Developing a sponsorship strategy
This page covers developing and implementing a successful sponsorship strategy and sponsorship proposals, and how to quantify the value of sponsorship.
Developing the strategy
Both prospective New Zealand sponsors and trusts can be very reluctant to sponsor one-off events, as they generally prefer longer-term sponsorship deals.
When you're developing your sponsorship structure and strategy for the event:
- determine a sponsorship structure, eg a ‘family of 5’ type strategy with secondary supply/associate sponsors
- identify relevant companies/industry sectors to be approached:
- Keep a careful balance between companies if there are different levels of involvement, so that each is clear about how they fit in with each other — particularly about whether they are seen as sponsors or as official suppliers.
- Focus on targeting companies that can help reduce some of your event’s 'bottom line' expenditure items through 'value in kind' sponsorship.
- Be flexible — all sponsors and suppliers vary as to their objectives, ambitions, personalities and how much they will get involved in and support the event
- determine the value of the sponsorship packages
- outline the benefits and sales features of each package
- set the financial/sponsorship sales targets and timelines, and include these in the strategy
- identify a range of other commercial/fundraising opportunities including donations, merchandising etc.
Note: Make sure you approach prospective sponsors at least 12 months before your event to meet company budgetary rounds. Don’t leave it too late.
Sport New Zealand provides a framework on its website for sports organisations wanting to secure, develop and retain commercial partnerships.
Developing sponsorship proposals and agreements
Develop tailored proposals specific to the companies approached — avoid the ‘shotgun’ method.
Use the sponsorship strategy as your operational guideline. Develop sponsorship presentations and schedule follow-ups based on the signed-off strategy.
Aim to include the event sponsorship benefits in a longer-term legacy project/plan with the partner or rights holder organisation. This will help maximise funding opportunities. For example, link your event sponsorship to a longer-term sponsorship opportunity with the host sports organisation if applicable.
Quantifying sponsorship value
Establishing the price of any sponsorship programme is always difficult. Bear in mind the following principles:
- compare the sponsorship prices for previous events as well as the media value in terms of potential coverage, before setting the price you seek
- be realistic and flexible in your negotiations
- make sure you offer enough tangible benefits to match the sponsor’s commitment and try to exceed this projection at the event itself.
The downfall of many events is over-optimistic forecasting on ticket sales, trust funding and sponsorship revenue in the early budget planning phase:
- be conservative in your budget estimations
- take a ‘worst case scenario’ approach
- ask an experienced major event professional to 'reality check' your forecasting.