Saying No to Sponsors

By Sara Urquhart. Photography of Alt SF dinner.

What do you look for in sponsors? If it’s just money, that’s easy: find sponsors that will pay your price. (We could, though, have a stand-alone post on not undervaluing your time and resources. If you undervalue yourself, sponsors will be trained to do the same).

Likely, though, along with the right price, you’re looking for more. For example, you might be looking for sponsors that support your values and your vision. And, because you want to deliver the goods, you likely are looking for sponsors that will work with you to define the goals of the campaign and will develop metrics to see if the goals are achieved. And, because we are constantly learning, you would do well to work with sponsors that provide feedback to let you know what you did well and where you could have done better. And, life being short, you’re probably looking for sponsors that are enjoyable to work with.

So, what to do, if a potential sponsor falls short on issues like money, compatibility, clarity, feedback, and enjoyment? First, of course, you negotiate. Can some of these issues be corrected? That’s the beauty of this space: bloggers are training brands, and brands are training bloggers. We’re all helping each other figure it out on the fly.

If, however, the shortcomings can’t be fixed, you should think hard about saying “no” to the sponsorship. You need to put yourself in positions where you will succeed. Success brings more success. At times, the wrong sponsor could get in the way of your long-term success. And you don’t want that to happen!

Each sponsorship can be a great learning and relationship-building experience. Make sure they are supportive of your end goals. Walking away from money can be really difficult, but it sometimes is the best thing. And, saying “no” to the wrong offer leaves you time and energy to say “yes” to the right sponsorship opportunity.