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Black Impact

Updated: Feb 2

Last summer, my opening keynote at SponsorshipX Whistler was entitled Impact over Impressions, and I shared my model for making change. 

I want to recycle and reuse this idea for my message to kick off Black History Month 2023. To help the Black community, we need to create an Impact, not merely generate Impressions. If you are a member of the Black community, you need to measure the impact you are making to help. If you are a collaborator of my community, you, too, should recognize that 2023 is the year of outcomes over output. 

My message to every company that wants to help during Black History Month is similar. Create Impact. Measure it. I mean real effects. Where to start? That is easy. 

  1. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is. Many organizations want to donate their volunteer time, their products or services, or their marketing channels to Black organizations. That is nice as an add-on, but the base layer needs to be cold hard cash. You know in your business that cash is king; fledging black organizations need your financial commitment. 

  2. Your Idea Is a Bad Idea. I believe in every brainstorming, there are a lot of bad ideas. When it comes to helping other communities, you should not create ideas unless you are a cohort member. Black folks know what needs fixing. Non-Black folks don’t. So let those in the community come up with the solutions. There are many intelligent, talented, experienced, and well-trained partners to invest in and support.

  3. Every Month Is Black History Month. One of my young colleagues said this to me over a year ago, and it has stuck. I hope it will stick with you. The Black Community needs your help 24/7/365. Your commitment to the Black Community is not a commitment if it has a twenty-eight-day shelf life. 

The sponsorship marketing industry has been working hard on many issues - providing access to sports & music for children, tackling gender equity, and climate threats. Now powerful groups such as the Carnegie Initiative, the Black Opportunity Fund, The Reading Partnership, and the Black Talent Initiative (disclose I am a co-founder) are making an Impact with their every breath. Your support of these groups can be a vital step towards actual equity. 


Mark Harrison



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