Sometimes, businesses need to rely on external help to raise funds or streamline costs.
Apart from sales as its main source of income, startups and enterprises can tap corporate sponsorships to raise funds and expand the business.
8 Ways to Get Corporate Sponsorships
By loose definition, a corporate sponsorship refers to an arrangement where a business offers a proposal to a typically larger organization, in exchange for financial backing. This mutual business agreement has been widely practiced, especially in the sports industry.
According to Statista, more than $65 billion was spent on sponsorships worldwide in 2018.
Let’s find out how a small business can get a little share of such a huge market potential.
1. Identify Potential Sponsors
Whether you want additional funding for business operations or a one-time business event, do your research and find out the most ideal companies that can help you out.
For instance, if you’re planning to organize a fun run for your business, sports companies may be the most probable sponsors for the said activity.
For a food event, consider approaching food manufacturing corporations or companies that create cooking appliances and kitchen devices. It’s always helpful to check the previous event that’s related to yours and see who their sponsors are.
If you want a long-term partnership, consider partnering with venture capitalists.
2. Build And Expand Your Network
After listing down all your potential corporate sponsors, conduct thorough research on each company. This will add the information you have on these business organizations. It also helps establish the most compelling reasons why the sponsor should support you.
Get familiar with the demographics, business model, and goals of the organization you’re eyeing for. This can help you in making an effective sponsorship pitch.
Knowing what your business can offer or supplement to their business in exchange for sponsorship can make for a convincing proposal.
3. Establish Your Target Audience
Always be clear about your demographics and make sure you have an understanding of their behavior and purchasing habits.
Discover which products and services really appeal to them and why. Check the things that pique your target market’s interests in order to understand more about them. See which promotional strategies are effective or are highly preferred.
Most importantly, use these things to create similarities with potential corporate sponsors. For example, if your business provides replacement parts and repair services to heavy equipment, asking a prominent manufacturer to sponsor your business activity may be a good idea.
Corporate sponsors would like to reach out to markets that may not be included in their main customer base, but one that is an important segment, nonetheless.
Sponsoring a small yet reliable business may be a more effective marketing strategy than spending on both digital and traditional advertising with weak results.
4. Reach Out To Sponsors Personally
Establish initial contact with your potential sponsors in person or through the phone. This makes you more credible in their eyes. Besides, the corporation may have thousands of e-mails to sift through on a daily basis, making it easy for electronic communication to get lost along the way.
When it comes to creating a sponsorship proposal, it’s better to work smart, not hard. In some instances, you may have better chances of snagging a corporate partnership with local businesses rather than large multinational corporations.
Larger companies may receive hundreds of requests on a regular basis while smaller ones will likely have fewer sponsorship proposals to screen.
Additionally, try sending a request to competing companies. If the business expresses some hesitation about the proposal, state that you’re also considering their competitor.
The company might not want to risk the chance for their competitor to gain more exposure, so they may end up accepting your sponsorship proposal.
5. Write An Irresistible Sponsorship Proposal
In order to get corporate sponsorship, appeal to human emotions. But also make sure to convey the benefits of partnering with your organization.
It helps to start with a story about your company, your vision, or any life-changing impact your business organization had on the community. Explain your target market, discuss your current market, and how you can help the corporation expand its customer base. This helps hook your potential corporate sponsor.
Make sure you clearly describe what you do and why you do it. Be specific with how much you need and what your sponsor can get in exchange for the said amount.
If possible, look for a long-term partnership and not just a one-time event to make it more worthwhile. Finally, focus on the benefits. Come up with a unique benefit that the sponsor may not be able to get somewhere else.
6. Quantify Your Offer
Apart from being specific with your target audience and sponsorship needs, make sure to be specific with your offers and deliverables, too.
You can offer sponsored posts on your blog, activity giveaways bearing the sponsor’s logo, product reviews, a banner on your website, media coverage, and even word of mouth marketing as well as advertising campaigns for the corporate sponsor. You can offer any or all of these, depending on your discussion with the sponsor.
However, make sure that the proposal is number-specific. For instance, instead of putting sponsored posts and television coverage, write down 100 sponsored blog posts for one year or coverage from leading local television networks that boast of 1 million viewership. Laying out these specific offers will make your proposal more convincing.
7. Identify Persons In Charge Of Sponsorships
Corporations are set up differently. Some have marketing departments that take charge of sponsorships and other related matters. Others have communications and public or community relations departments. Some advanced companies have brand managers that typically take care of business partnerships.
It’s best to identify who these people are and establish a relationship with them directly. When dealing with the company representative, be brief and straight to the point.
These people are busy and can’t spare a lot of time listening to a lengthy sponsorship pitch. Arrive early for an appointment to make sure you’re reliable and serious. Don’t forget that corporations will observe and test you at all levels.
8. Don’t Forget To Follow Up
If you’ve submitted a proposal but haven’t received any type of feedback, say, after more than two weeks, contact the company and ask about the proposal.
The staff is as busy as they can be so don’t expect them to prioritize your business sponsorship request. Not following up could spell lost opportunities.
After securing the nod of your sponsor, keep the partnership rolling by upholding your end of the bargain. Sponsorships offer a win-win solution to both your business and your sponsor.
On one hand, the corporate sponsor will expand its exposure and market, while your small business slowly builds up its reputation and credibility by partnering with a business giant.