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Myths About Sponsorship

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Finding sponsors is a lot of work. Do you want to make it even harder and lessen your chances of success? Of course not. So ignore the deceptive voice in your head that tells you:

1.All they need to know is how great I am

They will want to know you’re great, of course, since they will be putting their name next to yours. But make no mistake, sponsors will always want to know ‘what’s in it for me?’  In practical language this means you need to modify your approach. Instead of telling sponsors why you are so awesome, tell them why it will so great for them if they sponsor you.

2.The first thing I need to look for is someone with lots of money

Money is good, if that’s what you’re looking for (see #3). But there is a difference between them having money and being willing to part with it. So what you are looking for first is a good fit; someone interested in what you are doing. Are you putting on Moliere’s Tartuffe? Write to French businesses. Is your theme global warming? Look at companies that have been vocal in their commitment to environmental causes. Planning something new and daring? Hit up the edgy brands. You get the idea.

3. I only need to look at sponsors with a lot of money

Money is hard to come by. You can reduce the amount you need by finding other sponsors that give in kind. For example, a wedding shop may let you borrow some dresses for Cinderella’s scene at the ball. A café may cater your charity event or a hotel may provide accommodation for your touring group.

4. Their word is good enough for me

Get it in writing. Spell out clearly what they will be giving you and what they get in return. Make sure you agree not only on how much, but when you get the funds, etc.

5.They’re signing the cheque, so they own me

This is an equal partnership and both of you should be comfortable with what you are giving. So by all means acknowledge them in your programme, press releases and posters, but maybe draw a line at bathing their cat or engraving their logo on every instrument in the string section.

6.I’m going to get as many sponsors as possible

Remember the ‘what’s in it for me?’ aspect? Make sponsorship exclusive. If you approach fewer companies, you can ask for more because they’ll feel like chosen ones rather than part of a funding stampede. You also will also need to spend time (business and pleasure – see #8) with your sponsors so keep the number manageable.

7. I’m going after Nike and Adidas

Do not approach rivals for sponsorship. It is impolitic to call up ABC Insurance when XYZ Insurance is already on board. They won’t want their logos next to each other on their programme, especially if one, having given less money, appears smaller than their competitor.

8.Once I have the cheque, my job is done

If you haven’t yet, you’ll soon learn that getting sponsors is tough. So once you get them, treat them well. Nurture the relationship. Call them with updates, send them pictures of rehearsals, thank them publicly on your social media pages. In other words, turn on the mega-manja. The better they feel for sponsoring you this time around, the more likely they are to sponsor future events.

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Amy De Kanter
Amy De Kanter

Former Chief Editor, frequent contributor and enthusiastic audience member, Amy is thrilled to have a job that lets her do three of the things she loves most.