One of the main methods of generating funds for sport and recreation organisations is through sponsorships. However, in today's economic climate, it is becoming increasingly difficult.
Consumer sentiment is low and businesses are spending on the essentials only. For sponsors, it's increasingly more about sales rather than branding. They want to see that their investment is generating revenue.
One of the most important assets a club has is its community - its players and volunteers and their families. These is the target market of the local retailers and of course the multinationals as well.
People are time poor, have limited budgets and are being bombarded by advertising messages, so it's hard to get through without spending a lot of money, particularly for the little guys. This is where the club community holds great value for local business. Through involvement with the club, a local business can get direct promotion to its target market.
When developing your sponsorship package, along with specific branding opportunities eg naming rights to the Under 14 team, include opportunities for the sponsor to gain access to the club's community.
This may be invitations to club events such as a:
- Pre-season planning meeting
- Season launch
- Presentation days/nights
- A special golf day, club race day or lunch to allow them to network directly with other sponsors or 'target' members of the club community
Identify specific opportunities at these events for the sponsor to be seen in a good light and as part of the club community.
- Let them shout the bar for 1 hour/ 30 minutes
- Present player awards (sponsor to provide the prize)
- Present volunteer awards (sponsor to provide the prize)
- Allow the sponsor the opportunity to host the event at their premises
In addition to invitations to events:
- Identify the people within the club community that are of most interest to them and provide a personal introduction
- Forward a promotional letter or email to all players and volunteers
- Place ads on the club website
- Place posts on the club Facebook site
Creating a Sponsorship Proposal
The Cricket Club will be seeking:
Specific Goods and Services
The Sponsor will be seeking:
advertising to a specific audience
representation at events and special occassions
Before a sponsorship proposal is prepared, your club needs to know:
- What is the club's image among members and the public? (If image is poor, it may be difficult to secure a sponsor.)
- What companies match the club's image? e.g. Coca-Cola targets its product to young people 18-25 and wants to be involved in large audience participation events.
- What is the club's 'best' program with which to seek sponsorship?
- What opportunities are offered to the sponsor? e.g. sell the sponsor's product exclusively at the event, media coverage highlighting their support, networking opportunities, advertising and signage
The sponsorship proposal should contain the following types of information (try to be brief and concise):
- Background of the club - its history, image, membership.
- Contact person's details for the club.
- Details about its programs, such as venue, dates, participant numbers, spectators.
- Future goals for the club. (Where will the club be in 3-5 years time?)
- Program budget - how much the club will contribute and amount requested.
- Purpose of the sponsorship - e.g. $5000 over three years for team travel to competitions.
- What the club will be offering - e.g. advertising, promotional opportunities, television coverage, direct access to membership, networking opportunities
- The actual benefits for the potential sponsor - e.g. amount of press coverage, time on TV)
- Demographic figures on the club's prospective audiences.
Selling the Proposal
Most sponsorship proposals require a verbal presentation. This is a key component of the selling phase and is where organisations can encounter difficulties. Issues to consider in this phase include:
- Find out to whom to send the proposal. Ensure that the name and address is correct. Make an appointment to present the proposal in person. Face-to-face communication greatly enhances the likelihood of success.
- Find out the company's sponsorship criteria and history - what does the company want out of a sponsorship relationship?
- Prepare the proposal professionally - typed and well laid out.
- Be relevant, accurate and precise.
- Be well prepared when presenting the proposal.
- Follow up after the meeting - thank them for the opportunity to present the proposal and then maintain contact.
The relationship that is established between a club and a sponsor should not be neglected after receiving the assistance. There are a range of ways to keep an organisation's sponsors informed and involved:
- Thank-you letters.
- Press clippings.
- Regular written progress reports.
- Personal visits and invitations to club events.
- Telephone calls.
- Taking an interest in the sponsoring organisation.
- Request for continuing funds.