Can Anybody Have A Career Sponsor Or Is It Only For Specific Roles? - Spotlight Data (2022)

Since our school days, we’ve been steered towards mentors who help us grow our ambitions, achieve our goals, and advance as professionals. But career sponsors could be even more important when it comes to the concrete measure that signifies advancement: stretch assignments, promotions, and raises. Having a sponsor, a career champion, can be a game-changer, especially for minority professionals.

For as vital as sponsors are when it comes to career advancement, it seems like we hear less about them than we do about mentors. Can anybody have a career sponsor, or is this just for specific jobs? Here’s what you need to know.

A professional symbiosis.

Most of us have either had a mentor or served as one. Mentors are advisors. They help mentees shape their ambitions and plans. Mentors are qualified to serve in this capacity because they are experienced experts. They have relevant professional experience to offer. Mentors don’t have to work at the same company or even in the same industry as those they mentor. They are sages, coaches, and counselors. We need them, but we need them differently than we need career sponsors.

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Sponsors are senior colleagues. When they notice a junior co-worker’s talent, they take a special interest in developing and advancing that protégés’ career. Sponsors use their connections to help their protégés succeed, advocating for their protégés and helping them to earn raises and promotions. Advancing a talented, emerging professional helps sponsors too. It grows their reputation and leadership skills while advancing the protégé’s career ambitions. It’s a symbiotic relationship rooted in action that furthers both sides’ reputations and aspirations.

Career sponsorships are an important part of advancement. Payscale’s Teresa Perez points out that nearly 57 percent of employees have career sponsors. Employees who have sponsors tend to be better paid. Perez refers to this as “the Sponsorship Premium,” noting that professionals with sponsors earn nearly 12 percent more than their unsponsored peers.

Professionals who hold higher positions tend to benefit from more internal advocacy. Perez explains: “When we look at the data by job level, those higher up the corporate ladder tend to have higher rates of sponsorship. Fifty-five percent of individual contributors (i.e., those who do not manage others) say they have a sponsor. Each step up the organizational ladder sees an increase in sponsorship: 59.2 percent of managers, 63.1 percent of directors, and 65.5 percent of executives say they have a workplace sponsor.”

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In addition to increased compensation, other perks like stretch assignments are some benefits that can come from being sponsored by a senior colleague. George Santos, Director of Talent Delivery and Head of Marketing at 180 Engineering, explains the impact a sponsor’s endorsement can have: “Since they themselves are usually respected members of the company or notable industry figures, their willingness to recommend you goes a long way. They can also help you get access to training that will help advance your career.”

Does my company have sponsorship opportunities?

Santos points out that sponsorships tend to be associated with senior roles at larger companies. However, a personal endorsement is a powerful mechanism for advancing smaller operations, too, though, perhaps, in less formal ways. Santos explains: “candidates sometimes have career sponsors without even realizing it. Personally, I’ve spoken to many employees who ended up landing a promotion thanks to a recommendation from a senior colleague who they may not have even been aware was fighting for them. That being said, career sponsors do play a significant role in how many contemporary businesses decide who to promote.”

Likewise, Santos points out that large companies are not the only ones using internal employee assessments to make promotion and advancement decisions: “Small and medium-sized enterprises are also frequently home to similar dynamics wherein sponsors advocate for their replacement or convince executives to invest in an employee’s training. Even self-employed workers can land clients and get access to funding thanks to career sponsors who give credibility to their work.”

Santos points out that more industries, too, are inviting sponsorship opportunities: “Increasingly, we see the concept of career sponsorship extend beyond the business and tech world and into a plurality of other industries such as education, politics, media, and many other jobs as well.”

Creating quality opportunities for diverse professionals.

In their upcoming book, The Business of Race, authors Margaret H. Greenberg and Gina Greenlee explain: “Sponsorships are one of many practical approaches to advance a company’s diversity goals in a systemized way. How? Executive teams at most large companies conduct a Talent Review Meeting at least annually. This is an opportunity for executives to identify professionals from under-represented groups, such as women and people of color, who can grow with the company. Then they are paired with an executive sponsor.”

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Creating this system and facilitating these relationships can have key bi-products for companies. It can help them address and reduce racial and gender pay gaps. It can also help a company create a leadership pipeline among diverse team members. Finally, it stands to bolster retention by creating a sense of belonging among diverse staff members.

