If you are involved in any sort of charity, voluntary work or put on events you will know all about trying to get sponsorship to boost those all-important funds. Identifying likely partners, putting your case and holding your breath as you balance opportunities against deadlines.
But it’s not just for large corporates. As a small business have you thought about sponsoring an event or a worthwhile cause yourself?
It can certainly be good for business in so many ways – creating goodwill and brand awareness, improving your reputation and profile, providing networking opportunities and of course generating enquiries. I hope you’ll find this article and linked examples useful.
First things First
One of the most important things is to find a good fit with your business, an organisation or an activity which shares a similar audiences or customer base is ideal. This may not be your existing customers but people you want to get closer to, to influence or maybe a new market for your goods or services.
It helps if the organisation has the same business ethics and ideals as you. This will add value to your business by way of association. And of course it’s a mutually beneficial venture for both parties.
Would your business benefit from involvement with young people, healthy activities, family events or recognising achievement?
There are so many opportunities from providing the shirts for a local sports team or a student award at a university.
Local Chambers such as the Shropshire Chamber of Commerce and newspapers often have different categories at annual business awards.
Awards of all kinds will have a long run in time and sponsors get numerous opportunities to get a mention on websites and articles as the event is launched, promoted, businesses shortlisted as well as at the awards ceremony and any subsequent publicity.
How about being associated with the arts, like Lanyon Bowdler who sponsored an exhibition at the Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery. Sponsoring part of a business conference or exhibition in your field of activity can generate lots of different opportunities and prestige.
What can you expect from your Sponsorship?
It helps if you set an objective for the sponsorship. Do you want to improve brand awareness by displaying your logo? Drive traffic to your website with links, get into the news or find a way to showcase a new product or service?
What about finding a new audience? For small firms it can often be very cost effective, to sponsor a newsletter or e-marketing campaign (which remains one of the best ways of lead generation by the way!).
You could get your name in front of thousands of new customers for a just a few hundred pounds possibly for a whole year something done with great effect by Shrewsbury & Newport Canal Trust.
Beat the Competition!
Local opportunities are more likely to present themselves through your networking or attendance at events. As you become better known in a certain field of expertise or a local area you will become more aware of how you can promote your business in that market by linking with other organisations.
If you can’t find the opportunity a direct approach might help. Contact the marketing department of your chosen organisation and see what might be coming up.
Getting in first is a great way of beating the competition. Telfood Festival is a new event looking for sponsors and you’d probably get first refusal in subsequent years. Or the newly created Dyslexia Awards created some new opportunities for local companies and some excellent goodwill.
Return on Investment
As with any marketing activity there is a cost and benefit for everything and sponsorship should be measured too in terms of increased sales, goodwill or awareness. Track any contacts you can trace back to your sponsorship but bear in mind it could be a longer term investment.
Start small and see the benefits. If you need help finding sponsorship or a sponsorship opportunity please get in touch. I have years of experience of raising funds and getting involved in profile raising events.