Canine Companions

After launching its first formal sponsorship initiative with the help of ESP, Canine Companions for Independence generated close to $3 million in cash and promotional support, a considerable increase for an organization that generated roughly $130,000 in sponsorship revenue the year prior.

Canine Companions—a nonprofit organization that trains and provides assistance dogs for children and adults with disabilities—was challenged in securing significant sponsorship revenue by a lack of consumer-facing opportunities. Engagement with consumers was limited to dog training and the roughly 250 clients a year who receive a dog.

Working with ESP, Canine Companions identified an alternative asset the organization had not previously leveraged: its organic, relevant story lines. Communications with corporate prospects now show how companies and brands can use the partnership to discuss the services Canine Companions provides and how the partner plays a role in supporting that effort.

In addition to identifying a highly marketable new asset, ESP also revamped how Canine Companions’ packaged its sponsorship rights and benefits, creating four distinct levels of participation.

For a nonprofit that previously offered valuable sponsorship benefits to charitable donors and one-off sponsors, the new packages—along with an ESP valuation—help ensure it is maximizing the value of its sponsorship inventory.

The strategy has helped Canine Companions secure new sponsors (Mattress Discounters) and upsell existing partners (Prudential Group Insurance; PetSmart, Inc.; and The Procter & Gamble Co.’s Eukanuba pet food line). For example, PetSmart expanded its partnership from a $30,000 donation to a five-year, $1.1 million tie.

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