In a recent interview with Harvard Business Review, Sylvia Ann Hewlett, economist and founder of Coqual emphasizes that it’s important for senior professionals to maintain a diverse portfolio of protégés. Hewlett explains: “So it’s about identifying. It’s about including. . . difference matters, and it’s precious.”

Santos points out that sponsorship is a way for leaders to engage mindful minority professionals. He explains: “Unfortunately, minority job candidates are often still disadvantaged in comparison to their peers, as they are often not given their due access to promotions and training opportunities. Career sponsors help rectify this imbalance by calling attention to candidates who deserve to be recognized for their knowledge, hard work, and talent. They can help minority job candidates avoid being overlooked due to ignorance and prejudice, and promote a workforce where diversity is better represented in senior positions.”

A sponsorship relationship is built over time. It’s built on confidence and trust. Santos explains: “There is a lot at stake when it comes to promoting someone to a senior position. As a result, managers and business owners are often cautious about doing so. Career sponsors are people who leverage their own reputation by vouching for your strengths and recommending you as a candidate for career opportunities and promotions. They are important because they advocate for you on your behalf and help mitigate any potential concerns management might have about hiring or promoting you.”

While mentorships are ubiquitous, sponsorship relationships tend to happen by invitation and can therefore be more subtle to pursue. Many companies have mentoring programs that are easy to find and target. Finding a relationship with a sponsor, however, can require a different approach.

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Hewlett explains that sponsorships “often happens fairly organically because the younger person has to display a great deal of value. And oftentimes, the senior person is looking for a value add, you know, a skill or an experience in the younger person that they don’t have themselves, that allows the older person to expand their own scope and span. So it’s very reciprocal. There’s some risk in it. And it’s really about progression for both of the individuals.”

It can be challenging to engineer an organic relationship. Your colleagues stand to be willing to sponsor you if they have confidence in your skills and abilities. Santos explains: “Career sponsorship is tricky because it is not something you can go out and find. The process has to start with your own performance. You need to build your list of achievements and talents so that people are willing to put their own reputations on the line to fight for you behind closed doors. Unless you already have a pre-existing relationship with senior figures at a company, career sponsors have to notice you.”

Other than doing stellar work, Santos recommends taking these steps: “What you can do, however, is increase your chances of being noticed through your work and achievements, as well as by promoting your visibility by taking any opportunities that will allow you to showcase the factors that make you a unique and talented individual. By being transparent in your career goals, you can further your chances of being noticed as well. Finally, you can target your efforts at likely career sponsors by making an effort to recognize senior figures at a company that seems to have a lot of social capital. From there, you should make an effort to form relationships with them based on shared interests and your passion for the job.”

Greenberg and Greenlee add: “For professionals seeking a career sponsor, start by identifying a mentor. He or she may know more about the sponsorship process at your company. They may also be able to broker a relationship with a potential sponsor. Bottom line? Prove your value first by meeting or exceeding job expectations and then be proactive and make your career aspirations known.”

FAQs

How do you get a career sponsor? ›

Who is a career sponsor? ›

Sponsors are senior colleagues. When they notice a junior co-worker's talent, they take a special interest in developing and advancing that protégés' career. Sponsors use their connections to help their protégés succeed, advocating for their protégés and helping them to earn raises and promotions.

What is the role of a career sponsor? ›

A career sponsor elevates your visibility at work, places you in new roles, ensures you get credit and defends you in your absence. Winning a sponsor is not a straightforward process, but there are steps you can take that will help. The first step is to make sure your contributions are noticed.

What is the difference between a sponsor and a mentor? ›

A mentor is a person who gives a protégé advice, answers questions, strategizes career moves and professional development. A sponsor is someone who promotes a protégé to other people to help advance the protégé's career.

Can you ask someone to be your sponsor? ›

There is one way to get a sponsor; you have to ask someone to sponsor you. It's important to remember that you are not stuck with a sponsor forever. If you ask someone to sponsor you and it isn't working out, you can always tell them that you don't think it's a good fit and you want to ask someone else to sponsor you.

What should I ask a career sponsor? ›

For example, you could ask, “if you were in my shoes, what are the next steps you would take?” or “what would you recommend in terms of next steps?” And if you're not sure about how the process works or need feedback on how you're doing, this is the time to ask about that too.

