Many people ask me for advice regarding sponsorship for the Gazelle (and other racing, events, etc.).   Asking for sponsorship isn’t easy.  This is obviously not a complete guide but a few tips from my experience.  There are several strategies that can be successful, but one of the most important things to remember is – no one is going to sponsor you if you don’t ask.

Do your research – Just because you think a company is the right fit, doesn’t mean they do.  Before you pitch a company, make sure you have done your research and have a clear reason why they are the right fit and what value you can provide them.

Ask for help but don’t expect someone else to do the work for you. – Sponsorship takes time.  You may have to pitch MANY companies to get a couple.  Unless your best friend is a sponsorship expert, you will probably be doing the work yourself.  It will make you appreciate the entire process and sponsor.

Great looking proposal & well-written pitch – make it compelling and succinct.  Always remember that companies have stacks of pitches and inboxes full of requests.  STAND OUT and be memorable.  Remember your passion for the event and convey that in your communications.  (I recently received the wildest, funniest request including the option to name someone’s first born.  We will never forget that letter or the person’s name.  Based on their ability to make an impression, they will definitely make an impression for the brand.)

Not Shaq or Kobe? – If you don’t have a big track record, don’t ask for the moon.  Provide a value and an opportunity for the company to test the sponsorship out.   A returning sponsor is a beautiful thing.

Use your network – Don’t underestimate the power of friends and family.  Utilize your contact network.  When it comes to the Gazelle, people close to you will most likely want to help you go.  Make it possible for them to do so.  Be creative.  For example, a family member might have miles for your plane tickets or other needed items.   Maximize regional sponsors and regional media that will be interested in your story.

Understand the goals and over deliver – Once you have your sponsor, ensure you deliver on each item promised.  Also, MAKE SURE you ask your sponsor what he/she hopes to get out of the support for your team.  Understand that over deliver.

Show your thanks – I don’t care if someone gave you $100 or 10,000, show each and every sponsor how much you appreciate them.  Every dollar and piece of help enables you to reach your dreams and goals.  Never feel entitled to sponsorship!

Want more tips?  Contact me @ emily@soulsidenetwork.com.