What is the thinking behind ACC National Capital Region’s Sponsorship Program?
ACC National Capital Region relies on the support of its sponsors to help it provide vital services to its almost 2,500 members. When we initiated sponsorships more than 10 years ago, we took a piecemeal, event-by-event approach. That worked initially, but as our mission and services expanded, we realized we needed a more global approach to our relationship with our sponsors. We also believed that a more comprehensive approach to sponsorship would better serve our sponsors – giving them more touch-points with our membership. The current program takes a much broader view of the benefits we can bring to our sponsors and the needs of the chapter, and allows us – and you – to plan the ways in which we will work together.
In 2018, will sponsors have “right of first refusal” for the sponsorships they held in 2017?
We value our relationships with our sponsors and are very happy to have a year-to-year retention rate of approximately 90 percent. Nonetheless, the Board feels it is important that continuing sponsors have maximum flexibility to move to a new sponsorship level at the start of each year, and that and potential new sponsors have options for entry points. The Board chose to continue with the sponsor selection process that has been in place for several years, and not implement a “right of first refusal” for returning sponsors.
What are the main differences between the 2018 Program and the 2017 Program?
The tiered levels of sponsorship and benefits associated with each level have not changed from 2017. ACC National Capital Region was very pleased and grateful for the successful year and, overall, we had received favorable feedback from our sponsors about the value of the relationship from their perspective. By and large, the features of this year’s Sponsorship Program are the same as in 2017’s program. The tiers and benefits associated with them have not changed. We will continue top explore new ways to ensure sponsors are getting ROI for their support. There is a modest price increase in some of the levels.
This year’s Sponsorship Program includes new opportunities specifically connected with the newly launched Leadership Academy, a best-in-class, nine-month leadership development program that provides the tools and skills in-house attorneys need to optimize their leadership potential and succeed at the highest levels of their organizations. We have two opportunities for firms to be Academy “Champions,” and six opportunities for sponsors at other levels to add on an Academy “Host” sponsorship.
What ROI can we expect from sponsorship?
We completely understand that marketing budgets are tight and that there are many organizations and business development opportunities competing for those limited dollars. We sincerely believe that ACC NCR sponsorships provide the best opportunity for law firms and services providers to meet and develop relationships with in-house counsel in this region.
- Sponsors gets to demonstrate their expertise and insights to an in-house audience that they might not otherwise meet. You can maximize this business development opportunity by providing these potential clients with information they can use to do their jobs better. They will remember you when the issue you helped them understand becomes more complex than they can handle.
- Even at networking events (such as the signature luncheons you attend and the Corporate Counsel Awards reception) you will be able to make new connections in the in-house community. Perhaps you will run into an old friend or a current or former client at one of these events and he or she will sing your praises to one of their in-house friends. And you never know when a casual conversation can lead to coffee or lunch, or a new client.
- We frequently hear from our members about their satisfaction with the services they receive from ACC NCR. They are well aware (and we frequently remind them) that the support we receive from our sponsors plays a big role in our ability to provide those services, and they take note of who those sponsors are.
- In 2018, we will again hold an event with marketing and business development representatives from our sponsor firms to discuss ways in which our sponsor firms can use these opportunities to their best advantage.
- The 2017 ROI event examined how we can help our sponsor firms prepare their associates to be good relationship partners with their in-house counsel clients. In 2018, we plan to hold follow-on events for attorneys from our sponsor firms to meet with ACC NCR leaders and members to build on those discussions, and would welcome your suggestions on how to structure these events.
- Eeach sponsor will receive a quarterly “report card” summarizing its utilization of sponsorship benefits and opportunities, to help you better track the progress of the year.
At bottom, business development is all about relationships. While we cannot promise you a new client or a new matter, ACC NCR sponsorship gives you the platform to make, develop and nurture the relationships that are essential to business development.
What happens after we are selected as a sponsor in terms of our getting on the CLE calendar?
After sponsors are selected, we are in touch to solicit their ideas for CLE topics and/or any information they can provide about the area(s) they may want to present on. The more information you can provide up-front, the better. Our calendar evolves over the course of the year and is influenced by current events and developments, and suggestions we receive from our volunteer leaders, members and sponsors. ACC NCR works collaboratively with all sponsors to develop and refine CLE topics. See our Sponsor Guidelines for more details on the program development process.
Are there any options for sponsoring a single CLE program?
There is a very narrow window of opportunity to work with ACC NCR on a single CLE program. Because our geographic footprint extends throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, we have Regional Supporter Opportunities for firms to work with us to present a CLE in south/central Virginia (Richmond/Glen Allen, Norfolk/Virginia Beach, etc.). Otherwise, because of our obligations to our annual sponsors, we are unable to fit in any such opportunities in the D.C.-metro area without overbooking our calendar and diminishing the value of the annual sponsorships.