How to Get Sponsors for Your Team
Looking for great sponsorship ideas for your upcoming fundraiser? Are you a coach wondering how to get sponsorship for your sports team? Or a fundraiser chair trying to get practical examples of school sponsorships? By the end of this article, you will be fully equipped to get out there and get sponsors!
Piggybackr.com is a crowdfunding website for teams of all ages and experience levels. We're the only funding tool that is safe and instructional for even students under 13, and we've helped people get sponsorship and raise millions of dollars. Set up an online fundraiser, raise money with your team, and collect donations all in less than 5 minutes. Sign up for free.
1. What is sponsorship?
Sponsorship for your youth sports team or group means getting money or donations of goods or services from large companies, or local small businesses. In return, your team provides the sponsor with marketing value like adding their logo to your jerseys, having a banner at your stadium, including them on your printed materials, or by promoting them in other ways.
Sponsorships are NOT (usually) donations where the business gets nothing in return. While a business would feel good about contributing to a good cause like your youth sports team sponsorship, they also have limited money to give away, and they will expect to get something out of it.
Here are just a few of the many fundraisers on Piggybackr that have successfully raised money for their causes from individuals and business sponsors.
We need your steadfast support!, Rochester Rowing Club
Organized by Rochester Rowing Club
The Rochester Rowing Club (RRC) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the development of youth through the sport of rowing. RRC is run solely by volunteer coaches and parents who believe in what the sport of rowing does for these young athletes.
INVEST IN ME AT HTe!, High Tech Elementary North County
Organized by HTE Fundraising
High Tech Elementary North County is the newest addition to the High Tech network of charter schools! With construction on the new campus nearing completion and the elementary student population expected to increase by approximately 320% this next school year, HTeNC needs your generous donations to help purchase the technology its students need to remain competitive in today’s rapidly changing technological world.
San Marcos, CA
Send us to Nationals 2014, D1 Shooters Destiny 2018
Organized by Dennis Mullins
The D1 Shooters Youth Basketball Club is a non-profit, charitable organization that has been formed to develop the basketball skills of boys and girls of all ages in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex.
Encourage Girls in Tech!, Chicago Girls in Computing
Organized by Abril Vela
This group will provide a friendly environment for high school girls in the city of Chicago who are interested in technology, whether it be as a career or as a hobby. Chicago Girls in Computing wants to encourage girls to stay involved with technology, as well as provide girls who have no experience with technology an opportunity to get involved.
Send us to the World Festival!, Westford Youth Robotics 4-H Club
Organized by Christopher Nichols
We are the Green Stormgears, an FLL robotics team part of the Westford Youth Robotics Club. WYRC inspires Elementary and Middle school students to explore and pursue careers in STEM. Our team consists of eight members including Harshal Sheth, Adithya Vellal, Nishanth Navali, Ken Ngai, Vamsi Vetsa, Nikhil Vootkur, Neil Patel, and Sheil Patel. Though we have a wide range of ages, from 4th to 8th grade, we work very well as a team!
Empower Today’s Eco Leaders, Greening Forward
Organized by greeningforward
Greening Forward is a youth-driven network of over 2,000 young changemakers, ages 5-25, working together to support each other’s vision of a more sustainable world. Through grants, mentorships, and our annual International Young Environmentalists Youth Summit, Greening Forward provides the tools and resources for young people to take what they know and put it into action. We catalyze the youthful energy and youthful mindset that young people have to create a more sustainable world. In all, our grantees have planted 300 trees, saved 300,000 gallons of water, and recycled 120 tons of waste.
3. Why would you want a corporate sponsor?
Business sponsors can provide a lot for your team, whether you need money for travel expenses, new equipment, facilities rentals, or new jerseys. Beyond just money, sponsors are often willing to donate equipment, food for events, or services that would be useful to your team. If you can find a good sponsor, the relationship can be very beneficial for both sides.
