It is notoriously one of the most difficult and daunting tasks facing a Football club. Just how do you go about securing sponsorship? How do you set yourself apart from other clubs in the area? Who should you approach and what methods of contact should you use? Just some of the questions all clubs seek to answer in procuring much needed sponsorship funds.
1. Utilise your members
It sounds like a no brainer, but we cannot stress the importance of tapping into your own members as a first port of call to procure sponsorship. The vast majority of adult and parent members at your club will work full time jobs, or own companies of their own. These are the people with the most interest in securing the future of the club, and as such will be the most receptive to sponsorship opportunities.
2. Go local
Utilise the power of your local community. You should research local businesses that are prominent in your community that also align with your club brand. For example, start by focusing on those companies that share a common name, likely the name of the town or village you represent. Before venturing further afield always exhaust the resources on your doorstep.
3. Meet potential sponsors face to face
Nothing beats a good old fashioned face to face meeting. Sponsors will want to feel valued, meeting them gives you the opportunity to shake their hand and get across the personality of your club, it’s values and how a club sponsorship with you will be beneficial to them. You can’t do that with an email!
4. Practice your pitch
There is nothing worse than going into any type of meeting without being prepared. Make sure your pitch is polished and that you can back it up with facts and figures. Most importantly anticipate the questions you may be asked, this will enable you to answer with confidence and impress any would be sponsor.
5. Have collateral and follow up
You’ve met with potential sponsors and wowed them with your pitch but what now? Make sure you leave them with some kind of take away document that covers the main points of your pitch, and the next steps to becoming a sponsor including points of contact and any different sponsorship options. This could be as simple as a printed Word document, or as elaborate as a fully designed brochure. It just ensures you don’t leave the lead cold. Lastly, always make sure after a week or so you make a follow up call to all those you have met with. People get busy and need a gentle nudge sometimes.
6. Offer different levels of sponsorship
You’ll need to cater to sponsors with different budgets, so make sure you have options for all by offering tiered packages (i.e. Gold/Silver/Bronze). If you don’t have choices you may miss out on those with smaller budgets to spend.
7. Offer added value
This is your chance to set yourselves apart from the competition, what does sponsorship with your club offer that others don’t? You need to think outside the usual “logo on a shirt” only sponsorship offers. Fill your sponsorship packages with incentives like: complimentary invites to club events like the end of season dinner dance; company details in every match day programme; advertising hoarding around your pitch; provide them with a framed photo of the squad wearing their sponsored shirts; provide advertising on your website; include an advertorial in the news section of your website which is basically an article profiling their business; offer social media coverage i.e. you’ll agree to Tweet about their business once a week. Whatever it may be make sure you fill your packages with enough incentives to let potential sponsors know just how committed you are to ensuring they see a return on their investment.
8. Utilise your website
A professional website with options to showcase your sponsors will give you a huge advantage when procuring sponsors. Not only will it give you a platform to advertise them, but it gives them a place to research your club after you make contact. After all where is the first place we all turn to nowadays to find out more about anyone? “Google” (RIP “Ask Jeeves”)! It also becomes a great selling tool if you know how much traffic is going through your website each month, as you can quote these figures to potential sponsors as an incentive as to how much exposure being on your website could give them. If you don’t have a club website you are missing a huge opportunity to bolster your sponsorship offering. A website from MyClubPro will provide you with the tools you need from just £5 per month << shameless plug alert!
9. Facts and Figures
We have already mentioned preparing a good pitch, but to back up your proposal even further always make sure you have facts and figures to hand. These could be things like: website statistics, home game attendances, social media following, newsletter distribution numbers, number of members, number of teams, etc.
10. DON’T forget your sponsors
Sponsor retention is just as important as acquiring new ones, so make sure you work hard to look after them once they are on board. The occasional phone call to find out how things are going and if you can do anything to improve the sponsorship offering will go a long way to making the sponsor feel valued, and could even entice them to offer more sponsorship.