How To Get Banks To Sponsor You

How To Get Banks To Sponsor You


Mike Wootton

Sponsorship lover, digital marketer and founder of Sponsorship Pantry. You should read this because it’s more informative than the latest episode of Love Island.

Here’s How To Get Banks To Sponsor You – Sponsorship Lessons

First things first, it’s probably a good idea to set some expectations. Following the advice in this article does not automatically guarantee you will land a whale of a cash sponsorship with a bank. 

What you will get though is some really valuable insights you can use to greatly improve your approach to a bank.

In reality, banks are relatively similar in their operations and services they offer. There really isn’t a lot of difference in what they provide which means you can save yourself a bunch of time by using a similar approach to all of them.

You might be reading this thinking ‘Hey! What makes you qualified to give these insights?’. Great question! I actually used to manage a multi-million dollar sponsorship portfolio for a bank so I’ll be drawing on my experience from then as well as my years of experience in the Sponsorship Industry.

Let’s jump into how to get a bank to sponsor you:

1. Understanding How A Bank Makes Money

For most businesses, their core reason for existing in some way, shape or form is generally to make money. Therefore, in order to provide value to a business, it always pays to understand how they make money and see if you can align yourself in a way which helps them do that. 

Sure, you could try and guilt trip them into feeling sorry for you, or by trying to convince them to be a ‘good corporate citizen’, but putting forward a case which focuses on adding value will be a stronger strategy.

Why? Well, most companies who can afford sponsorship tend to have to justify the money they spend to their shareholders. It’s much easier to justify a sponsorship which assists their business than it is to justify ‘we felt sorry for them’.

Let’s take a look at how a bank makes money:

  • Lending – This is probably a banks greatest form of income. By lending to home buyers, capital infrastructure, large developments and institutional lending. The bank makes big bucks by charging interest on the money they lend out.
  • Business Banking – Banking services for businesses
  • Rural Banking – Banking services for farmers
  • Corporate and Commercial Banking – Banking services for big business
  • Private Banking – Banking services for high net worth individuals
  • Personal Banking – Every day banking services
  • Student Banking – Banking services for those entering into college or university
  • Insurance – Insurance products to protect you, your family and your assets
  • Wealth – Investment funds for people to invest their money into
  • Funds Under Management – Large amounts of money held with the bank which they can lend out, normally via term-deposits, savings or retirement schemes like 401k (USA), Kiwisaver (NZ), Superannuation (Aus) or Personal Pension Scheme (UK)
  • Credit Cards – Short term lending normally in partnership with a third party credit card company such as Visa, Mastercard or American Express
  • Payments – How people can withdrawal money or make payments e.g. ATMs, Eftpos or Debit Cards
  • Foreign Exchange – Trading of international currencies

2. Insider Insights

In this part, I’m going to share with you some insights which you probably won’t find through research. In fact, probably some people who work at banks won’t even know this info.

The goal is to arm you with some useful insights to help you have better conversations when approaching banks for sponsorships.

Insight 1: Banks have multiple businesses

The best way I tell people to think about a bank is to view it as one large umbrella brand, with multiple smaller businesses that operate within it.

The reason I say this is because banks are typically pretty large. For instance, there were over 5,000 people who worked at the bank I did. There were 130 people in my wider team alone. That’s bigger than most small/medium businesses.

When you’re working with such large teams, it’s only natural that individual teams will often operate in silos or seemingly independent of one another.

Therefore, I tell people to think of every product or service, as well as all of the functions within the bank, such as Human Resources, Sales, Legal, I.T. etc, as their own small business.

Each department (or business) has a Head of Department or General Manager. Each of those Heads of Departments or General Managers has their own budgets as well as their own goals and objectives for their particular part of the business.

The reason this is important is because it means there’s often plenty of other people you can approach for sponsorship other than just the Marketing Team.

If you have benefits which might be of use to a particular team, then it gives you a reason to talk to them about it. For example, you could pitch volunteer opportunities to the Head of HR for staff engagement and professional development. You could pitch VIP hosting packages to the Head of Premium Banking as retention efforts for their high-net-worth clients.

Insight 2: Credit cards have BIG budgets

A fun fact about the banking world is that the team who manage credit card operations for the bank typically have a rather larger budget than most other teams.