Why you need a sponsor not a mentor? ›

What you really need is a sponsor. Mentors help us grow our individual skills, they listen to our challenges and offer their perspective. But sponsors help us get the next gig. They are individuals who will talk about you when you aren't in the room and argue your case.

How do you identify a sponsor? ›

Determining who is the sponsor

If a person acts as an agent for someone else or is reimbursed for the funds actually used to pay for the ad, the original source of the payment (or the person doing the reimbursing) is the sponsor.

How do you ask your boss for a sponsor? ›

How to Ask Your Boss to Sponsor Your Event Ticket
  1. Start with a 2-sentence pitch. ...
  2. Describe what you'll get out of the event. ...
  3. Link the event to company or individual goals. ...
  4. Create a follow-up plan. ...
  5. Explain what the cost covers. ...
  6. Determine if the event applies to others on your team. ...
  7. Set a timeline. ...
  8. Format and send.
12 Apr 2017

How do I start a sponsorship program at work? ›

4 Tips for organizations developing an executive sponsorship program:
  1. Define your organization's goals. ...
  2. Ensure you have the support of key stakeholders within the organization. ...
  3. Define expectations and train sponsors. ...
  4. Support a culture of sponsorship by providing continued clarity.
24 Feb 2022

What is a personal sponsor? ›

Personal sponsorships offer financial support for a specific individual. A college student seeking to study abroad for a year could raise money for expenses through a personal sponsorship. An amateur golfer preparing for national tournaments could also receive help for expenses through a personal sponsorship.

What makes a great sponsor? ›

Competence: the sponsor must have the knowledge, and skills to fulfil the role. For example, suitable characteristics include strategic view, leadership, collaborative champion, and an understanding of the business case and the needs of the project's client(s).

What is a sponsor in leadership? ›

A sponsor is someone who also talks about you as your active advocate. A mentor is someone who contributes to your development. A sponsor is a leader who is committed to your advancement.

What is a peer sponsor at work? ›

A sponsor may be your boss or another leader, or even a peer, that champions your work and development. This could mean an executive who puts your name up for promotion, or who pushes for you to take the lead in a big project, or even throws public speaking opportunities your way.

How do you ask a company to sponsor you examples? ›

I'm writing to ask you to sponsor [part of your event that needs sponsorship]. With [dollar amount], we'll be able to [insert goal or achievement]. As a thank you, [nonprofit's name] would also like to offer [incentive] and publically announce your partnership with our charitable organization.

What do sponsors get in return? ›

By sponsoring events, companies enjoy a set of perks that typically include the following: Increased brand exposure through the event itself, event advertising, and media coverage. In-event speaking opportunities that help boost their brand equity. Direct contact with an audience full of relatively warm leads.

How much should I ask for sponsorship? ›

Don't sell yourself short. Ask for $10,000 to $100,000 from each sponsor. "I see people asking for $1,000," she said. "That's not going to cut it.

When should I call my sponsor? ›

When you're struggling with a big decision. Ex. relationship issues, work issues, legal challenges or any conflict situation, it's probably to time to make the call. It's not uncommon for people in recovery to question their own judgment.

How do you get an executive sponsor? ›

Ask how your department can assist and in what capacity, and use the opportunity to add an “ask” for executive sponsorship. Be clear on expectations for programs and the support you and your team will need to help your company meet its goals—and get a definitive commitment for sponsorship.

What is the difference between coaching mentoring and sponsorship? ›

In a nutshell: a coach listens to you, a mentor advises you, and a sponsor talks about and acts for you.

What is the difference between a mentor and an advocate? ›

An advocate is not the same thing as a mentor, Dye cautioned. “A mentor can be a friend, a coworker or a therapist who will help you think through what you need to navigate your career more effectively. An advocate is someone who is going to create opportunities for you."

How do you approach a sponsor? ›

Here are some tips so you can make that fantastic first impression and get the meeting going with your best foot forward.
  1. Research potential sponsors. ...
  2. Master the elevator pitch. ...
  3. Let your numbers do the talking. ...
  4. Remember, sponsorship is more than signage. ...
  5. Include interactive activities in the deal.
7 Jul 2020

What do you offer sponsors? ›

Some examples of sponsor ROI for an in person event might include:
  • Logos on printed materials like programs, banners and signage.
  • A booth space where to sell products or advertise services.
  • Names read during announcements.
  • Branded swag (pencils, sunglasses, magnets, etc) distributed in event bags.
  • Logos on event t shirt.
4 Jun 2020

What is targeted sponsorship? ›

What is a Targeted Sponsor? Targeted sponsors support the foundation by helping specific parts of the foundation. For example, targeted sponsors today donate cloud services, fund project hackathons, and provide committer resources.

