In recent weeks, one of my clients has received two sponsorship proposals. One for a sports and the other for an arts event.
Normally such are forwarded to our agency for assessment.
Unfortunately these two, like many others before them, will be rejected.
Both proposals detailed what the events were about and how much they needed to finance their activities, but they failed to demonstrate how my client, the potential sponsor, would benefit from the millions they were requesting.
"When asking for help, appeal to people’s self interest, never to their mercy or gratitude," Robert Greene said in the book, The 48 Laws of Power.
For your sponsorship proposal to get a big nod or any chance of a budget allocation from any of our corporates and to some extend government, the same mantra must articulate how the sponsor will benefit.
When seeking sponsorship, we recommend that one does research on what budgets the potential sponsor has available and the objectives thereof.
For example, a beverage company may have two budgets that a sports club can tap into, namely the Marketing Budget and the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Budget.
When going for the marketing budget, one must understand what the brand’s objectives are. Is it sales or just awareness?
Having understood this, the proposal must then demonstrate how these objectives will be met through the partnership.
The proposal must take a load off the marketing manager's shoulder. It must solve his or her problems, not the club’s. A proposal that offers branding at the stadium or a logo on the club’s website without demonstrating how this will meet the sponsor’s marketing objectives will fail.
There must be mention of numbers or case studies of how other sponsors have benefited from their association with the club or federation.
For example how many people watch the club’s matches on TV or in the stadium etc.
Imagine if the rugby union would demonstrate how Safaricom benefited from the years they were the title sponsors of the Safari Sevens. Or how Kenya Commercial Bank benefited from the Safari Rally. Such case studies, if supported with credible data, would leave sponsors lining up to take up these properties.
I am yet to see a proposal that mentions how the previous sponsors’ sales or brand value grew as a result of the partnership.
The proposal must demonstrate how the sponsor connects with the fan base and what possible activations are available for exploitation.
It's not enough that millions watch the matches across the world, the club must also demonstrate that the sponsor will be able to tap into these viewership. Federations and clubs must always keep in mind that corporates are not interested in paying for travel and players allowances, their only interest is how the partnership will affect their bottom-line.
The only reason a marketing manager will ask to see the budget, is to either ensure that the event will take place, or just to push down the cost of the partnership.
No advertiser asks a newspaper for their audited accounts before placing an advert.
They are only interested in the circulation and reach of the newspaper.
Similarly, a sponsor of a sports event ought to care more about the TV viewership and game attendance as opposed to how much players’ allowance were.
Sports federations must not imagine that corporates owe them anything.
Sponsorship must be about a mutually beneficial partnership.