Who on Earth would sponsor us?

publication date: Nov 10, 2014
author/source: Brent Barootes and Janet Gadeski

Brent BarootesThis article is excerpted from Reality Check – Straight Talk about Sponsorship Marketing by Brent Barootes with Janet Gadeski, published by Civil Sector Press.

When inexperienced sellers look for likely sponsors, they often begin by searching for large, wealthy or high-profile companies. But size, wealth and reputation tell you nothing about the potential fit between a company’s objectives and your assets.

Major financial institutions, highly visible Crown companies, oil and gas players, large retail chains, telecommunications companies engaged in cutthroat competition, or industry sector leaders – any of these may be prominent in your region, but that alone will not make them your prospects. They are already besieged by many properties [organizations seeking sponsors] that fit their needs, and many more that knock on their door purely because they are prominent.

You can save vast amounts of time and effort through one simple strategy: seek out relationships within your network.

Making connections

You don’t know any likely prospects? Think again!Janet Gadeski photo

  • Look at what you buy or rent: banking services, office supplies, leased vehicles, office space and equipment, utilities, food, beverages and program supplies. Analyze each company on your list of suppliers. How could sponsoring you help them grow their business?
  • Look at the business you already create for others – the hotel down the street from your stadium, the restaurant across from your theatre. If you know you are already growing their business, you can make a convincing pitch that they can reap even greater rewards if they invest with you.
  • Involve the people who already care. Every property has donors, members, parents, families, staff, performers, a business network, audiences or stakeholders. Some will already be more closely connected – leading donors, long-time season ticket holders, active parents. Give them another way to contribute by asking them where they work, who they know, or what companies they own. If their email addresses tell you where they work, ask them for appropriate contacts within their companies.
  • Look at the people you can deliver to a sponsor. Research your audience demographics and purchasing behaviour, then approach targets that need to sell to that audience. Consider how you can enhance your event to engage more of your participants’ interests and create greater sponsorship potential. For example, a music festival or an annual walk for a charitable cause might study its audience and discover that many participants own dogs. Encouraging people to bring their dogs to the event might make it an appealing sponsorship property for pet food producers and vendors.

Brent Barootes is President and CEO of the Partnership Group – Sponsorship Specialists™, a Canadian national sponsorship consulting firm. Janet Gadeski is President of Hilborn, an independent Canadian publisher serving the social profit sector. Explore or buy Reality Check here.

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