How do you write a letter asking for sponsorship? ›

How to write a sponsorship letter for an event
  1. Understand the need. ...
  2. Research potential sponsors. ...
  3. Include an introduction. ...
  4. Explain the reason for the letter. ...
  5. Provide information about your audience. ...
  6. Explain the purpose of the event. ...
  7. Add a signature. ...
  8. Follow up with the recipients.
3 Jan 2022

How do you write a sponsorship proposal? ›

How to write your event sponsorship proposal
  1. Describe the event in a nutshell. The event is the meat of the delicious meal you'll serve potential sponsors as you court them for investment. ...
  2. Present your target audience. ...
  3. Demonstrate your track record. ...
  4. Outline your process. ...
  5. Suggest some sponsorship packages.
15 May 2019

How do you get sponsors for a non profit organization? ›

How to get sponsors for your nonprofit event.
  1. Start with local businesses. ...
  2. Reach out to companies that have a crossover with your mission. ...
  3. Consider businesses that are already sponsoring similar fundraising events. ...
  4. Create sponsorship packages to fit different budgets.
1 Dec 2020

How a company can be sponsor to an employee? ›

Getting an employer sponsored green card is a 3-step process. First, your employer is required to get an approved Labor Certification from the United States Department of Labor (DOL). Second, your employer must file an immigrant petition on your behalf (Form I-140).

What is an example of sponsorship? ›

1. Coca-Cola and the Olympic Games. Coca-Cola has been a sponsor of the Olympics since way back in 1928. But its most recent successful collaboration was on the #ThatsGold campaign during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

What qualities should a sponsor have? ›

Some of the things a good sponsor should have include:
  • Substantial Sobriety Time.
  • Active Member of some Fellowship.
  • They're Happy, Joyous, and Free.
  • Extensive 12 Step Knowledge.
  • Being a Person of Integrity.

What does a good sponsor look like? ›

Ideally a sponsor is someone that has been sober for at least one year, and has completed all twelve steps. Some experts recommend choosing a sponsor that has successfully completed five years of sobriety. They Are Not Sexually Attractive: A sponsor is there as an impartial party that you can trust.

What qualities do you look for in a sponsor? ›

How to Find an AA Sponsor
  • Someone You Feel Comfortable With. Feeling at ease with your sponsor is one of the most important qualities to look for. ...
  • Knowledgeable and Experienced. ...
  • A Good Listener. ...
  • Motivational, Not Controlling. ...
  • A Caring Personality. ...
  • Someone Who Is Available.
17 Dec 2021

Who should be a sponsor? ›

You must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You must have a domicile in either the U.S. or a U.S. territory or possession (i.e. you must live there). You must prove an income level at or above 125 percent of the Federal poverty level (100 percent for active duty military personnel).

What are the three most important roles of a sponsor? ›

There are 3 key roles that participants of Prosci's Best Practices Research have identified for sponsors. They are: active and visible sponsorship, communicating directly and building a coalition.

WHAT ARE THE ABCs OF sponsorship? ›

You may already know the ABCs of sponsorship—Active and visible participation, Building a coalition, and Communicating support to promote the change.

Why is sponsorship important? ›

Sponsorship is important to the success of your event in countless ways. Yes, there's the financial backing aspect, but a sponsor also allows you to target bigger, more convenient locations for your event. You can then bring in a larger audience full of potential customers.

How do you become a peer mentor at work? ›

How To Be A Great Peer Mentor
  1. Focus on relationship. ...
  2. Meet consistently and follow up. ...
  3. Share goals and experiences. ...
  4. Hold each other accountable. ...
  5. Coach each other; share what you learn. ...
  6. Create peer mentoring groups. ...
  7. Practice active listening. ...
  8. Confidentiality.
27 Sept 2021

What is sponsorship relationship? ›

According to economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett, author of The Sponsor Effect: How to be a better leader by investing in others, sponsorship is a professional relationship in which an established or rising leader identifies and chooses an outstanding junior talent, develops that person's career and reaps significant rewards ...

