From the 50 thousand foot level, getting to the decision maker takes a masters in finesse and a PhD in sharp talking. Before pulling the trigger, there are lengthy planning segments to write, and time to craft the perfect words to get passed the gatekeepers. Afterwards, the defeating self talk makes the whole idea preposterous and the planning a waste of time. Once we muster our guts, there are layers of phone conversations, levels of approvals, and weeks and perhaps months in wait time. That, my friends, is what finding sponsors looks like for the mainstream business. More than what it looks like from a distance, is the torture it feels like.
Finding corporate sponsors can feel like hostage taking, or hostage making. Either way, before asking, you feel in bondage. There is another method – to know what others have done that actually worked. In doing and listening to what other have done, here are a few tips in how some have accomplished the task.
- Get closer to the target: Of course, this is the preferred method, and it’s not reserved for the elite or a smooth operator. Finding corporate sponsors through this method comes through networking with the right players. Finding the right groups, being active in those groups, and participating is what makes opening the doors easier.
- Ask the target sponsor what they want: To simply ask, “Is there something that you are looking for in sponsoring?” is a magic key that others fail to try. This can make the sorting clear. If they want exclusivity, then you know they will be the only healthcare facility or bank highlighted. If the sponsor wants VIP seating, they’ll be sitting front and center. Asking is the easiest way to build a proposal.
- Know what’s in it for the target sponsor: One company thought a target sponsor was the perfect fit because his project name and their tag line used the same word, trust. So often we zero in on the great idea, we fantasize how that target sponsor would be the perfect fit, and because it feels so good we assume the target sponsor will feel the same. Not true. Step back and look at what they need and want. For example, some may be looking to meet multi-cultural audiences over increasing the number of accounts. Considering there is another party to this decision is your best first decision.
- Make a list of benefits to the sponsor: Make a list of what you are able to provide. Some offerings could include a banner space, a preferred banner location, something in the program, mentioned during the event, and free tickets. In my packages I have offered a speaking segment, a seat at the planning table, and asked my sponsors to present one of my awards.
- Use a good template: A search online under “sponsorship proposal template” will provide several ideas. Examine pieces that work, add subtle creativity of your own, and you should be ready.
There are many other ideas, especially surrounding who to target, what to offer, and how much to ask for. For now, rather than remain in the clouds on corporate sponsors, use these points to come in for a closer look, and with a deep breath, a nice landing.
Karleen Andresen has owned her own business more than 20 years, she is a marketer, seo certified, and a speaker on a series named I’m Dying to Tell. She publishes the Idaho Women’s Journal magazine bi-monthly. For more information, email KarleenAndresen@gmail.com