Engaging with Sponsors and Business

Those that are successful in obtaining sponsorship all have something in common. They understand that this isn’t a donation. It is, in fact, just like any other business deal.

For a business to invest in your club or project, it needs something in return and you should be well planned and professional in your approach.

Do your research

  • Use your people in the best way you can. Do you have a business-minded volunteer who is personable and can develop partnerships with local businesses? If not, can you recruit someone or can your club train someone for the role?

  • Your club has an image. Think about what that image is and what values you hold when considering which business might be a good match

  • If you implement strong values at your club and your reputation in the community is positive then there is a greater chance a local business will be interested in your club. Find out more about partnerships

  • Make sure different teams in your club aren’t asking the same local business for sponsorship multiple times at once

    Understanding business needs

    A business may support your club for a number of reasons:

  • If they can relate to your club vision

  • If they have a relationship with someone in your club

  • If they want to give back to the local community

  • If there is a benefit for the business to market its products or service

    Approaching a business

    Get to know the key decision makers, establish whether they have an affinity with the club or the sport you deliver.

    Understand their business objectives and tailor the benefits you offer accordingly remember what you consider to be an amazing project might not necessarily fit with their company profile.

    If you don’t have any connections already to the local business you want to approach, you could introduce yourself either by letter or by email.

Consider including high quality pictures if relevant i.e. a fun day that attracted 500 participants presents a ready made audience for their business

But whether you are writing to a company or meeting them face to face, the principles of approaching a business are the same.

Explain what type of sports club you are, where you are based, how many members you have, how long you’ve been established.

If your Club Development or Business Plan is short and snappy, you could share that with businesses to explain who you are and what you are trying to achieve. Just remember, you need to make a good impression fast – so don’t send lengthy plans.

Next, and very importantly, explain what you are seeking support for and then explain the impact on the club.

Our club is growing season upon season and it’s fantastic that we now have 200 players within our mini and junior set up, however due to the growth in numbers we are need of some new equipment to cater for the demand.

Make it clear that you are doing well on your own, but with their help you could be an even stronger club.

Spell out how the sponsor will benefit. Will they have their name on the kit, pitch-side hoardings, the clubhouse, the match programme? Can they have advertising on your club website? Will they be mentioned in the club’s social media profiles? If it’s a restaurant, will it be the venue for post match celebrations?

There’s no harm in reminding your potential sponsor of the community value your club provides. So if your club is encouraging local children to keep fit and healthy and that it’s teaching them other life skills such as leadership and confidence then say so!

Try to make a connection with the business and their aspirations as a business.

Be concise, be clear and realistic with what you’re asking for (whether that’s time, expertise or money).

Don’t forget to provide your contact details and extend a welcome to the club to find out more.

Top Tips

  • Dear Sir letters do not work if you cannot be bothered to find out about a funder why should they be bothered to give you money?

  • No passion, no value you must believe in your project when you sell it to funders

  • Before you approach potential sponsors, get a copy of their Annual Report to see how they have

    allocated previous funds

  • Sometimes clubs are able to talk to local businesses fairly informally. You might be in a networking type situation where you can chat to local businesses. Perhaps one of your members owns or works for a local business?

    Tiered packages

    Offer a number of different options for sponsors to support and engage with your club. Tiers can include different level of exposure and promotion on:

    • Playing kit

    • Training kit

    • Fixture calendar / programme

    • Advertising boards on pitch / at clubhouse

    • Match day / Match ball / Player of the match

    • Post match hospitality

    • End of season awards tables, trophies, specific awards

    • Social media promotion a commitment to showcasing sponsors

    • Activation

      Example packages are available

      Social media value

    • Collate your social media following across all platforms

    • Use a consistent club hashtag on all social media posts

    • This will help you calculate your social media reach on each social media platform using

      websites such as

      https://analytics.twitter.com/about, https://analytics.facebook.com/, www.hootsuite.com

    • Once you’ve identified your social media following and reach you can add this information in

      your sponsorship package to inform prospective sponsors of the reach your club has on social media if they choose to take up an option which includes promotion on these platforms

    • This will increase the value of your sponsorship which in turn will increase the income you could generate

      Doesn’t always have to be financial

    • Clubs predominantly look for financial return from sponsors to offset financial costs incurred by running teams

    • In-kind sponsorship is an agreement that can be just as beneficial to clubs especially if you’re looking at a improving the club in an area where you have limited knowledge or expertise

  • Examples:

  • If you’re looking at developing your clubhouse could you look at valuing and packaging a

    sponsorship deal into the costs to reduce the costs on the club in return for the work being

    completed i.e.could you name the new bar after their company for example?

  • If you’re looking at developing your social media platform, do you have a parent that works

    for a media/PR agency that may be able to offer her support in return for his/her company becoming a club sponsor

    You’ve secured sponsorship, what next?

    Once you get a sponsor on board, it is vital you deliver on all benefits you have offered, as well as providing a few additional extras for good measure. Always sit down with your sponsor and evaluate how things are going. If there are any issues, your club will have a chance to put things right before support is withdrawn.

    Remember to communicate with your members so they are aware of the business partnership.

    To promote a good relationship with a business, you can:

  • Keep them involved in club activities on an ongoing basis (for example, they could present prizes at awards evenings)

  • Recognise the business regularly for their support via social media, your website and in press releases

  • Invite them to club functions. Even if they don’t come, it’s the recognition that they are part of your team that will help when it comes to needing support in the future

    Make sure you value the support by making the business representatives feel part of your club. Do this throughout the season to develop the relationship.