- Sending over your sponsorship proposal in your introduction email. Why? There are several reasons, but the main 2 are: 1) How do you know they are the decision maker, and if they have the final sign off? 2) You don’t have confirmation on their goals for sponsorship, so how do you know what they are looking to achieve?
- Not following up. If you don’t have a follow-up strategy, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. You are way down on their to-do list.
- Sending the same Gold, Silver, and Bronze packages to all potential sponsors. You need to tailor to their needs. Gold, Silver and Bronze packages show you didn’t listen or are not interested in what they want to achieve.
- Not knowing your community. If you don’t know who your community is, your sponsors have no reason to partner with you. You will need to match your community to their target audience.
- Focusing your proposal on how great your event is going to be will not impress your sponsors. They are not interested in your amazing speaker (unless it is them), or that you have ordered these special decorations that will wow everyone there.
- Focusing your proposal on the great work that you do. Your attendees are interested, but your sponsors aren’t. Sponsors are only interested in the marketing opportunities with their target audience.
- Posting on social media that you are looking for sponsors and expecting potential sponsors to start calling straight away. This may work on a small, local level, but no major sponsors are scouring social media for sponsorship opportunities—they are trying to deal with the 100+ requests coming in daily
- Approaching sponsors the month before the event and expecting them to sign up. Now this will depend on your ask. If you are looking for a couple $100 then this is feasible, but major sponsors will require months of follow-up and prep, normally six months to a year
- Not confirming whom the decision maker is before you negotiate the deal. Nothing is worse than thinking they are about to sign off a sponsorship, only to find out that it has to go to their boss first, who has a different set of goals, and you have to start all over again
- Not doing your research to make sure the potential sponsor is a good fit for your community. A great sponsorship not only brings you funding, it also supports and adds value to your community.
Most major corporations get hundreds of requests for sponsorship daily, some even hourly. To make sure you don’t destroy your chances of success, check you don’t do ANY of the following.
4 Elements of Successful Sponsorship
Are you interested in exploring sponsorship, but not sure if you have what you need to attract sponsors? For sponsorship to be viable you will need 4 elements:
This is your community, your followers, members, subscribers, or attendees – anyone that engages with you. If you don’t have a community, it is important to develop one if you are looking to acquire sponsors. Sponsors want to see numbers so they can calculate ROI and the value they will get.
Once you have identified your reach, you need to dig deeper and paint a picture of who your community is. What do they like? What are the demographics on age, gender, income, education, etc.? What challenges do they face? The sooner you know your audience and can clearly outline them to potential sponsors, the easier the sponsor can identify their target audience/customers and see the value in what you are offering.
Your property is the big activity you are looking to get sponsorship for, such as a conference, gala, tradeshow, awards, etc. It could be an annual, multi-year agreement.
I often refer to these as your value add. These are the activities you will be doing to promote and engage with your community and sponsors, and to encourage them to participate in your property. These are also the activities you do to support your sponsor’s goals and needs to engage with your community.
To become of value to sponsors you need to identify your reach, and provide an overview of who they are and what they like to do. This is your hook and value to your sponsor. This is how you attract them to your property (your event or activity).
The property and assets are how you support your sponsor to reach their goals and engage with your community.
Look out for our next workshop where we take a deeper look at how to identify your reach and audience.
What people don't tell you about Sponsorship
Are you looking to explore sponsorship and not sure what you are getting into? Here are 5 things no-one tells you about getting sponsors.
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How to follow-up with ease
You are probably not going to like this next sentence. Most people are not going to respond to your first email asking them to be a sponsor, so don’t waste time crafting a huge email about the wonderful event or activity you are running; most people will not read it.
You have to plan on follow-up.
Follow-up can be easy if you plan and stay organised. Here are 3 ways to stay on track with follow-up, so you don’t waste valuable time and miss out on opportunities that could lead to sponsorship.
If you are in the Halton Region, we have a workshop on April 29th on "How to Identify your Sponsorship Offering" We hope you can join us!
