Putting Your Sponsors First

More often than not, an individual charged with the responsibility of raising money will think how he or she is going to attract support for the venture, team, sporting activity or other worthy cause by adding up the money that needs to be raised. Efforts will be put into coming up with this figure and how individual packages are going to be made available to potential sponsors. Often this effort is given much more attention than the actual calculation of sponsor benefits to start off with.

One of the secrets to how to get sponsorship dollars, and there are several, is to always look at the proposal from the point of view of the company that you are approaching. It’s best to start off afresh and really ask why that organization would want to be involved with you anyway. Don’t attach any dollar figures whatsoever at this stage of your investigation.

Sponsorship is not a philanthropic act, as popular culture has led many of us to believe along the way. The marketing director is certainly not in this frame of mind and needs to be sure that his company is seeing a real benefit, whether it is tangible or intangible before anything further is said.

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If you don’t value sponsor benefits when you’re looking for corporate backing, you have almost no chance of getting past the gatekeeper. There are many thousands of requests arriving at a typical marketing director’s in box or secretary’s desk and the majority of them are not considered. Adequate thought and preparation is not put into these proposals as those who are making the approach do not take into account that this should be, at the very least, an equal partnership with positive gains for everyone concerned.

If you’re working on your project and need finance to make it happen, be it a sporting activity, something to do with the arts or any other field, you need to be realistic. What is it that makes your approach newsworthy or of interest to the general public? If you have something real then you will undoubtedly be of interest to a commercial organization or two. Sponsor benefits must be apparent, even though you may apply creative interpretation as you are brainstorming.

The sponsor benefits you should be considering may be difficult to realistically quantify as hard and fast figures may not be calculable according to direct sales of the company’s products. Often benefits come in sheer exposure and this can be determined if you are certain that your message, however it is sent out, will reach the target audience of the company. A lot of research is required here and you will need to take into account attendance, viewer figures, readership, Internet traffic, listeners and so on.

By showing that your operation can truly reach the target audience of the company, you have a good chance of moving forward. The acid test is always whether the end result will be that the target buys the sponsors product, or even just visits your website to check it out. Sponsor benefits vary widely and you really have to know what your sponsor is all about before you approach.

An organization sometimes attempts to market “major sponsor benefits” in various places. Options may include sponsor name as a link on a website, inclusion in the newsletter, mention in a Yellow Pages advert, or so on. Each benefit must be backed up with real evidence to show that is truly worth consideration and has an accurate value.

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