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The Community Bank: Step One – Sponsorships

By September 25, 20173 min read

A guide on building your relationships and growing engagement with your customers.

The popular trend for banks these days is to market themselves as the “community” bank. It’s not at all a surprising move given the fierce competition in the financial services industry. The goal is to build relationships and engagement with those in the community as a means to increase a bank’s profitability. However, with nearly every local bank going with this approach, it has led to message fatigue among the target audience. It has gotten to the point where banks must now prove they are committed to the community – to demonstrate it with their actions.

These community Bank blogs are designed to help your bank and credit union achieve this end. Our posts will provide you with a blueprint for action that have a proven track record for getting results. The content will cover areas such as sponsorships, events, donations, community drives and more – all complete with tips and insights to help you leverage them to your full benefit. These models, if followed through with faithfully, will lead to better engagement with your key demographics and stronger relationship for the future.

It begins with sponsorships.


One of the first steps for any new campaign or organizations is to raise awareness. Let your target market know that you’re here and ready to serve them. Sponsorships are some of the best ways to make a direct impact in your community as it shows potential clients that you are willing to make a local investment. However, as with everything, there is an art to sponsorships and they must be done in the right way.

Sponsorships are, in a nutshell, financial or in-kind support for an activity, event or trade-show. They are not the same things as philanthropy. You have business goals and advertising needs that you are trying to meet as opposed to providing an altruistic public good. The goal is to create associations between the event you are sponsoring and your organization. When locals go to a blood drive or bake sale, for example, they should be able to see your sponsorship of the event and make the connection that you are making an investment in them.

Once you have established your business goals and created your budget for the event, the task turns towards finding an event that matches what you are trying to achieve. They key is to go to where your consumers are. If you are trying to increase the number of home loans or sponsor school-related activities, you’ll need to find your customers. Go to your business district to offer retirement saving packages. Associating your organization with popular events is a great way to raise overall awareness. There is an event available for whichever metric you are trying to achieve.

Finding an event is only half of the trouble – you need to do your research on the event. No organization wants to be associated with either a negative event or a negative brand. Sponsorships are already tricky enough to manage correctly and glossing over a step as simple as this would only work against you. Don’t let a great opportunity work against you because of an oversight. Cover your bases and do your research.

Sponsorships provide a great opportunity for your business to raise awareness and create associations. They are the vital first steps towards embedding your bank in the community. The aforementioned details provide a quality springboard from which to begin. Here are a few final things to consider:

  • Sponsorships work best as a relationship. Try to find the same events and associate your name with them year after year for best results.
  • Be selective – don’t feel the need to sponsor every event available to you. Carefully choosing where and when to drop your name will add prestige to your brand.
  • Don’t be afraid to work with organizers on developing creative ways to showcase your company. Remember that you are both working together towards creating a great event.



Sarah Patrick

Design, branding and bringing creative solutions to our brand and financial partners is what Sarah Patrick is passionate about. She also loves a good crossword puzzle, doing yoga and exploring new coffee shops around town.