The hidden formula for attracting sponsors


Attracting sponsors to support your event, organisation, community group or charity can be hard work. It can be a bit like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

To simplify the process, I'm going to give you a formula to apply before you send out your first proposal. If you have a clear answer to each of the formula components then you are well and truly ready to start engaging with potential sponsors. The point of the formula is to make sure you apply a laser focus to how you engage with sponsors. There's little use in having a dollar figure in your head as a fund-raising target and then doing a mass mail-out to the most active sponsors in your area. This won't work because there's been no consideration given to the exact fit or potential objectives of the sponsor. Instead adopt a laser focus based on the following formula:

M + I (A + V) = S

P = Motigraphics. By this I mean what motivates your fans / members. Sponsors want to know more than just the demographics and psychographics of your members. They want to know what makes them tick, why they do the things they do. What they value in life and how far they'll go to get it. While this information can easily be found by surveying your membership (and offering incentives where needed), what they say and what they do are two separate things. You would be better to watch what they do, document the decisions they make and share this with your sponsors.

I = Inventory. It's the list of assets that are offered by a sponsorship-seeker to potential sponsors. It can be made up of any number of benefits. The more creative the offer the better. It will pay off tenfold.

A = Assets. The assets of any sponsorship are the items found within an inventory. It's the assets that are offered by a sponsorship-seeker in return for the contra value of that asset. It could be anything from naming rights of a stage to speaker opportunities or sample products for conferences.

V = Market value. The market value is how much anyone is willing to pay for those assets in an open market. A room night is only worth $220 in a sponsorship agreement if that is the going rate on the open market. It's important to keep an eye on the market value of assets to ensure you are not paying more than what it would normally be worth. If the asset being valued is intangible, for example space in a programme, the usual approach is to value it on other space being sold as advertising in that programme or in a programme with a similar readership.

S = Sponsor. Sponsorship is the end goal for any rights-holder. Too many times the rights-holder forgets what they're in the game to achieve and proposals are sent to sponsors that are all about them and not enough about the sponsor. The more you do your homework on each one of your potential sponsors, the more you can tailor your approach with the laser-focus required to secure a successful outcome.

Remember this formula next time you need to approach new sponsors. We're also here to provide assistance, email us at or visit our website for more best practise advice and support.

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