Art Sponsorship – Think creatively, think commercially
Irene Lemon, co-founder of Magic Electricity Box, attended our Sydney Masterclass with Nicole Newman in March 2017. Read on for her wrap-up and key takeaway lessons from the session.
Creative Partnerships Australia’s sold out Masterclass with Nicole Newman was high on my looking-forward-to-this list. As a regional artist, a visit to the city is no cheap affair and while the Masterclass was incredible value, the airfare, hotel and incidentals are a huge investment for any regional artist or organisation. Regional Arts NSW came to my rescue and ensured I could bring home the lessons and inspirational highlights from Nicole’s comprehensive presentation.
“Justify your value and solve problems, or sponsorship is a distant dream”
Nicole Newman is an experienced, ferociously intelligent strategist and fundraising consultant. With such a diverse spread of organisation types in the room (from the majors to independent sole traders), she had the unenviable task of meeting the needs of each participant and skill level. Imparting the principles and mindset that sponsorship relationships dictate is no easy feat at the best of times.
Nicole presented activities, knowledge and a methodology to approach preparing for a pitch to potential sponsors and businesses. Sponsorship is a commercial exchange, and Nicole guides us through the principles, tools and best practice.
There was no mantra of secret sauce, do this one thing and you will get megabucks rubbish or brainwashing. In fact, it was one of the most useful presentations for marrying creativity and money because Nicole grounded her advice in practicalities learned from hard won successes and many failures.
The reality is this: business does not need to enter into a sponsorship agreement. There is no one single compelling bottom line decision that forces a business to invest in an arts organisation, so why do they do it? And herein lies the rub – and the opportunity for arts organisations to shine.
We are creative, innovative and an incredibly important part of civic life. The way we can approach solving problems for businesses can be found in strategic implementation of a robust sponsorship deal.
By understanding the problems plaguing a potential sponsor’s organisation, and presenting clear cut benefits and packaged solutions, Art and Business can meet, marry or at very least get very merry! Like a fun date or a secure and loving relationship, a well-constructed sponsorship can be very satisfying. And an unsatisfying sponsorship? Well, we heard a few war stories too.
“Sponsorship is a constantly evolving conversation”
The bottom line is – your sponsorship package is worth as much as someone will pay for it. Knowing the real cost of delivering your solutions is the most important knowledge you take to the deal. If it costs more to deliver the sponsorship than the deal brings in, then the situation is ripe for resentment and financial losses – neither of which are desirable outcomes.
Irene is the co-founder of Magic Electricity Box, a multi art-form publishing company for musicians, song writers, playwrights and community development arts workers, with an extended network across Australia and the Pacific. Located in Armidale, Magic Electricity Box is bringing a little bit of magic to every rural, remote and very remote community in Australia. Irene travelled to Sydney and attended the Masterclass through the generosity of the Regional Arts NSW QUICKS grant. Thanks to Creative Partnerships Australia for providing an opportunity to attend the class.