How Sports Organizations Can Stop Leaving Money on the Table with These 4 Sponsorship Strategies
Sponsorships play a key role in growing the game by allowing clubs and leagues to invest in better facilities, coaching, and equipment. However, with the ongoing trend of inflation and rising costs of living, many families are tightening their budgets and being forced to choose between sports for their children, rather than enrolling them in multiple activities.
In a recent survey conducted by TeamLinkt, we found that a significant proportion of parents feel that the cost of their children’s sports is too high. In fact, over 80% of respondents expressed concerns over the rising expense of participation. Sports organizations are being forced to get creative to attract and retain sponsors to offset costs and ensure their programs are accessible.
In this blog post, we will explore the importance of sponsorships for youth sports organizations and share four winning sponsorship strategies that can help offset costs and make sports accessible for all.
Strategy 1: Create a compelling sponsorship proposal
Before you reach out to potential sponsors, it’s essential to have a compelling sponsorship proposal that outlines the benefits and value of sponsoring your club or league. By creating a professional proposal that includes packages at different price points, you can attract sponsors of all sizes and budgets. Below are the components you should have nailed in order to close the deal.
Components of a compelling sponsorship proposal
1. Welcome Letter: provides an overview of the proposal and helps to hook the sponsor’s attention.
Your welcome letter should include the following key information:
- Introduction: Begin with a warm and professional greeting, expressing gratitude for the potential sponsor’s time and consideration.
- Overview of the organization: Provide a brief overview of your organization, including its mission, objectives, history, and achievements. This helps the potential sponsor understand the nature and purpose of your organization.
- Sponsorship opportunity: Introduce the sponsorship opportunity, outlining the reasons for seeking sponsorship and the size of your club or league.
- Sponsorship impact: Explain the positive impact sponsorship will have on your organization, such as enhancing the experience for athletes, improving facilities or equipment, or increasing community engagement.
- Call to action: Encourage potential sponsors to review the accompanying proposal, which should provide more detailed information about the sponsorship packages, benefits, and terms. Invite them to reach out with any questions or to schedule a meeting to discuss the opportunity further.
Make sure that you’re addressing what’s in it for the sponsor. Beyond the impact the sponsorship can have on your organization, the most important information for your prospective sponsors is what they are going to get out of the deal.
2. About Us Page: can help potential sponsors feel more connected to your club or league and more likely to support it.
- Include images or videos of your teams, families, and the community you play in.
3. Impact Slide: helps to showcase the value of your club or league and its impact on the community.
- You want your sponsors to see the impact that their money will make in the real lives of your participants.
4. Placements & Package: lets sponsors choose the level that best fits their budget and marketing goals.
- This section should include a breakdown of the placements, sponsorship levels available, and the benefits associated with each level. It’s essential to provide a range of options at different price points to cater to different sponsor budgets. Explain how each placement will benefit the business and why each placement is great for exposure.
- Note: It’s important to have three sponsorship levels because it taps into the psychology of buyer behavior known as “price anchoring.” When presented with three options, buyers tend to choose the middle option, as it seems like the most reasonable choice. This is because the middle option serves as a reference point, or “anchor,” for the other options.
5. Order Form: encourages sponsors to take action and support your club or league.
- Include all your relevant contact information and a deadline for a response to create a sense of urgency.
- Make it easy for them to submit an order and collect their interest / payment.
Strategy 2: Offer customizable sponsorship packages
While offering different sponsorship levels is a great way to attract sponsors of different sizes and budgets, offering customizable packages can take your sponsorship efforts to the next level. Here’s 3 reasons why:
1. Cater to Unique Needs: By offering customizable packages, you can cater to the unique needs and marketing goals of potential sponsors. This allows you to create tailored packages that provide the most value to each sponsor, increasing the likelihood of securing their support.
