The Sponsorship Fear
We work with clients who often have no experience in fundraising. When they hear the word 'sponsorship' they cringe. "I hate asking for money!" "I'm not any good at getting sponsors."
We hear it all. And I can relate! That was me, once upon a time, until I learned it wasn't about selling anything or begging for dollars.
Here are a few tips for wrapping your brain around what's really going on, so you can look for opportunities that work for you and them!
1. Most companies (or individuals) choose to sponsor you or your event because they believe in YOU or your cause. These are your champions and there's nothing wrong with that. Finding these champions is often easier when you have a good understanding of your cause. Touch into the heart of why you believe in what you're doing. That passion spills over and that's what touches others.
2. Provide value. You're not asking for a handout. You're asking for a partnership, a mutually beneficial relationship where you give them something of value. Every race is different, but it's worth taking the time to sit down and ask yourself, "What can I offer them in exchange for their sponsorship so they feel they are making a smart investment?"
It doesn't have to be a cookie-cutter sponsorship offer. In fact, at iTRI365 we are constantly customizing sponsorship offers for businesses because marketing is not a one-size fits all.
3. Be honest. There is nothing I avoid more than a complete stranger sending me a message like we're long lost friends, asking me how I am and how my family is doing, then immediately transition into trying to sell me something.
Don't be that person.
If you are approaching a total stranger, be clear with your agenda. Not being genuine or authentic is a red flag. Building relationships is key. You might not get a 'yes' right away but at least it was the first interaction with honest, upfront intentions. This might not lead to money, but it does lead to respect.
4. Not every sponsorship is in dollar form. Be open to what is called 'in-kind' donations. Companies may not be able to give you money but they can give you water or volunteers, or something else that you need at your race.
Don't be afraid to think outside the box. Remember, you're building relationships that are mutually beneficial. Many small businesses can't afford to write you a large check but they want to be involved and they want to get their name out there. Be open to discussing possibilities!
No one likes the feeling of being rejected. Take some time to prepare your offers, work on your mindset and be open to negotiating other ways of working together.
Sponsorships don't have to be a thing you hate; let it be a practice of finding businesses who see the value of your race and want to build that relationship with you. It won't be for everyone, but if you don't ask, the answer is always, 'no.'
You can do this!
If you need help brainstorming on sponsorship offerings or want to learn how to make creative sponsorship decks, reach out for a RAD Session with myself and/or one of our team members!
Race Director/Chaos Coordinator