Each year you are probably approached by several organizations who want you to become a sponsor for an upcoming event. You have limited advertising funds, and you would like to do them all, so what should you do?
First, you need to determine what you have allocated for Marketing so you know what you actually have to work with. In other words, how much money did you allocate in your business plan that could be spent on sponsorships for the year. Then, cut that number into 5 equal parts, and plan on spending only 4/5 of your allocated amount. Why? Because a “fantastic” sponsorship opportunity might come up mid-way through the year that it is vital to your business growth. If you don’t set this money aside now, you will not be able to participate in that all-important sponsorship.
Now that you have your money divvied up, you will use 1/5 of your money in each quarter of the year.
Ex: You have $50,000 allocated to spend a year in sponsorships; Divided by 5 = $10,000; you now have $10,000 per quarter to spend, plus $10,000 in reserve.
But how do you decide which sponsorships are best for you and your business? Here is what you should be doing quarterly (fiscal or calendar):
- Lay out all of the sponsorship opportunities in front of you, and ask yourself, “If I had to choose just one of these, which one would it be, and why?” Then, ask yourself these questions:
- What will this sponsorship do for me and my business? (community spirit; generate dollars; new contacts; additional business; exposure; etc.)
- Will this sponsorship reach the targeted demographic that I need to help my business grow?
- Will this sponsorship reach the geographic area that I am looking to target?
- Is this the type of sponsorship/event/promotion that I want my company affiliated with?
- Are there sponsorship levels in this package that are reasonably within my budget?
- Set it aside, and then do it again until you have all of the opportunities prioritized.
Now that you have them prioritized, start with the first one by reaching out to the person who solicited you for this sponsorship. Before you make any commitment, see if there is anything that can be added on to the sponsorship to make it even more exciting and inviting for you and your business. (digital exposure; lead list of contacts/clients; prime table space at an event; etc.) The event coordinator may not be able to enhance it any further, but it never hurts to ask the question. Then, re-prioritize your list of sponsorships if necessary.
Next, figure out just how many of these sponsorships can you realistically afford to do. At this point the opportunities should now be your first few choices, and you should commit to only these events.
The reality is that, although you would love to be a part of every sponsorship opportunity, you need to consider what is best for your bottom line. If you participate in the sponsorships that are not in the best interest of your business, you will be out-of-business.
Don’t forget – If something should arise that is an absolute “must-do” sponsorship, you have your reserve sponsorship dollars, (emergency dollars) to play with.
Sponsorships are meant to be a great addition to whatever marketing you are already doing to promote your business. They are a great way to piggy-back on someone else’s event, at a relatively low cost, while giving you the benefit of being part of a much larger promotion.