Preparing to Get a Sponsor: Rule #1 Sponsors are Not Investors

Larry Weil, The Sponsorship Guy - Man tearing paper in half

Sponsors are risk averse. That’s right. They must know that a property or partnership can deliver what they say. I get inquiries every week from well-meaning individuals with underdeveloped concepts. It could be a concert series, a festival, a race team. They all have one thing in common: as soon as they get sponsorship money they will start putting their project together.

It just doesn’t work that way. Sponsors are looking to move their business forward. They don’t need to take a chance on unproven or unlaunched concepts. If they have a concept they like that is new or unproven, they will launch it themselves. Think Red Bull. They have created almost all of their properties from scratch. But they own them and control them.

If you have an idea, you need to know that they are going to want to see results, numbers, attendance, web traffic. Sponsors can spend their money on lots of established properties. These properties can supply demographics, surveys, case studies, attendance, web and social platforms. The sponsor can then extrapolate the value and alignment from the data. They can’t do that with an idea.

I got a call from a very bright guy this week who is looking to start a film festival. He wanted to know where he should start so that his property will be attractive to sponsors in a few years. That is a good way to do it. Create a property with the kind of benefits and features that are valuable to sponsors. Grow it organically, prove there is an audience, define the audience and grow the audience.

Now if you have heavyweight credentials in an industry such as music or events and want to approach a sponsor based on your resume that could work; but you will be armed with the data and insights that an expert in your category can articulate to the prospective sponsor.

Always keep in mind that sponsors can choose to invest or not. Established sponsors are bombarded with hundreds of proposal each month. If you are going to stand out you better know what they need and prove that you can deliver it.

For more details, please contact me.