Friday, October 14, 2005

Deciding What to Sponsor

What should the firm pay for and what should a partner pay for? A really tough question. Because I need to answer this question for the first time at a new firm (where prior policy and practices have washed back and forth across blurred lines) I am working on an attempt to define a clearer set of understandings. At this moment... here is my take (opinions and feedback are MOST welcome):
  1. Financial contribution supports a cause personal to the partner or personal to the client of the partner then it is a personal expense. These are typically “donations” and beyond strengthening the personal relationships between one partner and one client will have no real impact on new business for the firm. Examples include scouting fundraisers, school activities, and demographic and cultural causes.
  2. Financial contribution supports the client organization in some internally driven cause. The cause may lead to deeper introductions within the client organization but the benefit is still contained to one partner only. Examples include (client) employee raffles and parties, and attending client centric team building getaways.
  3. Financial contribution supports the professional interests of the client or a professional organization championed by the client and includes the opportunity to introduce additional firm partners to new business development opportunities. Examples include client supported industry councils, professional development roundtables/seminars, and business junkets with client peers.
  4. Financial contribution purchases equal access for two or more partners to develop new relationships and business opportunities. Examples are industry organizations/associations, conferences, roundtables, and any activity function where the decision to attend is to gain access to a targeted group.
Now... with definitions in hand, the question is: Where is the line? What activities should a firm pay for and what activities should a partner pay for with personal funds?

ANY feedback would be useful here.
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