So you want to set up a partnership or sponsorship for your ONA Local group — yes, you can do that! Here’s our advice on how to identify, set up and nurture a good partnership.
Brainstorming potential partners and sponsors
When you’re thinking about approaching partners and sponsors for your ONA Local events, work with your co-organizer(s) to make a list of local news organizations, startups, media tech organizations, and products and services that have a local presence and that could be of interest for journalists. Think about other journalism, tech and civic organizations with a local presence, nonprofits, and other groups that have a vested interest in keeping digital journalism strong. Make sure you note any contacts you have at any of these organizations that you could reach out to as a starting point.
A few considerations to take into account when you’re identifying partners and sponsors:
- How long has the organization been around?
- Is its product new and innovative?
- Will event attendees benefit from this service?
- Do they have a network you want to recruit to the group?
- Is there a potential for an ongoing or evolving partnership?
- Who else are they working with? Other associations or societies, media clients?
- Does this product or service pose any liability in association to ONA? Is this a product or service we want to be associated with? (Please review ONA’s Sponsorship, Donor and Gift Policy.)
Kicking off a partnership
When you set up a conversation with a potential sponsor or partner, make sure you talk through what everyone is getting out of the partnership. Have ready some basic information about your group: how many people typically attend events? What topics are they most interested in?
Also be ready to tell them exactly what would be helpful for you. You may consider:
- Hosting a meetup in their event space
- Trainings and product demos
- Food and drinks
Think of this as an ongoing relationship: how can you introduce the sponsor or partner to the community (it’s a great idea to invite them to attend an event first so they can get a feel for the group!) and how could the partnership continue to evolve?
If you have a sponsor that needs to transfer money to your group, that money will come to ONA and be set aside for ONA Local. ONA will invoice your sponsor directly. Do not open a bank account for your group! (Find more information on financials for your group.)
Want an introduction?
ONA often works with organizations looking to support and connect with our ONA Local groups. Groups best positioned for this level of support meet regularly, have a robust/growing contact list and are open to partners/sponsors speaking (briefly) or being considered as speakers at meetups. If you’d like some help connecting with partners for your group, let us know!
Got a lead on a partner that could be useful to the wider ONA community?
We’d love to meet them! Send a note to Jessica Strelitz, ONA’s Head of Strategic Partnerships.