To be a successful sports organization, you need financial backing. While player fees and fundraising efforts can help clubs make ends meet, there can still be a gap between what’s in the organization’s budget and what it needs to be competitive and attract top players.

Obtaining sponsorships is one way to close this gap. Sponsors can help provide funds for specific needs or make a general contribution to the club’s fund. While there are plenty of sponsors for sports organizations to target, finding a corporate partner can be the most beneficial. These businesses typically have more funds to be able to dedicate to sponsorships, and they are usually large enough to have an existing process in place for how to apply for a sponsorship, making it easy for the organization and the company. 

Get tips on how to determine which corporate partners might be a good fit for your club.

Identify Types of Businesses

The first step in finding a corporate partner is to identify which types of businesses it might make sense to pursue a sponsorship from. You can start by making a list of all pro sports teams in the area. Other options can be large health clubs or fitness facilities, hospitals or health clinics, fitness apparel companies, or large sporting goods stores.

Start Locally

When looking for a corporate partner, it typically makes sense to start with businesses in your community. Make a list of large corporations that are headquartered in your surrounding area. These will be more accessible and will also help establish a connection to the organization when you make your pitch. Some corporations might even set aside money for local contributions, so this can help you get your foot in the door.

Not sure where to look? Perform an internet search for the top corporations headquartered in your area. Another option is to pay attention to the corporate logos around the stadium or arena during your local professional and college teams’ next home games. Pro and NCAA teams seek corporate partners as well, so you can use their signage to help you create a list of local corporations to target.

Don’t Be Afraid to Look Nationally

Just because it can be easier to find a local corporate sponsor doesn’t mean you can’t look nationally. Large national businesses can be willing to donate money to sports clubs for the opportunity to get their branding into a local community. Your club might have more competition for these sponsorships, but it doesn’t hurt to try!

Research Each Company’s Mission, Vision, Values

When performing your research on possible partners, make sure to look at each company’s mission, vision, and values. You want to ensure that the business you select has similar interests as your club and is an organization your club can be proud to be associated with. This is also a way to ensure the company has a genuine interest in your sport, club or community.

Research Their Sponsorship Commitments and History

When compiling your list of potential corporate partners, perform research to see if the businesses are currently sponsoring other teams, and if so, which ones. If they sponsor similar clubs, it shows they are willing to partner with organizations like yours. It can also be worthwhile to investigate their past partnerships, as this can also provide insight into which types of organizations they sponsor and what types of sponsorships they provided. 

Know Who to Contact

Large corporations typically have personnel dedicated to handling sponsorship requests. Do a little digging while compiling your list of potential partners to determine who to contact at each company. This information is usually listed on their corporate website. Finding this person’s information can help prevent you from being rerouting between various individuals and will put you in touch with the person directly responsible for collecting club information and communicating sponsorship criteria.

Need help presenting to a potential sponsor? Check out “How to Present Sponsorship Opportunities

Look for Sponsorship Applications & Materials

While on each corporate partner’s website, also try to locate their sponsorship information. These large companies might have sponsorship applications and materials available on their website for you to complete and submit. This can save you time in trying to track down materials and criteria for what information needs to be submitted.

Determine What Type of Partnership Each Company Seeks

While researching each company it’s important to identify what type of a sponsorship each business can potentially be looking for. Are they willing to make a cash donation? Will they donate equipment or travel expenses to a tournament? Also, determine how they want to be recognized. Do they want a logo on jerseys? Signage at the facilities? Logos on the club website or other communications? Establishing these criteria early will help you identify which companies are the best fit for your organization.

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