FAQ: What Steps Should We Take to Get Corporate Sponsor for Our Upcoming Sport Program/ Event?

Don't work with assumption when it comes to seeking for sponsor... so you don't end up making some costly mistakes that will jeopardize all your effort.

My first answer to the numerous callers who ask me "what steps they should take in getting a Corporate Sponsor for their Sport program/ event" is always... Get a sport marketing agency or consultant to support your effort. They have the requisite knowledge and skills to help you pull through every step all the way.

When making your plan to seek for a sponsor, recognize that corporate sponsorship is not a philanthropic donation, but a form of brand advertising. The primary reason for sponsorship is to conjure up positive associations between the corporate brand and the sport program/ event in the mind of the target audiences.

So your Sponsorship proposal should make business sense as well as fit into the company's corporate goals and objectives. These are the recommended steps you could take to ensure success.

10 Steps to Getting Corporate Sponsorship for your Sport event or Club
1. Analyze your sport event
Answer this one important question: why should Xyz Company undertake to sponsor your sport program/ event? In other words, what do your sport program/ event have to offer to attract corporate sponsors?

Go ahead to analyze the audiences your sport program/ event usually or is capable of attracting. What are their demography in terms of size, gender, age, and income... perhaps, their psycho-graphic lifestyle and buying pattern?

What media coverage can the sport program/ event attract: television, radio or press... social media such as twitter, YouTube, face book... to give the sponsor a wider reach of the target audiences globally.

Analyze possible advertising exposure the corporate sponsor can get at the sport venue(s) as well as how many human billboards that can put on the company's branded shirts and accessories. Use all these information to draft your offers to the prospective sponsor.

2. Research prospective Companies
Before you send out sponsorship request or proposal, first research prospective companies that might be interested in sponsoring your event.

Usually potential sponsors are companies with large advertising budgets that are doing a lot of local advertising, large public companies like Glo, Star lager beer, Milo, GTBank, Total...that want to maintain good community relations, companies trying to gain market share in a particular market, or new companies that are trying to establish their brand.

You have to do some sort of research to discover companies and brands that are interested in reaching the same audiences your sport program/event is attracting. Research can be done through government directories, company websites, advertising directories and local media.

3. Find an insider from those prospective companies
One wrong move and all your efforts are thrown into a refuse bin. Perhaps, it could be applied in other countries, but here in Nigeria, you may easily play into the hands of the gatekeepers if you call prospective companies directly without underground work.

Look for a staff that works directly with the Head of Marketing or Brand manager in each of the prospective companies. Ask the staff for a date and in that meeting offer him a deal in exchange for inside information and guidance on how to sell to his company the Sponsorship of your sport program/ event. You are unlikely to miss your steps if you have the right insiders working with you. These will form the basis for negotiations.

4. Customize Sponsorship Proposal for each prospective Sponsor.
Do not write a general proposal to all prospective companies. They could easily find out that you didn't do a good work in understanding the unique sponsorship need of their company. So your proposal may not make much business sense to them.

For every prospective company you discover in your research, also find out what their corporate goals and objectives are when it comes to sponsorship. They could be among those I listed here:

According to research, the following were the goals and objectives that most often influenced the decisions of a company to enter into sport sponsorship agreement:
  • - To increase public awareness of the company, the product or both
  • -To alter or reinforce public perception of the company
  • - To identify the company with a particular  market segments
  • - To involve the company in the community development
  • - To build goodwill among decision makers
  • - To generate media benefits
  • - To achieve sales objectives
  • - To create an advantage over competitors through association or exclusivity
  • - To gain unique opportunities in terms of hospitality and entertainment
  • - To secure entitlement or naming rights.

5. Submit Sponsorship Proposal to the right Department/ officer and Avoid Gatekeepers
Many of these prospective companies receive hundreds, if not thousands of Sponsorship proposals each day from sponsorship seekers.. Of course, they cannot sponsor every Dick and Harry proposal that people submit to them. Therefore, they set gatekeepers on the way to stop or decline most of these sponsorship proposals. Don't submit your proposals to the following department or officers, they are likely to be gatekeepers: CEO/ MD, Corporate communications or Corporate affairs manager; Receptionist or Front desk officer, Security man...

You must be careful not to fall into the hands of gatekeepers, who without regards will throw your Sponsorship proposal into the waste bin. Look out for the Head of marketing or the brand manager; they are the ones that has the authority to accept your proposal because they manage the advertising budget.  I wrote an article that full explains how to submit your Sponsorship Proposals avoiding Gatekeepers.

Continue Reading (The concluding part of the article)

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