Tips on Successful Sponsorships

  Successful Sponsorships 1. It's Not About You
Sponsorship is not about your needs.

It’s about achieving the sponsor’s goals. You need to accept this to be successful in the with corporate sponsors.

Society is very receptive to cause-related marketing by companies. 80% believe it’s good for companies to support causes.

Receptivity to cause-related marketing is greatest among those most likely to make key purchasing decisions: women (84%), parents of young children (81%) and individuals (81%).

2. A Natural Fit
Try to get sponsorships from companies that are a natural fit for your property.

Make an emotional connection with your sponsor. Business is done between people, not faceless companies. Don’t write a dry proposal full of numbers and statistics. Your proposal should include stories, testimonials, emotion, personality and even humor.

3. Provide Value To The Sponsor
Don’t think of sponsorship as free money. The sponsor is not your “Sugar Daddy”. They are your partner.

Once you get the check, you’re just getting started. You need to provide value to a sponsor, give them frequent reports and communicate with them on a
continual basis to make sure you’re meeting their needs.

Decide if certain sponsors, such as fast food, alcoholic drinks or cigarette sponsors would be appropriate for you.

4. Bundle It 
Expand your vision. If you’re a speaker and author who runs an event, don’t just get an event sponsor. Instead, get a corporation to sponsor your entire brand annually, i.e. your event, speaking, media, products, book tour, etc.

Think carefully before selling your naming rights. Many sponsored properties regret this decision.

5. Pricing
Include pricing in your proposal. Price the different levels of sponsorship in round numbers, instead of $9,999. Price at $10,000. Don't do range pricing, such as $10,000-$14,999. If they’re getting the same benefits, it’s tempting for a company just to pay the lower amount.

Don’t price your assets a la carte. Create multi-benefit packages for your sponsors that include exposure, media, direct response, etc.

6. Know Your Demographic
When researching your demographic think of the print publications they read and the radio stations they listen to. Then call for a media kit. This will give you great information about the target audience and their buying habits.

Use research and statistics to strengthen your offering. Be very specific about your demographic, the media partners, and your marketing plan.

Use Google Alerts to get information about your target market. You can also do a Google Alert for your name with quotation marks around it.

7. Charities
If you’re a 501c(3) charity, include all of your official papers when you submit your proposal.

If you’re a non-profit, include testimonials of people you’ve helped. Have the charitable recipients tell their stories at your live event and be sure to get plenty of video coverage and photos.

8. Charity Sponsors
If you’re looking for a charity, go to
You can check out their references of a prospective charity through

It’s best to have one charitable partner, rather than a few different charities. If you have a charity, remember that the sponsor’s decision is usually not solely based on the fact that your charity is doing wonderful work.

Sponsors need a return on their investment.  Sponsorships can come through in many different ways. For instance a sponsor for a leukemia charity may happen if the CEO has a family member with leukemia. Occasionally this does happen.

9. Tailer Your Sponsorship Package
Have an outline of the different sponsor packages, but tailor each package to the particular sponsor’s needs. Don’t mass produce your sponsorship proposal or send generic form letters.

Offer marketing solutions that are relevant to your prospective sponsor, not just information. Tell them how you can solve their issues and challenges. This information can be gotten from the sponsor after the initial call. 

10. Have Both Brief & Full Proposals
You may want to prepare 2 proposals: 1 brief proposal and 1 full proposal. Some sponsorship seekers submit the brief and then present the full proposal at the first meeting.

11. Get Paid Too
Don’t price your sponsor packages so that you only get enough money to cover your expenses. Sponsorships are about the value and assets you bring to a company, not just covering your costs.

12. Your Pictures
Photos usually look better when they are framed within a black border.

13. How & Who To Contact
Telephone sales skills are crucial. If your sales skills are weak, take a course or hire someone to do the phone solicitation for you.

When you make your initial call, ask for the marketing department. You may also find money in the public relations department, community affairs, sales, advertising, promotions, brand or product management, public affairs, or supplier diversity.

Human Resources is less desirable, but some companies have money there. Note: You can get a “no” from one department in a company and a “yes” from another.

When you get to the right person in the company, find out who their colleagues are and how to reach them. If they leave the company, you can contact their colleagues.

14. Sponsors Want Connections Too
Sponsors are looking for connections, not just exposure. Logo identification on banners and printed materials is now considered a secondary benefit.

Connect sponsors to each other so they can do cross-promotions. You can even host a sponsor summit.

Do plenty of pre-media and post-media for your event.

15. Read & Understood
Be sure your proposal can stand on it’s own without you explaining it. Your contact person in an organization may have to show it to their colleagues before getting an approval.

The proposal should tell your prospective sponsor enough about your property to get a phone or an in-person meeting.

Deal with problems before they get out of hand.

16. Less Clutter
With sponsorships, less is more. Just a few large sponsors are better than many smaller sponsors. Sponsors don’t like clutter (think of NASCAR).

17. Good Fit
If you partner with a charity, make sure it’s a good fit. If you’re doing a women’s event, don’t donate part of the proceeds to an animal charity. Instead choose a breast cancer charity, women’s abuse shelter or Habitat for Humanity that will build a home for a single mom.

18. Negotiations
When negotiating, try to meet the sponsor in person, rather than a phone call. If the sponsorship fees are big enough, you may want to fly in to close the deal with a prospective sponsor.

Trade concessions, don’t give them away. Whenever you are asked to give a concession in order to close the deal, always create a “quid pro quo,” something for something. people may not respect you if you crumble under pressure. Remember, if you just give, they will just take. Always seek a trade.

19. Unrealistic Promises
Be clear about the sponsor’s goals and their expected return on investment.

Don’t promise more than you can deliver. For an event, be realistic about the projected attendance. It’s very easy for a sponsor to see that you don’t have as many people as you promised. Once you burn your bridges, you may not get a second chance.

It's okay to say you're going to use sponsorship money to promote your event, but have the details on the costs first.

20. Don't Fake It
Don't make general statements that can’t be supported by solid facts.

A big part of your brand is your integrity. Your word is your bond and you always do what you say. Always be on-time or early to both in-person and phone appointments.

If you can’t finish something on time, call your sponsor and let them know you’re working on it. Never try to fake an answer to a sponsor’s question. Admit that you don’t know and tell the sponsor that you’ll get back to them with the information.

21. Follow Up
Most people don’t do enough follow-through after the initial contact. Tenacity is one of the traits of successful sponsorship sales.

When following up with a sponsor, don’t say, “Did you get my proposal?” Instead say, “I’d like to talk to you about the proposal that I sent over. There are some new  developments that I think would benefit you and your company.” And make sure you have one!

22. Your Sponsor Promotion You
Talk to the sponsor about activation, this is how the sponsor will promote your property. Sponsorship is a two-way street. You don’t have to do all the work. For example a retail store can display posters and brochures about your event.

23. Ask For The Order & Have Your Contract Ready
Don’t be afraid to ask for the order. If you are turned down, ask why. This will give you great feedback for approaching the next sponsor.

Keep your contracts as short as possible and be specific about the sponsor’s benefits and rights.

When you meet with a prospective sponsor always have a contract with you. They may be ready to sign a deal. If they are deciding between 2 different packages, bring a contract for each package and ask them which one they would like to authorize. You can always cross-out clauses and make changes on the spot.

Walk away from bad deals. Don’t be so emotionally-invested in your property that you’re afraid to get up and walk away.

24. “No” usually means “Not yet.
If you get a "No" ask your sponsor what is missing for them.

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