However, sponsorships are not right for every team. They do take a bit of work to set up initially, and you have to make sure that the sponsor is happy with the results if you intend to ask them for sponsorship again in the future. Depending on the size of your team, the audience for your events, and the companies you approach for sponsorship, you might not be able to realistically ask for more than $5,000 to $10,000. Remember, these companies see sponsorship as a marketing expense and will be comparing it to their other marketing options.
4. Overview: How to Get Sponsorship
Getting sponsors for your sports teams or organization doesn’t have to be complicated. Just follow these 4 easy steps! We’ll cover each in detail, but this should give you a quick overview of the process.
Assign a point person -
Getting sponsorship is essentially “selling” a business your “product” where the product is your sponsorship package. This is going to take a decent amount of time and effort, so you should assign one person to drive the process. You might want to ask one of your most business-savvy parents or students to lead.
Create your sponsorship packages -
Brainstorm what you can offer a business that would be valuable to them, then come up with a pricing scheme that is backed up by solid numbers. If a business is interested, you should try to accommodate them with a package that makes sense for both of you in terms of money, time, and effort to fulfill.
Thoroughly research potential sponsors -
You’ll want to ask the adults in your organization for introductions to their employers if they think the company might be interested. In addition, you can walk around your neighborhood or use a website like Yelp to get ideas.
Send out your sponsorship request letters -
You can use our request for sponsorship letter template or create your own. Make sure to follow up with a phone call if the business doesn’t get back to you in a week or so.
5. How to Use the Internet to Get Sponsorship
On Piggybackr, getting sponsorship is built right into our product. While getting a sponsor is great, we also believe in the power of the crowd. You can raise even more money with a combination of sponsors and individual donors. If you run a crowdfunding campaign on Piggybackr, you can get donations from individuals and businesses all in one place! Here’s how to get started:
Create your fundraiser page -
You can set up your page in about 5 minutes. We just ask for a picture, some basic information about who you are, what you’re raising money for, and optionally a video.
Create your sponsorship packages -
Remember to have some sponsorship levels to appeal to individuals, and some for businesses. We make it super easy to pick from some low-cost, but high emotional value donation gifts (like an autographed picture of your team), as well as more meaningful items for business sponsors (like their logo on your jersey). Businesses that choose those levels can complete their donation and upload their logo right through our system!
Invite your team -
Crowdfunding works better when you have your entire team working together (this is also known as peer-to-peer fundraising). You can copy and paste your contacts and invite them with the click of a button. Once your team members join your fundraiser, they can customize their own pages in just 2 minutes.
Spread the word -
No one will contribute to your fundraiser if they don’t know about it. You can use our built in email template, or write your own, and email your contacts with the click of a button. For sponsors, you can use our sponsorship template, as well as a printable flier that you can hand out to businesses in your neighborhood.
II. How to get sponsorship - a detailed step-by-step guide
Now that you’ve seen the overview, let’s get into the nitty gritty.
1. Assign a point person
Finding a corporate sponsor can take time and effort. Your coach is busy enough as it is, so you might want to ask for volunteers among the parents, preferably someone who is business-savvy. Remember, this is primarily a business transaction, so you will need someone who is professional and a good negotiator.
On Piggybackr, we do a lot of the work for you, but fundraising still works better with one person leading the effort.
2. Sponsorship is about providing value to the business
Unlike rallying donors for a traditional fundraising event or crowdfunding campaign, getting a corporate sponsor is less about making them feel good and more about providing a good “return on investment.” Do not approach businesses by saying that your team “needs a sponsor,” phrase it in terms of what you can do for them, and how the sponsorship package will help their business. While companies will be happy to support good causes, they will see sponsorship of your team as a kind of marketing, and will compare it to other options they have available. You have to make a strong case to them that it is worth their time and money.
National chains like Dick’s Sporting Goods have their own sponsorship programs in place, and all you have to do is apply and submit a proposal (http://dickssportinggoods.sponsorport.com/). You might want to think about searching for other large businesses that could be a good fit for your specific sport. For large companies, you might be able to fudge the return on investment a bit more than with smaller companies, simply because they have bigger marketing budgets, and they also have Corporate Social Responsibility budgets.
