TIPS TO GET SPONSORED

INTRODUCTION

This is an extremely important section. All successful sponsorships are about nurturing mutually beneficial, long-term relationships. Sponsorship is not something you enter into lightly. You will have to be prepared to put in the commitment and time needed to make it a success. The harder you work at it, the more chance you have of sustaining a long and fruitful relationship.

The biggest mistake you can make is to think that your work is done once your sponsorship agreement has been signed and sealed. This is just the beginning. No matter how well you perform in your chosen sport, if you are not committed to the relationship and not making efforts to make it work, then it may all come to nothing.

COMMUNICATION

A key to a successful, long-term relationship is communication. This is critical and can often make or break a sponsorship. Find out what your sponsor wants from you and from the relationship and make every effort to deliver this. Be careful not to over commit. Never compromise your performance by promising more than you can deliver but always do you best to meet and, if possible, exceed your sponsor’s expectations.

Always keep your sponsor up-to-date with what you are doing. Some of your achievements or activities that may seem insignificant to you but will probably seem of much greater significance and interest to your sponsor, so open up a regular line of communication to enable you to keep them fully up to speed. There are several ways that you can do this.

  • Send a monthly report on your activities, results and upcoming schedule, no matter how minor.
  •  A quick phone call from each event or a postcard from the various venues around the world is another.
  • Keep a record of all your press coverage.
  • Inform a sponsor in advance of events in case they wish to attend.
  • Meet with them two/three times a year, depending on how involved they wish to get.
  • Be proactive.This may seem a bit of a bind and an extra hassle but it is the most important element to the sponsorship.

MEDIA

Always look to identify opportunities where you can deliver added value to your sponsor. In this respect, press coverage is a vital tool.

  • Develop a relationship with your local papers, radio and television stations
  • Keep in regular contact with the sports desk
  • Offer to write a weekly or monthly column
  • Tell them where you are competing and send in your results. Be sure to highlight any PBs, SBs and, of course, medals won
  • Talk to your local radio stations and build up a relationship
  • Talk to your local television station; they are always interested in local stars. With digital television and 24 hour news channels, there is an increasing amount of air time to fill and everyone is looking for stories.
  • Always tell your sponsor when you are likely to get coverage so they can look out for it
  • Tell sponsors if the event in which you are competing is televised
  • Keep copies of all press cuttings
  • Ask radio and television stations for a tape of your interview, most are happy to do this, but try to ask BEFORE you do the interview
  • If you are the subject of an interview in the national, regional or local press, make every effort to credit your sponsor. Do this by wearing branded clothing in a newspaper photo or TV interview, or by crediting your success to the valuable support of your sponsor
  • If the situation permits, agree to an interview request on the understanding that the newspaper will credit your sponsor at the end of the piece (i.e. ‘In association with Bovis Homes, sponsor of xx xx’)
    Keep a log of your interviews on radio and television

Develop these relationships with the media BEFORE you have a sponsor; it shows initiative and helps raise your profile in the local area. Strong relationships with the media will be a good selling point for you in your initial meeting.

GENERAL TIPS

Here are some general tips on how to deliver added value to your sponsorship relationship;

Memorabilia

Give a sponsor some signed kit or other memorabilia, either signed by yourself or other athletes at an event. Frame it if you can, it’s worth the extra money spent. They can use this for competitions among staff, fundraising etc.

Thank Yous

Remember to write and say thank you after successful events (e.g. without your support I would never have done it).

Meet And Greet

If a sponsor attends your event, make the effort to see them whether you WIN or LOSE. If you do lose there is no need to have an attitude with your sponsor; they can probably guess you feel bad.

Internet

Email your sponsor if you can with updates whilst you are away competing.

Community Links

Working in your local community is always good for a sponsor. It gives them a positive profile amongst the local community and enables you to build your profile amongst the local business community.

  • Work with local clubs, in sports and others.
  • Work with schools in your area – involve your sponsor (unless their product is not appropriatefor schools, e.g. credit cards, alcohol).
  • Link with the local press for a special coaching session for local children or adults.
  • Offer prizes for schools, courtesy of your sponsor (e.g. clothing, equipment, tickets to events).

GENERAL CODE OF CONDUCT

Remember, when a company commits to sponsor you, it is effectively making you an ambassador for their brand. It is a public endorsement in you and a show of faith by the sponsor that you are worthy of representing their brand. There is therefore a huge responsibility on you to uphold that brand image. You should take this responsibility very seriously.

The way you carry yourself in public is all-important to your sponsor. Bad behaviour inevitably creates adverse publicity and this will reflect badly on you and, by association, your sponsor. Indeed, it could signal the end of your sponsorship, as most sponsors will safeguard themselves against such occurrences in the sponsorship contract.

  • Be professional, presentable and courteous at all times.
  • Always remember that you are representing your sponsor.
  • Have respect for your sponsors and those of others.
  • Do not ignore event/competition sponsors as without them, you would not be competing.
  • Each sponsor has their time for exposure and a piece of the action, make sure your sponsor understands this (most do).
  • Be loyal, but not at the expense of others; that is unprofessional.

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