Find Your Match - Sponsorship for Dance
Sponsorship is partnership. In dance it usually involves an organisation providing funds, resources or services in return for promotion and association with a project or event and its creators. It’s a powerful marketing tool that connects a company with its customers (building or enhancing that relationship) in a unique way. A key point to remember is that for sponsors it’s an investment and they are looking for a return on it.
It’s important to approach sponsorship professionally, be well prepared and see it through to the end. A good arrangement, carefully negotiated and carried out, will benefit both you and your sponsor.
You should understand your own brand (identity) or product as well as your attributes and values. Know who you are and where you are going. Matching one or more of your key attributes with your sponsor’s can help develop a good relationship. The more shared attributes between you and your potential sponsor, the more likely they are to be interested in you.
Research your sponsor well. Look for companies with similar attributes and values to your own. Pay close attention to the language they use to describe themselves and what they want to achieve. Check the company website, obtain their annual/financial report and talk to people who have dealt with them before.
A sponsor will want to achieve some of these things:
Find out who is best to contact, such as the marketing or sponsorship manager. Contact the key person by phone and discuss your ideas. Sponsors receive hundreds of proposals, and rather than waste time putting a proposal together, find out if they are interested first. Mention the potential budget. A personal approach is always best.
Sponsors will ask you to send in a proposal. Ask them what they require from you; for example, how would they like to receive your proposal - do they want it by email, hard copy, DVD? Avoid huge amounts of writing. Ask how many pages they prefer and know where to stop (10 pages max).
Some organisations will have their own sponsorship proposals for you to complete.These can often be obtained online.
Be careful not to appear too arrogant – a sponsor can live without you, or too humble – it doesn’t inspire confidence. Always be honest, the industry is too small and you will get found out. If a sponsor says no, don’t take it personally and never try another route in.
Keep it succinct and well presented. Sponsors receive hundreds of proposals, yours needs to stand out. Use bullet points and visuals. Individualise the proposal. Don’t cut and paste - a sponsor does not take kindly to receiving a sponsorship proposal addressed to another company!
Research the sponsor’s budget planning cycle. Each company will have a different financial year. If you are looking for significant funds such as with Naming Rights, you should have the proposal in at least 3 months prior to the beginning of their financial year, sooner if you can. For a contract or smaller financial sponsorship proposal, one month prior is usually sufficient.
Always outline the benefits you are able to offer your sponsor in return for their help - never promise things you cannot deliver.
Contra sponsorship: Products or services that are provided in lieu of cash in exchange for sponsorship right. Also known as in-kind or value in kind.
Donation: An offering of product or cash that is given by a company without any anticipated commercial return. Also known asphilanthropy.
Grant: The provision of funds or material for a specific project generally not linked to a company’s core business. The grant is given on the basis of the need for the project rather than the promotional and marketing opportunities it might provide.
Financial sponsorship: Monetary investment.
Exclusivity: Exclusive rights to sponsorship or on-site sales.
Leverage: Sponsor generated activities that take place around a sponsorship and deliver most of the value of a sponsorship investment. Also called maximization or activation.
Naming Rights Sponsor: Sponsors name added to the event such as ‘Coca Cola Christmas in the Park’. Also known as title sponsor.
Principal sponsor: The pre-eminent sponsor of any event or property, receiving the highest level of benefit and promotion.
Festival and Special Event Management, 1999: Ian McDonnell, Johnny Allen, William O’Tool.
The Sponsor’s Toolkit, 2001:Anne-Marie Grey & Kim Skildum-Reid
Scott Ashton, Sally Frewin , Jessica Clarke