Sponsorship Tips & Tricks by Darryl Vine

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Strategies for Effective Sponsorship Management: Under Promise, Over Deliver

In the dynamic world of sponsorship management, cultivating strong relationships with sponsors is paramount to success. One key principle that stands the test of time is the art of under promising and over delivering. However, it’s crucial to navigate this delicate balance without inadvertently changing the expectations of sponsors. Let’s explore how sponsorship managers can effectively implement this strategy while maintaining trust and transparency.

Setting Realistic Expectations:

Before diving into any sponsorship agreement, it’s essential to thoroughly understand the sponsor’s goals, budget constraints, and desired outcomes. By aligning expectations from the outset, you lay the foundation for a mutually beneficial partnership. Be transparent about what you can realistically deliver within the agreed-upon parameters. You also need to take into consideration what your delivery level is. There is no use for example setting a program that will require 40 volunteers to deliver if you only have 10 volunteers working in your sponsorship area.

Under Promise:

When outlining deliverables and benefits for sponsors, it’s prudent to err on the side of caution. Avoid making lofty promises or commitments that may be challenging to fulfil. Instead, focus on offering tangible benefits and opportunities that align with the sponsor’s objectives while leaving room for potential enhancements or surprises. You should always be thinking about what you can offer the sponsor next year. If we over deliver, we set a new level of expectation for next years sponsorship program

Over Deliver with Integrity:

While it’s tempting to go above and beyond to impress sponsors, it’s crucial to do so with integrity and foresight. Identify areas where you can exceed expectations without drastically altering the agreed-upon terms. This could involve providing additional exposure or exclusive opportunities that enhance the sponsor’s visibility and impact.

Communicate Effectively:

Throughout the sponsorship lifecycle, maintain open and transparent communication with sponsors. Keep them informed of progress, highlight successes, and address any challenges proactively. By fostering a collaborative and communicative environment, you build trust and credibility, enhancing the overall sponsorship experience. You MUST notify your sponsors immediately when you realise that something in the program has changed or can’t be delivered. Again you must be transparent as to why it’s changed or can’t be delivered and you will win trust and acceptance if the change has occurred during the program for reasons beyond your control, eg, like a sponsors barbecue day that gets rained out, versus a promise you made at the beginning of the sponsorship that you were doubtful of being able to deliver.

Avoid Changing Expectations:

One pitfall to avoid is unintentionally raising the bar by consistently over delivering beyond what was initially promised. While exceeding expectations is commendable, be mindful not to set a new standard that may be difficult to sustain in the long run. Strive for consistency and reliability in your sponsorship efforts.

Evaluate and Adjust:

Periodically evaluate the effectiveness of your sponsorship initiatives and solicit feedback from sponsors. Use this information to refine your approach, fine-tune deliverables, and ensure alignment with sponsor expectations. By continuously evolving and adapting to meet the needs of sponsors, you demonstrate your commitment to their success.


In the realm of sponsorship management, mastering the balance between under promising and over delivering is an art form. By setting realistic expectations, delivering value with integrity, and maintaining open communication, sponsorship managers can cultivate strong and enduring partnerships that drive mutual success. Remember, it’s not about dazzling sponsors with grand gestures but rather consistently delivering on promises and fostering trust and confidence in your ability to deliver results.