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Jamaica runs on corporate sponsorship; it runs on sponsorship, more generally, too. You cannot go to any private event of any size and not see the logos and brands of major corporations. They provide actual funding; they provide products and services; they provide organizational knowhow. They are needed to get things up and running. They get recognition for the help they offer. It’s a competitive environment. One corporation does not want to have its recognition blurred by the appearance–legitimate or not–of a competitor. If you are getting Digicel to help, with their branding festooned over the place, they don’t want to see LIME logos all over the place, too.

But, apart from events, people in Jamaica depend on sponsors (outside of government support programs).

  • Going to school or university? Can someone help with fees?
  • Making a trip? Someone can help with the fare?
  • Have some service workers? Expect to be tapped for some financial or material help.

Jamaica’s not unique in this regard, but one feels that sponsors are more important for every day activities, than say in the USA. They seem to feature more than they do in countries that are very poor. That may just be impressionistic.

But, that’s not to say that people can find sponsors easily. Someone commented yesterday that sponsors are out there but people do not know how to apply for their help. Sounds as if a new activity needs to come into being as ‘sponsorship finder’.

I’ve just been in some meetings about school fund-raising and much of the time was taken up discussing who would sponsor; whether the sponsor could be more generous; how to balance potentially competing sponsors.

People tear into private corporations and their alleged failings. But, what about their discharging of corporate responsibilities? It’s not something they are compelled to do, but it’s done often without much recognition.

Among the many ways that people have managed to survive the decades-long recession that has been the Jamaican economy has been their ability to get someone else’s dollar to work for them, largely through sponsorship. The question that raises is how can corporates continue to be such good sponsors in an economy that seems to have been in decades-long recession?

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