want.
3. Look For Skills But Also Capacity To Grow
One of the toughest realities about sponsorship management is the high staff turn-over and knowledge loss experienced when these likable, commercially minded people move on.
This is a reality that should be embraced and, because of the type of people who often sit within these roles, you can sometimes afford to look at skill set AND the ability for learning and growth within the role that may give you someone for longer.
4. Provide The Right Environment
Modern day employees are not the same as the old-school staff who used to get on with the job. Education backgrounds are different, attitudes are different and what people are looking for in a work environment is also very different to even 5 years ago.
It is so important to know where your staff have come from and to provide an environment which will be comfortable and conducive to helping them achieve their best. This story highlights this point perfectly ...
I was talking to someone recently who said “We have a really high turn-over of staff in our organisation, almost everyone in there is new right now”.
We went on speaking and then he said, “Sponsorship recruitment? So what I do for all my new staff, to help them settle in, is to make them write out all the benefits for a sponsor 5 times, because writing something down is the only way you can remember what needs to be done”.
My first thought to this was “WOW!”. Then, when I picked up my jaw I thought “I know who should be looking for a new job, I mean the people this person is speaking to haven’t used a pen since the 10th grade; their whole life is within technology. Why would you provide an environment that sits outside of everything else they do and see and which they are supremely comfortable and confident with?”.
This segues perfectly into my final point.
5. Be Willing To Learn From Them
Modern day employees bring some really great insights and skills to the table. Spending the time to get to know these skills, and new ways of doing things, will actually help you grow as a person as well and also make your staff feel empowered and valued.
The point I am trying to make here is, to find the right staff you need to know what you need. Figure out who can provide that to you and then you need to reflect on the environment you are bringing them into.
Nail this, and communicate it through the right channels to suit who you want to find, and you should be on a winner. Because, whilst it is a really daunting task, it’s also a great opportunity to generate some fresh value, skills and a higher level of engagement with your partners by taking the opportunity to move with the times.
Finally, if you are looking for new staff then make sure you download our free eBook, “So, You Are The New Sponsorship Manager? Here Is Your Action Plan For The First 3 Months” as a resource to get them started.
Mark Thompson // Director
Mark specializes in sponsorship and diversified income strategies and has used this expertise across the Community, Semi-Professional and Professional Sports sectors. He combines hands-on experience in managing the expectations and obligations of sponsors with marketing and stakeholder engagement to deliver outstanding results.
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