A seven step process to attract & retain sponsors.
Step 1 – Set a target and allocate responsibilities
The Committee (generally the Treasurer) sets the sponsorship budget or target for the upcoming year and appoints the people who they will delegate responsibility for achieving the target, whether it be a single person, a Sponsorship Coordinator, or a group of people forming a Sponsorship Committee.
The Committee ensures that the Sponsorship Coordinator or Committee have as much information as possible relating to the Club’s sponsors from the previous seasons and the types of sponsorship packages offered previously. Ideally the outgoing Sponsorship Coordinator would personally introduce the new Coordinator to the Club’s major sponsors to ensure the relationship between Club and sponsor continues in good faith.
Step 2 – Improve on what has traditionally been done
Traditionally, Football Clubs approach sponsorship in the same manner. Generally, they will appoint one or maybe two people to be responsible for retaining the existing Club sponsors and to attract new sponsors to the Club each year. Some Clubs may set a budget or a target but most simply say good luck, get what you can!
Step 3 – Update your sponsorship packages
The Sponsorship Coordinator or Committee creates the different sponsorship packages. A potential method could be to use the traditional “Gold, Silver, Bronze” levels of major sponsorship and adding (if it does not already exist) a “players” sponsorship option.
Consider adding ‘foundation sponsor’ options – smaller sponsorships which may be attainable to smaller organisations (with reduced deliverables).
The Sponsorship Coordinator would also ensure that all supporting marketing material is created that would be required by the players and members to approach their friends, family and acquaintances with the Club’s sponsorship request. The Sponsorship Coordinator should ensure that all the sponsorship marketing information can be accessed from the Club’s website. This sponsorship information needs to in a form that can also be printed, emailed or shared on social media to prospective sponsors by your Club’s community.
Step 4 – Develop a Prospect List (Attract/re-sign sponsors)
Develop a list of local businesses to contact. Consider reaching out to businesses:
- That the Club engages with (i.e. suppliers)
- Local businesses (i.e. Real Estate Agent)
- That parents/players are connected with.
Step 5 – Build and maintain relationships
Once new sponsors are introduced to the Club it becomes the responsibility of the Sponsorship Coordinator and the Club Committee to build and maintain the relationships with the sponsor. The goal of the Sponsorship Coordinator or Committee is to create opportunities for the sponsor to become a real part of the Club and its activities. Regardless of the value of their sponsorship you want the sponsor to feel so welcome that they feel they can come to the Club without an invitation, be warmly welcomed and participate in Club activities.
Creating events and opportunities for the sponsors to get involved with the Club at the beginning of the season is integral to the creation of a long-term relationship. Sponsors days, for example, should be held early in the year so the sponsor can network with other sponsors and members of your community from the commencement of the season.
It is the Sponsorship Coordinator or Sponsorship Committee’s responsibility to build the relationship between the new sponsor and the Club. It will also be their responsibility, to renew the sponsor each year. This is the job of the Sponsorship Coordinator and Committee for a number of reasons:
- This ensures the sponsor’s relationship continues with the Club even if the player who introduced them initially leaves or retires.
- It also means that the Club can go to the sponsor in subsequent years with a more significant sponsorship proposal (rather than the entry level sponsorship). This proposal would not be the standard multi-tiered Gold, Silver or Bronze traditional sponsorship package but a tailored sponsorship packages created to maximise the Club’s ability to achieve the sponsor’s objectives.
Step 6 – Service Sponsors
Now that you have attracted sponsors, it is imperative that you deliver on what you have promised. Create a plan of what you have promised, who will deliver the task and when.
Consider collecting data/information on the success of the initiative throughout the Season so that it is not a difficult process when reporting back to sponsors.
Step 7 - Report Back to Sponsors
To help make the re-signing process easier, consider reporting back to your sponsors throughout the Season. Regular updates to demonstrate the value the sponsor is gaining from your Club can make the renewal process easy.
The process does not need to be onerous – a simple summary of how you have delivered value. For example, a series of Facebook posts featuring the sponsor’s logo was viewed by 250 local players; 75 people re-tweeted the Club’s tweet in a sponsored competition, which led to the sponsor being viewed by 500 people.