Getting corporate sponsors is a great way to get things paid for and done for a small- or medium-size business. With corporate sponsors, the possibilities are endless. You can grow your business, not have to pay for food for events, obtain free giveaway items for events and more. To land a corporate sponsor and acquire an extra $10,000 to $100,000 annually, you must take some key steps to sell yourself.
Research your demographics and specify this clearly in your corporate sponsorship proposal. Specifying your target market is vital. If the business you are approaching does not feel your market is worth spending on, it will not offer to sponsor you.
Be clear about your platform. If you are going to put together an event for women business owners and your mailing list of women business owners exceeds 100,000, state that clearly in your presentation. When the company knows the kind of exposure you will give them, the more likely it will be to sponsor your event.
Put together a killer sponsorship proposal. Make it compelling and according to a specified format to stand out. Make sure you have someone skilled in getting corporate sponsorship review your proposal. You only get one chance, so use it wisely.
Promise specific deliverables. This goes back to your demographics. State very clearly what you will do, who you will reach and how. For instance, a specific deliverable might be, "I will give you media coverage to 50,000 work-at-home moms through my partnership with x-website that has a mailing list of more than 50,000 work-at-home moms." Another deliverable might be, "I will give you media coverage and brand exposure to more than 10,000 real estate executives attending the real estate business executives conference in Philadelphia."
Ask for enough money and don't sell yourself short. This is not the time to start small, establish yourself with a company, then ask for more in the future. The person considering your proposal will not go through all the work to get your sponsorship if all you request is a measly $1,000. Instead, request a minimum of $10,000 over the course of a year — perhaps up to $100,000 — depending on your name brand and product service. Even if you are putting on one event and looking for sponsorship for that event, still ask for the money for a period of one year.
Locate the proper person to send your proposal. Don't fill out an online sponsorship request form because these are designed to keep solicitations away. Make personal phone calls, beginning with the marketing department. Be polite, introduce yourself and ask for the name of the proper contact person. Ask to speak to the person directly. If the marketing department gets you nowhere, consider other departments such as public relations, community affairs, community relationship, public affairs, supplier diversity or brand management. Whatever you do, never introduce yourself via email. Most corporations have excellent spam software, which means your message will probably never get read.
Don't fail to fulfill any promises you make. This means you must be impeccable with your word. If you say you're going to be at a meeting or on a conference call at a specific time — be there — even early. If you say you're going to follow up with an email, do it. Your entire reputation, and possibly your corporate sponsorship, both rely on you following through and keeping your promises.