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 2019, will sponsors have “right of first refusal” for the sponsorships they held in 2018?
We value our relationships with our sponsors and are very happy to have a year-to-year retention rate of more than 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 potential new sponsors have options for entry points. The Board has chosen 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 2019 Program and the 2018 Program?
ACC National Capital Region was very pleased and grateful for the successful year and, overall, we continue to receive favorable feedback from our sponsors about the value of the relationship from their perspective. With a few exceptions, the features of this year’s Sponsorship Program are the same as in 2018’s program. The tiered levels of sponsorship and benefits associated with each level have not changed very much from 2018. We will continue to explore new ways to ensure sponsors are maximizing the ROI for their support. There is a modest price increase in some of the levels.
This year’s Sponsorship Program once again includes opportunities specifically connected with the new 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.
While retaining our previous sponsorship options, we are adding a variety of new opportunities for sponsors to engage with our members, as well as some additional benefits:
- Sponsorship of Social, Community-Based, and Greater Virginia CLE Programs. Existing sponsors may add-on the sponsorship of a social, community-based, or Greater Virginia CLE program. To the extent available, new sponsors may have the opportunity to host such programs. Like all sponsored ACC NCR programs, such events will be planned in collaboration with volunteer leaders to meet the interest and needs of ACC NCR members and deliver the maximum benefit to members and sponsors.
- Business Partner Sponsors. This sponsorship is for non-law firm organizations that are interested in getting to know our chapter and members through attending events, but either are not interested in or not ready to provide CLE programming.
- Social Media. ACC NCR is expanding its social media presence. Starting in 2019, ACC NCR will post pre-event and post-event announcements to its social media accounts noting sponsors and linking and tagging your organization as appropriate.
- Corporate Scholars Program. The ACC NCR Corporate Scholars Program is dedicated to increasing diversity in the in-house community by placing diverse law students in summer internships with member legal departments. Over the course of 15 summers, ACC NCR has placed more than 100 Corporate Scholars in summer internships. It is one of the chapter’s most successful and important initiatives. Every sponsor whose level of support of ACC NCR contributes to this program will be able to send at least one representative (depending on level) to a social event with members welcoming the 2019 Corporate Scholars.
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.
- 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 2019, we will again hold an event with marketing and business development representatives and lawyers from our sponsor firms to discuss ways in which our sponsor firms can use these opportunities to their best advantage.
- The 2018 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 2019, 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.
- Each sponsor will receive periodic updates or reports on its utilization of sponsorship benefits and opportunities.
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 will be in touch to discuss programs and solicit your ideas for CLE topics and/or any information you can provide about the area(s) you 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 programs 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. Our geographic footprint extends throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Sponsors may present a CLE program in what we refer to as “Greater Virginia” (Richmond/Glen Allen, Norfolk/Virginia Beach, etc.) as either part of their allotted CLE programs or as a single event through the new opportunity listed above. 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.