Small and Medium Local Businesses:
Local businesses have small (or nonexistent) marketing budgets, and they want to get the most bang for their buck. You have to get in the mind of the local business owner and think about what they want most. Think about what you can offer them beyond logo placement.
3. Think about some of the things you can offer sponsors
This is your chance to get creative! Think about all the things that you could do for a business that would bring them exposure (and hopefully sales). These are known as ASSETS and these are the source of your bargaining power when talking to a potential sponsor.
Here are some simple ideas:
- Logo on jersey
- Banner and signage at your home court, gym, or pool
- logo and message or flyer insert on printed materials
- logo and message or coupons in emails and newsletters
- logo on team website
- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram posts
Remember, you have a direct channel to a highly targeted audience and demographic. If you run a youth sports team, for example, your audience is going to be local kids and parents. A lot of businesses would love to get access to that. A lot of small local businesses are not well-versed in social media, but in a youth sports team, you can bet that your student athletes are! You could offer a certain number of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts by your student athletes, with an estimated number of views and clicks. A local business cannot buy that kind of targeted exposure elsewhere.
When you are developing your sponsorship packages, remember it’s important to understand the sponsors’ business goals. You might even want to directly ask them what their biggest marketing challenges are and see if you can help them address those when you are creating a tailored sponsorship package for them.
On Piggybackr, you can show your donors how much you appreciate their support by giving them small gifts that won’t cost you much. For example, give them a shout out on Facebook, a thank you letter, or an autographed picture of the team.
For business sponsors, we have some suggested items built into our tool. If you select these items, anyone coming to your page will clearly see all of your options - no confusion, no negotiation, it’s simple!
If a business selects an option that requires that they send you their logo and/or web address, we collect that stuff for you as part of the donation process.
4. Create your sponsorship packages
After you’ve brainstormed all the possible things you can offer a business, you can start grouping them into packages with a good pricing scheme. You can determine the prices of your packages by estimating what each item is worth. Let’s go through a few examples.
Let’s say that you are the coach of a little league baseball team and you have determined that you can print one logo on your team jerseys and hang a banner in your home field. Let’s say your team plays 20 games per season, and each game is attended by about 200 people. That means you can offer a potential sponsor 20 x 200 = 4000 impressions of their logo and banner. If each impression was worth $0.50 to the company, you could reasonably charge 4000 x $0.50 = $2000 for just your banner and logo on jersey package.
You can perform similar calculations for all the other assets you can offer.
- How many people do you estimate will visit your website in a season?
- How many people are on your newsletter mailing list?
- How many pieces of printed material do you hand out every season?
Not every impression is worth the same amount. It will depend a lot on the channel and the company. For example, a Tweet or Facebook post might not be worth much to a bank, but it might be worth a lot to a pizza parlor.
In general, you will want to have the calculations done ahead of time so that when you present your proposal, you have support for your prices if they ask. The company will most likely have their own thoughts on what value they place on your assets, but they will still be impressed that you did the work to calculate it. You cannot simply approach a company and offer them a banner for $2000, you have to be able to back it up and convince the company why it’s worth it.
If they think your numbers are high, that’s OK. It’s all part of the negotiation process. That means that they are at least willing to talk, and then you can negotiate to nail down the details.
On Piggybackr, you can create a few different sponsorship packages based on the suggestions in our easy-to-use tool. Remember to have at least one that is pretty high. Even if you don’t expect anyone to give at that level, it will get your potential donors thinking about giving larger amounts, and who knows, you might be surprised by a big donation!
5. Select sponsors that are right for your team
For a local youth sports team, your best bet will probably be companies for which you already have some kind of connection. Ask your team members to ask their parents about the companies they work at. It’s more difficult to approach companies that you don’t already know someone at, but it’s not impossible.
Remember that when you approach a company for potential sponsorship, you are starting a relationship. If your sponsor buys a package with your team, you would like them to be “repeat customers” each year, so that you can save work next season. Because of this, you need to be strategic in selecting and targeting the businesses you approach.
