Sponsorship is a business deal between two parties where both parties benefit from the arrangement. It is an agreement or contract with terms that are quite specific. Value must be given and received by both sides.
Sponsors no longer accept any club or organisation approaching them to ask for something without something being given in return.
As there are hundreds of groups searching for sponsorship monies, there is an incredible variety of sponsorship requests for potential sponsors to consider. The chances of securing sponsorship will be much better if a proposal is prepared and presented in a professional manner.
Generally a club will be seeking funding for equipment or specific goods and resources. In return, the sponsor will expect to obtain company or brand name exposure which enhances their name and encourages people to buy their products.
As the money a company invests on sponsorship often comes from its advertising or public relations budget, be prepared to argue that $1000 spent putting a company logo on your club jumper is a better investment than money spent on advertising in the local paper, on radio or on television.
For best results your club should consider appointing a sponsorship coordinator – download Sponsorship Coordinator Job Description.
Begin planning and budgeting for your sponsorship a year in advance, if possible. Make sure all planning and budgeting is in line with the overall plan of the club. Gather all interested club members to discuss what direction should be taken. This has two benefits. Firstly, it gets the entire club involved in the sponsorship drive and secondly, it gives officials an opportunity to explain why the money is needed.
The following points need to be considered before searching for sponsors:
Proposals can be presented in the following ways:
Every proposal must be positive, professionally presented and personalised to the targeted company. It should contain all the necessary information and not venture into irrelevant detail.
The proposal should be neatly typed and presented. Begin by offering the potential sponsor an "opportunity" to raise their profile, improve their image or boost sales, etc. Keep it positive and include a short history of your club.
Be definite about what you require from the deal. If it’s money, uniforms, travel, etc, say so in full detail.
Budget carefully and don't underestimate your needs. Once the deal is signed, it's very hard to re-negotiate.
Include a forecast showing budgeted costs, expected income and the resultant shortfall which the sponsor is being asked to meet.
Include background information relating to your club and appropriate statistics such as membership size, income and expenses. Give examples of club activities.
This is what the potential sponsor really wants to hear. Be clear about what your club can offer the company. Include your ideas on activities, publicity, signage, slogans, opportunities for increased product sales and media coverage. Don't lump all the information together in lengthy, wordy paragraphs. Be concise and use numbered points and sub-headings.
So, in summary the sponsorship proposal should contain:
All sorts of other information can be included to help your cause but keep it relevant.
Arrange a time to make a formal presentation of your proposal. Dress according to the standards of the company. Wear similar dress standards to the people to be met. It is important that your sponsor can identify with you immediately. Arrive promptly at the meeting with a copy of the proposal. Be up-front, enthusiastic, and get quickly to the point.
A few basic rules are:
To ensure continuity, LOOK AFTER YOUR SPONSOR.
It is a good idea to put one club member in charge of looking after and communicating with the sponsor. A one-on-one link should keep information flowing freely between the two parties.
The sponsor will be able to quickly contact the club if the need arises. The delegated official should ensure the sponsor is kept well informed and is accorded special treatment.
Many sponsors like to use sponsorship occasions to entertain so make sure they are sent tickets to events, given free entries for their staff and are given the opportunity to meet the players.
A contract can be drawn up by the club and taken to the meeting with the sponsor. However, a potential sponsor is likely to have definite ideas on how they want their investment employed.
Draw up a requirements form leaving spaces for the potential sponsor to fill in their specifications. If you don't have a form, take detailed notes from which a contract can later be drawn up. Following the meeting, a contract letter can be prepared for both parties to sign. Where large sums are involved, it will be necessary to use a lawyer to draw up the contract and witness its signing.
Note: Many sponsors will have their own contract already drawn up. Take time to read all clauses and ensure your club can fulfill each aspect.
Often there are delays between the time the sponsorship is confirmed and when the money is required. You should provide the sponsor with regular reports. Send the sponsor clippings of media coverage obtained or samples of any printed material with the sponsor's name or logo on them.
Unless otherwise agreed the sponsor should see and endorse any promotional material or press releases bearing their name.
Meet with the sponsor once the project is over to discuss how the deal went. Find out if the sponsor was happy, why or why not? If the sponsor wants to keep up their involvement find out what improvements they would like made. If the sponsor wants to cut ties with the club find out why. If the club has made mistakes make moves to ensure they are avoided in the future.
Produce a sponsorship report which shows the history of the project from start to finish. Show how you used the sponsorship and whether it delivered all that was promised. Include a record of all the publicity obtained.
Recognise and implement the means of promoting sponsors. Use your imagination. Here are a few ideas:
The best way of achieving this is to keep records of all press cuttings and radio and television tapes if possible. A scrapbook should be kept or, depending on the sponsor, copies of all clippings sent direct to them.
Copies of annual reports, newsletters, minutes of meetings, activity reports and photographs should also be sent to sponsors.
Remember that sponsorship is a business deal and the company wants to get value for its investment. Continually look for further avenues to promote your sponsor. Always remember to thank a company, whether they agree to help you or not.
The company that says no today may be in a better position to help tomorrow.