How to become a sponsor

Sponsorship is an ideal avenue for you to display the name of your business in front of potential and existing customers. Choose events where those attending share the values and interests of your company. Increasingly, consumers want to purchase products from suppliers who share their values. By being associated with (or sponsoring) an appropriate event, you can get closer to your targeted customers, and, in doing so, affirm that you care about them and their lifestyles...

1. Understand the meaning of sponsorship.

Sponsorship is not a donation from your organisation to those seeking sponsorship. It is an act which rewards both sponsor and sponsored. The UK Association of Business Sponsorship makes this key point:

'The common interest between sponsor and sponsored demands that their relationship be based on mutual respect, candour and understanding, with each investing the necessary time and attention to define clearly the aims of sponsorship, the expectations of the deal, and the provisions for evaluating and publicising projects. They must also try to understand each other’s motivation.'

As a sponsor, you will want to know how your money will be spent by the sponsored group and how you will benefit from the relationship through either more sales, greater exposure, or both. Remember, the aim of sponsorship is to put both sides in a win-win situation.

2. Ask the appropriate questions.

Before accepting a role as sponsor, consider the advantages to you:

  • What does the sponsored group want from your sponsorship?
  • Do your values match those of the sponsored group and the event?
  • How will the sponsorship affect you?
  • How can you maximise your exposure?
  • Will the sponsored have the people and resources to maximise your involvement and the return to your business?
  • Is there evidence that they have done their homework on your business and personalised their invitation?

3. Be aware of the types of sponsorship.

Whether you envisage a 'one off' event or a long term relationship, give consideration to the type of involvement, which might include:

  • Sole sponsorship. The sponsor wants the event to be named after their product or name, e.g. The Whitbread Cup, The Coca Cola Challenge, Optus Oval.
  • Graded Sponsorship. A number of sponsors are involved, their return based on the degree of sponsorship.
  • Special Event Sponsorship. A single event in the program is sponsored by an individual company.
  • Underwriting Sponsorship. Here the sponsor will fund any losses the event makes.
  • Endorsement Sponsor. To give the event credibility, the sponsor lends its name, but no money.

Sponsorship comes in many forms. You may be asked for financial support, the provision of goods or a site, or to fund a coffee break at a conference, and so on.

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