Think hard about the values of your team and those of the business you want to partner with, and make sure that these values line up. Make sure that the business goals of the company make sense with what you can offer them. For example, a company that sells lawnmowers or cleans pools would have a less direct connection to your team than a sporting goods store. That’s not to say that a lawnmower store couldn’t benefit from the exposure your team would give them at games and meets, just that it might be a tougher sell to them.
For a youth sports team, the most obvious categories of potential sponsors would be: sporting goods stores, restaurants, grocery stores, other local stores that have a parent or student focus. Think about the stores that your community shops at. Many of them would be happy to display a banner in their stores saying that they are sponsors of local youth sports, which is another way you can provide them value. Walk around your neighborhood and make a list, or use local sites like Yelp to get ideas.
Once you’ve narrowed your list down to about 10 businesses, it’s time to do more in-depth research.
6. Research your target companies thoroughly
Research the company and their values. Talk to people who work there and ask them if they have a corporate social responsibility budget, and if they would even consider sponsoring a local youth sports team. If not, then you can move on before you invest too much effort.
Once you’ve identified a few who are at least open to the idea of doing corporate sponsorship, now you can start writing your proposal. Understand exactly what the companies would like to get out of a sponsorship opportunity, and how you can help them. You want to really tailor your sponsorship proposal to each company you approach. Companies will appreciate that you know a lot about them and their goals, and it will make them feel special, which will make them more likely to buy.
7. Write a sponsorship proposal and sponsor letter
Here is the basic sponsorship proposal format.
Introduce yourself and your organization -
Business owners have a lot to do, and they probably receive a few requests for sponsorship each year. You want to make yourself stand out immediately. This is where you can talk about your audience numbers and demographics. Make sure to present yourself and your organization as professional, worthy of sponsorship. If you have had successful sponsors in the past, mention them and what they got out of it.
Talk about why exactly you are approaching this particular company for sponsorship
This is your chance to flatter the company (a little) and show them that you’ve done your research
Request sponsorship and lay out some of the sponsorship packages you created
Remember to tailor the packages slightly based on the specific company you’re approaching. You don’t have to show all the math behind how you arrived at the prices, but you can use those numbers later on in a phone call to back up your pricing.
Provide your contact information
Give them your email and phone number. Be sure to thank them for their time. If you have a team website, you can include this as part of your signature.
If possible, deliver your sponsorship letter in person, as it adds a personal touch. Small business owners will be a lot more friendly to you if they already know your name and face. Send out your request letters to your top 10 businesses.
On Piggybackr, you can reach out to all your potential supports easily using our built in email tools. Just enter your contacts, use our built-in email template (or write your own), and click “Send.” We keep track of who has donated and who has not, so you can follow up, or give a personalized thank you to those who donated.
We also provide a printable sponsorship proposal example flier that you can customize and hand out to local businesses.
8. Follow up!
It may take a few days or a week for the business to respond. If they don’t, don’t be afraid to follow up with a phone call. Be courteous, but persistent. The company might never have received your letter, or they might have simply forgot about it. If the business is not interested, thank them and ask for feedback on your proposal. You might learn something that will help you tweak it for next time. You can also try contacting them again the following season. Don’t give up!
At Piggybackr, we have learned from our years of experience on the ground of helping people just like you raise millions of dollars for their causes, and we have built all of our best fundraising practices right into our tool. Through our “smart notifications” feature, we tell you exactly when you should be reaching out to your potential donors and when you should be posting updates, so we take the guesswork out of it!
III. Using Piggybackr to Get Sponsorship
Piggybackr.com is a crowdfunding website for teams of all ages and experience levels. We help sports teams raise money online every day in an easy, effective, and profitable way. Just set up a page (it only takes 5 minutes), invite your team, send emails, and watch the donations roll in.
Sponsorship is built right into our product. We make it easy to give small, but meaningful, gifts to your friends and family, as well as offer real sponsorship value to businesses and larger donors.
Once you reach out to businesses, they can select which package they want right on your fundraising page, and we handle the payment and the delivery of their logo.
We believe that sponsorship can be beneficial for all parties involved. We also believe in the power of mobilizing “the crowd” - your personal network of friends and family - to help your fundraise. Good luck!