The bake sales and car washes seem to be endless. It’s fundraising at its finest, truly. But a team has to do what a team has to do to ensure proper equipment and some good lookin’ uniforms—which is why sponsorships really help when prepping for a new season.
We assume that the majority of our readers have kids on sports teams; maybe even multiple kids on multiple teams! And we all know just how expensive it can be to have our children participate in these extracurriculars (and it’s not getting any cheaper anytime soon).
Thankfully, there are a host of ways to get help, including looking for organizations or local sponsors to ease the financial burden of every coach, player, partner, and helper involved. If you’re a newbie in this world and you’re looking for some tips on how to begin finding sponsors, look no further.
4 Basic Steps to Snagging Team Sponsorships
Step 1: Meet with the Parents & Coaches to Discuss Your Exact Needs
During this meeting you need to identify what types of businesses you want to approach. Here are some questions to be sure to get answered:
- Are you looking to aim high at larger corporations or are you looking to start small and local?
- Does anyone on the team already have a relationship with a local business (or even a larger one)?
- Does anyone associated with the team have their own business?
- What are the logical businesses that would compliment your organization?
- Do any of the parents or coaches already have a relationship with them?
Step 2: Figure Out What You Can Offer the Business
Once you have a goal in mind, it’s important to know what you will be offering up in exchange for their sponsorship. Have a plan ready to put into action.
It’s important to remember that even though the owners of the company you are approaching might want to give you money “out of the goodness of their heart”, they are still in the business of making money. Ask yourself and others: How can your team bring value to their business?
Here are a few suggestions on what you could possibly offer:
- Put the company’s name on the players’ jerseys.
- Promote them through social media. This is especially helpful for teams going into World Series or larger competitions with a large following. It ends up being a great way for the business to gain an even larger following as well. This is a huge benefit for the business you are promoting.
Set up a Facebook or Twitter account specifically for your team and have weekly posts that parents and players can easily r-post or retweet. See if you can even snag special deals for members who mention your sponsor to incentivize them.
- Create a banner that your team puts up before every game with the sponsor’s logo.
- Get creative! Think outside the box and figure out ways that your team can uniquely drive traffic to their business. One idea is to offer to participate in “spirit nights” with the local business.
For example, for a restaurant, 10-20% of a specific night’s proceeds could go to the team but the team itself could drive in a lot more traffic than it normally would on that night. Events like these become a win-win for both participants.
- Ask the business you’re approaching about their needs. Be flexible in how they can sponsor you and work with them to come up with a solution that benefits you both.
Step 3: Appoint a Marketing/PR Person
Have someone be the “face” of your organization. This person can be the primary contact between the team and sponsors, run the social media accounts, and make sure the terms of the sponsorship are carried out.
This is a new form of the “team mom” we all know and love. It could even be an older brother or sister that has a great mind for marketing, networking, and using social media to their advantage.
Pro Tip: There are related grants you can search for and secure if you’re savvy enough. Sometimes, you may even stumble upon a list of companies willing to sponsor youth sports teams. Putting the right person on this job can make a huge difference for your team.
Step 4: Make a Basic Sponsorship Request Letter Template
Finally, create a basic sponsorship request letter that you can tweak depending on who you’re approaching. Keep this template general, but make sure you add specifics whenever you’re getting it ready to send to a new prospective sponsor.
When writing the letter, keep your goals in mind. Don’t be vague and say “we need a sponsor”. Ask for monetary support and show them how they will benefit from your organization. Base your letter on benefits not needs. Also, create a sense of urgency by stating there is a deadline (like the start of the season), but be careful about giving deadlines if you are doing a bulk mailer—they might receive it after the date and then feel no need to respond.
To help you out, we have put together a basic letter that you can adjust to fit your specific needs.
Finally, before you start, it’s important to mention that sending out a letter to a larger, national corporation should not be intimidating. The worst that could happen is they say “no,” or never respond and, in the end, the team isn’t really losing anything. Instead, you may be surprised what a bigger company may want to help with or even get involved with at the local level.
To make changes to the letter, click on the image to be taken to the Google Doc.
- Highlight the text.
- Click on the “Edit” tab to “Copy”.
- Click on the “File” tab and open a “New” “Document”.
- In the new document, paste the letter by going to the “Edit” tab and using the “Paste” option.
If you have any other suggestions for a team/organization looking to get a sponsorship, please leave it below in the comments section. Also, make sure you check out our post on CREATIVE FUNDRAISING!