2. More Opportunities: When you offer customizable packages, you open up more opportunities for sponsorship. Potential sponsors who may not have been interested in a pre-set package may be more inclined to work with you if they can create a package that meets their specific needs.
3. Flexibility: Customizable packages provide flexibility for both you and the sponsor. You can work together to create a package that works for both parties, making it a more collaborative effort. Additionally, if a sponsor wants to add or remove certain benefits, you can easily make adjustments to the package.
While it may require more effort on your part, offering customizable sponsorship packages can help you maximize sponsorship revenue. You can tap into the unique needs of potential sponsors, create more opportunities for sponsorship, and provide flexibility for everyone involved.
Strategy 3: Implement an outreach strategy & process
To implement an outreach process, you can create a communication cadence that includes the following 6 steps:
1. Research potential sponsors and create a target list. Some places to start your search include small businesses in these categories:
- Mortgage Brokers
- Car Dealers
- Sports Stores
- Law Firms
- Funeral Homes
- Credit Unions
- Insurance Providers
- Energy Companies
To find contact information you can check local business directories, such as the Chamber of Commerce, LinkedIn, or ask for referrals within your existing sponsor network or membership. Consider sending an email to all your participants letting them know you’re seeking sponsorship.
2. Send an initial outreach email or letter introducing your team and sponsorship opportunities.
3. Follow up with a phone call or with a personalized email detailing the packages in more detail to continue the conversation.
4. Send a formal sponsorship proposal with custom packages (if applicable) to any interested sponsors.
5. Follow up again to answer any questions or concerns they may have.
6. Close the deal and establish the relationship.
To keep track of your outreach efforts, you can use tools like TeamLinkt’s Sponsorships Power up, Hubspot, or spreadsheets to log communication and track progress. It’s a good idea to set reminders to follow up with potential sponsors at specific intervals to ensure that you stay top of mind.
Strategy 4: Target Corporations that offer sponsorship programs
Reaching out to corporations that offer sponsorships, in addition to small businesses in your community, can be a great way to expand the number of sponsors for your club or league.
Corporations often have larger marketing budgets and existing sponsorship programs, as well as other resources like product donations or employee volunteers. Additionally, corporations may have national or global recognition that can help raise the profile of your league or club.
When reaching out to corporations, it’s important to research potential partners thoroughly and understand their sponsorship criteria and goals. To get you started, here is a running list of corporations we’ve identified with sponsorship programs ready to be tapped into: Download the list here
You can use the same outreach strategy and process as with small businesses, but tailor your messaging and proposal to the specific needs of the corporation. Consider highlighting how a partnership with your club or league can align with their values, goals, and target audience.
It’s also important to keep in mind that securing corporate sponsorship can be more challenging than securing sponsorship from small businesses. Corporations may have more stringent criteria and require more extensive proposals and follow-up. However, the potential benefits can be significant, and it’s worth investing the time and resources to develop strong partnerships.
It’s more important than ever for sports organizations and teams to think about how they can secure more sponsorship. Without one, it can be tough to invest in better facilities, coaching, and equipment, and to make sports accessible to all. By creating a compelling sponsorship proposal with different price points, offering customizable packages, implementing an outreach strategy, and providing ongoing value to sponsors, sports organizations can attract and retain sponsors to maximize sponsorship revenue. With these four winning strategies, sports organizations can ensure the success and growth of their programs, while also providing affordable and valuable sports opportunities for children and families.
TeamLinkt’s new sponsorship power-up is a game-changer for organizations looking to attract and manage sponsors with ease. With the auto-generate sponsor package feature, organizations can access a professional-looking sponsor kit that’s tailored to their specific needs. Customization options also allow organizations to set packages, pricing, and add their own opportunities.
The power-up also makes it easy to share, track, and place sponsor assets, helping organizations manage their sponsorships with just a few clicks. With increased exposure across TeamLinkt, organizations can unlock even more sponsorship revenue, generating more value for both sponsors and themselves.
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