No matter what shape the economy is in, sponsors still need to market their brands. Sponsorship is about marketing, not philanthropy–a fact that often alludes many non-profit idealists. So let’s pretend the stars align. Your offer letter gets read. You score a meeting. What then? Pop the question. Not that question.
If there is only one question to ask a sponsor, it’s this: “What do you want your customers to say about you?” Of course there are plenty of follow up questions: How do you want them to say it? (To eachother? In an email? On Facebook? As a Tweet?) How can our relationship get them talking about you that way?
Consider the question a theme. Anyone looking to build a brand in partnership with a cause, event or organization will appreciate being asked this question. Ask away. And listen very carefully to the answer. Therein lies the sense of fit that helps both parties win.