Sponsorship: How to get it and how to keep it
Ten tips for the local sporting club
1. Get professional – As a sporting club you need to be professional to stand out from the crowd. Some businesses receive hundreds of sponsorship proposals from local sporting clubs every week. No longer can sponsorship be expected. A professional presentation indicates a professional club, intimating higher chance of a return on investment.
2. Design creative sponsorship opportunities – Signage is simply not enough. Be serious about it. There are hundreds of sporting ovals all offering the same product – is your signage better than the rest? Be creative, offer unique opportunities for potential sponsors and make sure they have a synergy with the business. Such unique opportunities will ensure greater brand retention for the sponsor. If they provide the sponsor with the opportunity to engage with your members, supporters and their families even better.
3. Develop a list of targets – Don’t waste your time or someone else’s sending proposals to any business. Have a set of questions to guide you through the process of elimination. Are they local? Are they proactive in finding customers? Are they active in your community? Do you honestly think you could help them get a return on their investment? Would they be a good fit with your club? If you answer yes to each of these questions then target them, your likely success will be far greater.
4. Know your targets – So you’ve now produced a list of businesses that you want to target. Research and then research some more. Include this information in your proposal and you can guarantee your proposal will stand out. Don’t be ridiculous about it though. Use it to demonstrate that you understand their business and this will provide you with credibility.
5. Tailor your proposal – Use the information you have gained from your research. Do they advertise with the purpose of seeking business? Then provide them with networking opportunities. Are they looking to get involved with the community? Then provide them with engaging activities. Are they looking to simply be seen within the community? Then load them up with signage. The key message here is tailor the offering. Their judgement will be purely based upon what you can do for them. Make a formidable argument.
6. Get your sponsorship network active – Appreciating the old adage of ‘it’s who you know and not what you know’ will hold you in good stead. Encourage your sponsors to use each other, the more business that can be thrown around within your network of sponsors, players, supporters and friends the better the return on investment. If this occurs then renewing becomes a business decision for your sponsors and one that they can not refuse.
7. Get involved in the community – Following on from the last point, you never know who will next put you onto a sponsor. Getting involved in the community creates another network. It also says to businesses that you are an active club and you will provide them with opportunities to put them in front of their customers.
8. Engage your players and family –This point refers to engaging your players and their families as sponsorship personnel for your club. They might just provide you with a handy sponsorship lead. At the very least why not ask your players what their parents do when registering with the club. This might identify that a parent owns a business or is employed by a business you are targeting.
9. Make the effort – Across the board, make the effort. Potential sponsors want to see that you are a proactive club run by individuals dedicated to success. This will reinforce to them that you will do everything you say you will in your proposal. This includes offering ad-hoc opportunities to the sponsor as they arise throughout the season.
10. Engage the Sponsor –The business that gets the most from a sponsorship is one that gets itself involved. This is sometimes harder than you would imagine. Without being pushy you need them to get along to functions to have them working for the network and their sponsorship. This will lead to greater return on investment and increase the emotional attachment with the club.
** Source: ON.Q Marketing, posted by Quentin Aisbett on 28, April 2010