How To Get Sponsors To Spend Extra Money On Leveraging Their Sponsorship

How many times have you worked your butt off onboarding a brand to sponsor you or your organisation, only to have the following happen?

– They don’t spend any time or money actually leveraging, promoting or activating their sponsorship.

– They expect to get a return on investment from their sponsorship fee alone without leveraging their involvement.

– They say things like ‘We’re not getting a return or making any sales from this sponsorship‘.

You’re not alone, this is a common challenge in the sponsorship industry and we’re going to explore how you can navigate that in this article.

1. Managing expectations – Sponsorship is like a gym membership

The first step in getting brands to spend extra money is to manage expectations.

First of all, you should be making it clear in your negotiations that in order to get a return on investment they will have to spend extra money on leveraging the sponsorship, otherwise they will likely get very limited value from it.

Sometimes you may get a blank stare back at you. No need to be disheartened, take it as a chance to educate your sponsor.

One of the best ways to manage expectations is explain that sponsorship is much like a gym membership.

When you buy a gym membership, you’re buying access to the gym, the gym equipment, the changing rooms, the classes and other benefits.

If you don’t actually turn up to the gym and workout, or use the facilities then you don’t get the rock star abs or results you were looking for when you signed up.

Sponsorship is the same!

When you pay to sponsor an organisation, event, charity etc you’re paying to access their facilities, their expertise, their audiences or their event etc.

You don’t actually get the results without leveraging, promoting or activating (i.e. working out).

If you sit back and do nothing with the sponsorship then you won’t get the rock star abs your brand is looking for when you signed up.

Pretty good analogy, right?

2. Come up with leveraging ideas yourself

No offense to all the brands out there, but lots of them lack imagination and creativity. It’s why they hire big brand agencies and look for sponsorships like yours to help build their brand. 

Plenty of the people you’ll be dealing with are also too time poor to invest adequate mental energy on being creative.

The other part of the equation you need to understand is no one is going to understand your event, charity, brand, team etc better than you do.

The best people at getting sponsors to spend extra money on leveraging are constantly listening to their sponsors about what their problems are and also for the ways that brand prefers their image to be represented in the market.

Those same sponsorship seekers regularly put forward their own leverage ideas of how a brand can get additional value or how they can bring that brand to life through sponsorship.

Presenting your own leverage ideas is also a fantastic opportunity to pitch ideas which help you add value to your own customers, followers and participants.

Presenting leverage ideas to a sponsor is a much stronger proposition than simply offering someone ‘the ability to leverage or activate‘ at your event/charity/team etc.

The first thing which comes to mind for many brands when you say the above line is they’ll often go straight into confusion mode with questions like…

– ‘Huh?? What does the ability to activate at your event even mean?’

– ‘Where can we activate?’

– ‘What can we do?’

– ‘We’ve never been to your event, we don’t even know where to start?’

Offer your ideas instead and do the thinking for them. It means you’re more likely to get what you want.

Even if you don’t hit the mark 100% with the ideas you put forward, you’ll likely spark some imagination or ideas within the brands own thinking which is also a win.

Once they can visualise their brand coming to life at your event then they’re more invested in exploring sponsorship with you further.

3. Focus on them

When you’re pitching leverage ideas it’s important to relate it back to your sponsor’s objectives or reasons on why they took on your sponsorship in the first place.

Let’s say you have a technology company or telco who sponsors you.

They said they’re interested in promoting sales for their new phone, or latest gadget.

Let’s also say you want to build a new high tech customer engagement zone at your event with gaming stations, mobile charging stations, interactive virtual reality and immersive digital experiences.

Rather than simply saying, ‘why don’t you create a tech engagement zone at our event?‘. You could pitch it to them as a great way to showcase their product at the event, and how you’re going to facilitate engagement between fans and the product.

Talk about how it’s a fantastic fit for showing the company is more than simply just that one gadget or phone. Take it further and mention how you can give exclusive access or benefits for their customers within that area.

Include the ability for them to sign up new potential customers while also loaning out their new phones for people to take photos with at the event  as a way to encourage trials of the new phone and showcasing the latest camera technology in that phone.

Get a graphic designer to design some plans which brings the idea to life so they can visualise it and see how their brand fits within this idea.

By focusing on what’s important to them and providing leverage ideas/opportunities which help them achieve their goals, you’re changing the narrative.

You’re making a shift from ‘can you please spend some more money and activate with us?‘, to ‘here is a way to solve your problems and kick some goals, score some points or chalk up some wins for your company‘.

When you solve people’s challenges they’ll be more motivated to get onboard with your ideas, and will be more invested in ensuring the outcome is a success.

4. Get others involved

Sometimes you’re going to get responses about how a brand isn’t able to get enough budget to leverage. 

 Chances are, you’re probably only dealing with one team within that brand’s company, such as the Marketing team or the Brand team.

The challenge when you’re only working with one team and they’re saying ‘we don’t have additional budget for leveraging‘ is that you’re also only working with one budget.

But, guess what? Luckily, other teams in that company are also going to have their own budgets too.

Ask about those teams, get to know what their goals and pain points are as well. Then offer to solve their problems in exchange for accessing extra budget.

HR may be struggling with staff engagement which you can assist with by offering bespoke staff experiences as a reward. Or perhaps having staff volunteer with you as a team building exercise. Maybe you’ve got access to expert knowledge and can create bespoke content especially for staff like a healthy diet plan, or special training.

Sales might be struggling with sales. You can create co-branded products, provide incentives to the sales team, host their top clients or incentivise purchases with a fantastic experience/reward.

The I.T. team might be wanting to showcase some new technical features within your product range or app. You can showcase that technology at your event, or help promote it via your own marketing channels to incentivise trialing it.

Suggesting leverage ideas which tick the organisational objectives of other teams will allow you to start conversations around working with those other teams.

Expecting the one team you’re dealing with to be thinking along these lines already? Don’t, it’s easy for us to become siloed and be concentrating on our own areas of interest (especially within larger organisations).

5. 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