If you’ve ever looked at your bank issued credit card, you’ll notice it will typically display a third-party logo on it, such as Visa or Mastercard.

Credit cards like these, which are issued by the banks, aren’t actually owned by the banks. The credit facility is owned by Visa or Mastercard, who pay a whopping amount of money to the banks to manage and issue the cards on their behalf.

Put it this way, the bank’s credit card team may have as big a budget as the rest of the bank’s entire marketing team combined. If you consider there were 130 people in the marketing team when I worked at a bank, that’s a pretty significant budget.

If you can pitch concepts such as exclusive payment options for Visa/Mastercard, early access to tickets for card holders, special entry, special bars, special parking, exclusive areas to access, money can’t buy experiences or something much more creative, then you’ll likely position yourself better for a conversation around sponsorship aligned with a bank’s credit card. 

Insight 3: Banks care about financial literacy

Financial literacy is important to most banks. It’s important, because when people understand money, finances and are educated in this space, then they’re likely to earn more, and use more bank products/services.

In short, do you have benefits which lend themselves to financial literacy?

Here are some ideas which might be useful:

– Content series which focuses on budgeting, or shows behind the scenes of your charity, event, team’s financial planning for a big event. Show how it’s a constant juggle, and think of how you could showcase the bank’s experts to guide you along the way, while filming the whole thing. 

– Money-saving tips and tricks. For instance, I recently pitched a concept to an investment firm in regards to a food and wine festival sponsorship. The concept involved filming a celebrity chef, showing how they find high quality food at cheaper prices, how they could make incredible meals out of leftovers or off-cuts and how you could do more for less. The investment firm could then use this content to help educate their customers around how to be better with money.

– Rewards, incentives or benefits which encourage some aspect of educating people about money. I once ran an activation called ‘Run Down Your Rate‘ which turned people’s marathon times into home loan rates and encouraged people to learn about interest rates/mortgages.

ASB Run Down Your Rate Activation

Insight 4: Correct contact details

When I worked for a bank, they had a business objective of having at least 50% of their entire business completed digitally, e.g. transactions, new accounts, mortgage applications and so forth. This number is most likely higher by now.

One of the major barriers to achieving that goal was having the correct contact details on hand for their customers.

You see, people lose their phones, they change their address, get new email addresses and sometimes they change their names through marriage.

The bank knew that a customer with the correct contact details on file was worth more to the bank than a customer with incorrect details. With the correct details, the bank was able to send timely marketing messages, provide better customer service and, overall, they could ensure the customer had the right product or services for their needs.

Are there ways you can incentivise people to update their contact details?

Maybe you could provide exclusive access to an area at an event in exchange for updating your contact details with the bank.

Perhaps you could run a draw where anyone who updates their contact details during a particular month goes into the draw to win a money can’t buy experience. Or maybe you’ll plant a tree on their behalf, if you’re a charity.

Insight 5: Competitive advantage

As I mentioned earlier, banks don’t really differ much when it comes to the products and services they offer. They’re all pretty similar. It’s this competitive landscape that makes ‘competitive advantage’ benefits much more attractive and of greater value.

Competitive advantage benefits are benefits that can provide the bank and/or their customers with something which the other banks simply can’t provide.

This could be by way of money can’t buy experiences, customer-related benefits, exclusivity and other unique benefits.

Personally, I’ve witnessed on a number of occasions senior managers at the bank fight for a particular sponsorship or cause simply because they didn’t want another bank to have it out of fear the other bank could get some form of competitive advantage.

Most of the time though, these decisions weren’t really about sound sponsorship strategy, and typically had more to do with ego.

Insight 6: Venue sponsorships and banks

One of the most profitable services the bank offers is lending, where they loan you money and charge interest until you repay the loan.

For venues, I see this as one of the biggest draw cards you have when it comes to sponsorship.

Many venue builds or capital projects require millions of dollars in investment, infrastructure and building costs.

The majority of large capital projects undertake large loans in order to get off the ground.

To me, proposing your lending requirements to a bank in return for sponsorship seems like a fantastic benefit to offer.

3. Recap

Now you should be equipped with some useful insights to get the creative juices flowing when it comes to bank sponsorships.