How do you ask your boss for a sponsor? ›

How to Ask Your Boss to Sponsor Your Event Ticket
  1. Start with a 2-sentence pitch. ...
  2. Describe what you'll get out of the event. ...
  3. Link the event to company or individual goals. ...
  4. Create a follow-up plan. ...
  5. Explain what the cost covers. ...
  6. Determine if the event applies to others on your team. ...
  7. Set a timeline. ...
  8. Format and send.
12 Apr 2017

Why you need a sponsor not a mentor? ›

What you really need is a sponsor. Mentors help us grow our individual skills, they listen to our challenges and offer their perspective. But sponsors help us get the next gig. They are individuals who will talk about you when you aren't in the room and argue your case.

How do you get a sponsor be a sponsor and make the most of the relationship? ›

Take the initiative to set up meetings at appropriate intervals and keep the sponsor informed. You set the table for the conversation. All your sponsor should have to do is show up, answer your questions and share their advice. And when you do meet with them, listen more than you talk.

How do you identify a sponsor? ›

Determining who is the sponsor

If a person acts as an agent for someone else or is reimbursed for the funds actually used to pay for the ad, the original source of the payment (or the person doing the reimbursing) is the sponsor.

How do I contact a company for sponsorship? ›

To obtain a corporate sponsorship, make sure you do the following:
  1. Choose companies with values more aligned to yours.
  2. Give something back to them.
  3. Have a strong, clear, engaging proposal.
  4. Don't wait until right before your event to ask for a sponsorship.
  5. If you know how much money you need, ask for it outright.

What makes you a good candidate for sponsorship? ›

Sponsorship sales staff need to be excellent communicators and listeners, which means having solid writing skills. In fact, writing a great proposal or pitch is vital to the sponsorship process, which is why it's important to vet candidates for their writing chops.

How do you ask a company to sponsor you examples? ›

I'm writing to ask you to sponsor [part of your event that needs sponsorship]. With [dollar amount], we'll be able to [insert goal or achievement]. As a thank you, [nonprofit's name] would also like to offer [incentive] and publically announce your partnership with our charitable organization.

What is a personal sponsor? ›

Personal sponsorships offer financial support for a specific individual. A college student seeking to study abroad for a year could raise money for expenses through a personal sponsorship. An amateur golfer preparing for national tournaments could also receive help for expenses through a personal sponsorship.

How do I start a sponsorship program at work? ›

4 Tips for organizations developing an executive sponsorship program:
  1. Define your organization's goals. ...
  2. Ensure you have the support of key stakeholders within the organization. ...
  3. Define expectations and train sponsors. ...
  4. Support a culture of sponsorship by providing continued clarity.
24 Feb 2022

What is the difference between coaching mentoring and sponsorship? ›

In a nutshell: a coach listens to you, a mentor advises you, and a sponsor talks about and acts for you.

When should I call my sponsor? ›

When you're struggling with a big decision. Ex. relationship issues, work issues, legal challenges or any conflict situation, it's probably to time to make the call. It's not uncommon for people in recovery to question their own judgment.

What does relationship to sponsor mean? ›

The sponsor/sponsee relationship is designed to build on that sense of community. It's a close, connected partnership between someone who has experience with the program and someone who is new to recovery. Together, they work the program of recovery and keep one another on track.

What do sponsors get in return? ›

By sponsoring events, companies enjoy a set of perks that typically include the following: Increased brand exposure through the event itself, event advertising, and media coverage. In-event speaking opportunities that help boost their brand equity. Direct contact with an audience full of relatively warm leads.

How do you approach a sponsor? ›

Here are some tips so you can make that fantastic first impression and get the meeting going with your best foot forward.
  1. Research potential sponsors. ...
  2. Master the elevator pitch. ...
  3. Let your numbers do the talking. ...
  4. Remember, sponsorship is more than signage. ...
  5. Include interactive activities in the deal.
7 Jul 2020

What do you offer sponsors? ›

Some examples of sponsor ROI for an in person event might include:
  • Logos on printed materials like programs, banners and signage.
  • A booth space where to sell products or advertise services.
  • Names read during announcements.
  • Branded swag (pencils, sunglasses, magnets, etc) distributed in event bags.
  • Logos on event t shirt.
4 Jun 2020

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