Welcome to part two of our Sponsorship series, where we cover the basics of how your grassroots sports club can create successful sponsor partnerships. Download our free sponsorship ebook here.
In part one, Mark Cornish, LoveFootball Community Ambassador (and sponsorship guru), explained the difference between a sponsor and a donor. Now, he discusses the most important thing you need to provide a potential sponsor with, to help them to make a decision.
How to sell your club to potential sponsors
One of the most valuable assets you can offer potential sponsors is access to your membership base. As we discussed in part one of this series, many companies looking for clubs to sponsor are aiming to increase their community affinity – something your membership base can provide them with.
But the important thing is how you present this information to the company; the easier it is to digest, the more likely you are to sign a deal.
What type of information are potential sponsors looking for?
Luckily, the information you need to provide is already at your fingertips. Some of the key areas they’ll be interested to learn about are:
- Demographics – how does that break down across your membership and what is the total reach across all those connected with your club (if you have a CRM like LoveAdmin, you’ll have this information at your fingertips)
- Your social media statistics – how many followers do you have? How engaged is this audience with your content?
- Your website statistics – how many people visit your site every month?
- Your weekly/monthly/yearly club attendance figures
- Average footfall in your clubhouse each week/month/year
Once you have gathered this information, you can start to piece it together in an accessible way to share it with the potential sponsor.
But first, you need to be clear on who will be reviewing this information, so that you can tailor it accordingly.
Who will be reviewing the information?
It’s likely you’ll start your conversations about a possible partnership with a general manager of a company, or perhaps a sales / marketing manager. And so whilst you need to cater the information to them, you also need to be aware that there’s a high chance it will be circulated throughout their organisation.
These kinds of business decisions involve many stakeholders. Therefore the information could be distributed to people in community relations teams, the marketing and sales functions, or possibly even regional managers.
Also, it’s important to be aware that the companies you’ll be looking to partner with will probably not have a Sponsorship function within the business. That means they will have a lot of other job responsibilities aside from reviewing and approving your potential sponsorship. In this instance, you need to make the reviewing process as easy for them as you can. So ensure you tailor the information to the relevant stakeholders, and provide it in a way that’s easy to digest. This will boost your chances of success with any deal.
How should the information be presented?
The best way to present your membership information is as a digital fact sheet (download your editable version here).
Let’s take a look at an example fact sheet, and break down all of the key elements you need to include:
1. Background information
Begin the fact sheet by summarising your club’s history to provide the reader with context. Remember, someone who hasn’t yet been involved in the conversations could be reviewing this, so you need to (briefly and succinctly) detail who you are. This only needs to be a few sentences.
2. Membership demographics
As we’ve discussed, potential sponsors want to understand the type of audience they’re likely to reach by partnering with you. Your membership could be broken down into postcodes and displayed in a pie chart – this is a simple way of presenting the information.
You may be concerned here about data protection. But remember that as long as the postcode information is aggregated into percentages, that’s fine. You’re not giving out details of people’s addresses, you’re simply providing the potential sponsor with a feel for the areas your members live in. This is highly useful information for them to assess the advertising opportunities they’d gain – do they have any competitors in your most dominant member location? Or perhaps if they’re a shop, do they have any physical presence close to your members?
Other demographic information such as age groups and genders will also be useful here. Just ensure you display this in the same, aggregated format so to protect your members’ data.
3. The size of your reach
Next, you need to provide a summary of the reach your club has (this is shown in the ‘Stats’ section above). This simply includes the number of registered members you have (in this case, the number of players), your age groups, the number of teams in your club, the size of your database, and who the database comprises of (for example, players, parents and fans). This will demonstrate the size of your influence in the local community.
Then, include a section with key social media and website statistics. As we discussed in part one of this series, you’ll likely have a highly engaged digital audience, who are passionate about your club. This is something potential sponsors would be very interested in gaining access to. So pull out some of your best figures here, such as: the number of users that visit your site each month, how many of those are unique visitors, the number of followers you have on social media, and how much engagement you generate from your social media posts.
This information is all easily accessible via your website analytics platform (like Google Analytics), and social media profiles, so you can quickly highlight the impact you could have on the potential sponsor’s business in helping them to build awareness.
4. Your facilities
Finally, include information of the kinds of facilities your sponsors would have access to, such as clubhouses, car parks, or pitches. Visualising this with icons or graphics helps to increase the digestibility of this information.
Compiling these four key pieces of information into one fact sheet will enable your potential sponsors to quickly and easily review the partnership opportunity. It will also demonstrate to them that you understand their business objectives, and that you can deliver. This will give them confidence that you’d activate the partnership successfully.
Once you’ve created this document, add it to a page on your website. That way, whenever you begin conversations with a potential sponsor, you can simply direct them to that page. Or even when companies are researching for local clubs to sponsor, you will stand out if you have this information readily available, without them even needing to ask.
In part three of this series, we’ll discuss the next step of this journey: understanding the types of assets your club can offer a potential sponsor, and how you can display this information.
If you’re involved with a gymnastics or football club and would like to hear more about sponsorship and discuss with fellow committee members, join our dedicated Facebook Communities:
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