After reviewing hundreds of sponsorship proposals when I worked at the bank, I can guarantee this, even if you just start thinking about sponsorship in a way which uses insights such as the ones outlined in this article, then you’ll easily be better than 99% of the other proposals the bank receives.

If you find this useful, make sure to let me know, or share it with others.

4. Get access to more sponsorship insights, strategies and sponsorship knowledge just like this

For more insights, strategies and sponsorship knowledge then check out KICK *SS – Your guide to getting sponsorship deals the easy way 

You’ll find our best insights, video training, worksheets, templates and strategies just like this one. Grab it today because we all want better sponsors

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Dear Sponsorship Seeker

Working in a passion niche like Sports, Events, Charities, Content Creation or Gaming is a tremendously rewarding and often fun environment to work in.

Do you know what isn’t so fun about working in this niche though?

The constant struggle and requirement of securing new revenue to keep the doors open.

Every day, constantly balancing up between staff costs, operating costs, growing the organisation, investing in future developments and generating revenue.

Pursuing sponsorship from brands to help ease this pressure would surely mean everything would become so much easier, right?

But, how does someone actually get Sponsorship.? It sounds easy enough. Get some brand to pay big money in exchange for putting their logo on some marketing material. Boom, done!

Here’s how it normally goes.

It starts with developing sponsorship proposals with professional designs, great pictures and all the benefits that came to mind.

The proposals come with well thought out sponsorship levels like Gold, Silver and Bronze packages with varying amounts of free tickets, logo placements, the ability to activate and brand awareness opportunities.

It gets sent out to all the usual suspects, Nike, Coca-Cola, Banks, Insurance Companies, Car Companies, Travel Companies and so on.

But, for the most part, it falls flat on it’s face and hardly anyone even replies. Or it’s some generic email response which is generally a polite form of a big fat NO.

When a brand finally does come on board it’s so tough to keep them, let alone knowing how much money to ask for without scaring them away.

Half of them have regular staff turnover which means the relationship manager changes often, and of course their replacement wants to change or challenge everything that was already agreed upon.

Most of the time it seems next to impossible to actually get the brand to spend money on leveraging their sponsorship, while at the same time they’re wondering why they’re not getting sales from the sponsorship.

It was all supposed to an easy fix to the financial struggle of working in a passion niche. Now it seems more like a full-time job.

That doesn’t sound so fun anymore.

If only there was a way to approach brands and not only do they return emails about sponsorship proposals, but they get excited to chat about it and interested in hearing more. How much of a difference would that make?

Imagine having enough confidence and not worrying about how much money to ask for?

Finding a way to get brands to open up their wallets and spend extra money on leveraging their sponsorship over and above the money they originally paid.

Being equipped with amazing tools, measurement techniques and award-winning strategies that put you at the top of your sponsorship game?

If you’re tired of going it alone and want this kind of support, then it’s time to hit us up.

Because things won’t change unless you take action.

or send us an email

Dear Sponsors

It all started with the purchase of that seemingly ‘great’ sponsorship.

It was supposed to get lots of media attention and create all sorts of great opportunities for the company.

Now senior management are asking the team to show a return on investment and demonstrate the impact this sponsorship has had on the business.

There are rumours of budget cuts coming, that’s probably why the pressure is growing from the top.

No doubt the sponsorship budget will be one of the first budgets on the chopping block. The sales team is already piping up with the usual comments ‘we make money and all you do is spend it’.

It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed and lost. There must be a way to measure results and be great with sponsorship, other companies seem to spend millions on it, so surely, they must know how to do it, right?

Getting some extra budget for leveraging is what’s really needed, not a budget cut!  

What if there was a way to not only protect the sponsorship budget, but to actually grow it so the company can do some cool leveraging while getting great returns?

What if there was a way to successfully measure results and return on investment? A way to hand on heart say ‘heck yeah, this is totally worth it!’?

A way to impress senior management, achieve organisational objectives and also make your customers absolutely pumped.

The fantastic news is this is exactly what Sponsorship Pantry can help you with. We’ve stood in your shoes and we know exactly how to get your approach to sponsorship cranking along.

Any sponsor can have a powerful, efficient and accountable sponsorship portfolio.

It’s time to hit us up, because doing the same old thing will continue getting you the same old results.

or send us an email