In search of the sponsor that offers the perfect fit

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Wooden blocks spelling

For a long time I have been intrigued by the question of what makes a company decide to sponsor someone or something. In the ideal scenario, the connection between sponsor and sponsored should be an obvious one. Yet sponsorship often creates confusion: what exactly links a company to a particular sport or museum? This question has driven me for much of my life: I was only a little girl when I first realised that men in suits would rather sponsor footballers than gymnasts like me. My search to find out why started at an early age, and with it my quest for the perfect fit.

Being part of something that is bigger than me fills me with energy Leonie Verwer Leonie Verwer Programme manager Sponsoring & Events and former trainee

Deliberate career choice

I started choosing my own direction during my traineeship at ABN AMRO. Fifteen months of orientation, inspiration and development later I made a deliberate choice, and in September 2014 I began working for Sponsoring & Events, a department within Communications & Sustainability. I became acquainted with this department during the final four months of my traineeship.

Partner of the Future

At ABN AMRO, the Sponsoring & Events department and the ABN AMRO Foundation are pursuing a new social sponsorship strategy called ‘Partner of the Future’. The bank’s function is to support people and institutions seeking to achieve something, by helping them to uncover their talents or realising their ambitions. I joined the department at the ideal moment: we were busy with our quest for the perfect fit. The sponsorship strategy was launched (literally) last January at the Ajax youth complex De Toekomst. Now we need to gather evidence to present Partner of the Future to the public. This is a wonderful process to be part of, bringing us closer and closer to our identity. It means that we are developing talent programmes with athletes such as Richard Krajicek and Esther Vergeer. Sadly, it also means ending some partnerships that go back a long way.

Something bigger

Being part of something that is bigger than me fills me with energy. I firmly believe that people need each other and can learn from each other. Just like a traineeship, it can be useful to exchange ideas with people from other departments – as is illustrated by the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, our biggest event, or the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. Besides my involvement in various sponsorship projects, I am also developing a communication plan for Partner of the Future. A team from Internal Communication, Social Media and the Press Office are defining what Partner of the Future means. I also talk to the Sustainability department and create video footage with the people from Internet & Direct Media. As I discovered during my traineeship, making connections is what I enjoy and where I excel. The benefits of being part of something bigger are an added bonus, in my view: two heads are better than one.

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