Sign up for our monthly newsletter on sponsorship and receive a free download on "5 Tips to Speed up Sponsorship"
Identifying the right contact person to discuss a potential sponsorship can be time consuming. Once you have a list of potential sponsors that are well aligned with your community (the attendees at your event or activities), you are ready to research and approach these potential sponsors. Here are a few tips we have for identifying the decision maker approving your sponsorship offering
1. Your existing contact base
Look at your existing contact base. Do they have your potential sponsors in their network? Can they help you determine the right person to approach, and can they provide an introduction for you? This is the most trusted way to get someone’s attention; it also comes at a price. If you don’t treat this referral with respect, and show appreciation to those making the introduction and those you are being introduced too, you won’t get another one. Therefore we recommend you set up a referral/thank you program, as you want these contacts to refer people again and again. It certainly cuts down on your time spent trying to find the right person.
When you reach out, always confirm you have approached the right person and if not, ask them who would be the best person to follow up with.
2. LinkedIn and other social media sites
This is a great resource for identifying and confirming the best contact person. It is also a great place to do some research on roles, projects and history.
3. Corporate website
Websites are great for researching and identifying a corporation’s focus and goals, as well as determining the right contact. Sections to look under for this information include: Board Members, Meet the Team, Mission Statements, etc.
Non-profit organisations looking for funding may want to check out the corporation’s community pages.
EXTRA TIP: Don’t forget to look at the media section for press releases. They will have news on products and services they are focusing on. You will normally also find information on goals they are looking to achieve. At the end of most press releases will be a media contact. They are also a great place to start if you focus on how you can support their key goals, e.g. women in business, women with lifestyle changes, etc.
4. Receptionist/Marketing Department
From time to time, we just have to call the receptionist and navigate your way around the organisation. The best person to contact about sponsorship is not always obvious, so we like to start with the marketing department, offering an opportunity to market to their target audience, i.e. your community. Again, always confirm they are the right person before booking a discovery call/meeting.
5. Top down
Whether we are approaching a larger organisation or a local business for sponsorship, we always prefer to go top down rather than bottom up on the organisation chart. Start with the highest contact you can find, and build the relationship.
We hope you find these tips useful and would love to hear which tips work best for you. Please feel free to share this post with others. For more advice and tips, check out our other blog posts or sign up for our monthly emails http://eepurl.com/cdnyk5
When you send a proposal to a potential sponsor, it’s important to get things right. We’ve provided this checklist for you to use before sending out your proposal:
I was at a sponsorship event recently and it was confirmed that a large Canadian bank receives, on average, 10 sponsorship requests every HOUR! How do you make your sponsorship proposal stand out? Here are 3 ways to increase your success rate:
Find the right person
I find it is easier to go top down, rather than bottom up on the organisation chart, so I go to the highest contact I can find, and build a relationship without being a nuisance. How do you do that? Practice helps. Start by make sure you do your homework to find out if your target audience is a fit with theirs. Then keep your introductions short; ask for the right person to speak with regarding a sponsorship targeting XXX (make sure the XXX is about your audience or their target market, or about a goal they are trying to achieve. No more than a sentence.), and be sure to follow up. I recommend no more than weekly; people are busy.
Tailor your proposal to your sponsor’s needs
Do not send over your proposal straight away. After finding out who the right person is, set up a discovery call or meeting to expand on the research you have already done. Ask questions and LISTEN; find out what objectives need to be met for them to view sponsorship as a success and ask them about their budgets and the approval process. Collate that information and tailor your proposal to their needs. Show them how you can support and help them reach their goals with your sponsorship proposal.
Don’t send them Gold, Silver or Bronze Packages
It screams, generic proposal. If you have done your homework, listened to their needs, and discovered the budgets they have available before hand, you’ll know this information in advance and have the information to tailor your proposal.
EXTRA TIP: If the sponsor need to reduce the cost after, then you MUST take items out of the offering, to show the value in the reduction.
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