By Craig Baroncelli, FNF Coaches Publisher
Reeling in a new sponsor (or two) for your football program can be more complicated than building a game plan to stop a rival’s winning streak. It is one thing to ask for a donation, it is another to solicit a sponsorship. What’s the difference?
A donation is a contribution someone makes without the expectation of receiving something in return. With a sponsorship, there is the expectation of a return on the sponsorship investment (ROI). The sponsorship route is typically the route you need to take in order to build a fieldhouse, make significant upgrades to your locker room or invest in some of the technology featured in this issue of FNF Coaches.
Here is an overview of what goes into creating a compelling sponsorship opportunity for your football program.
In order to sell a sponsorship, you must first determine what you are willing and able to offer a sponsor. Can you offer: stadium or field naming rights, “official partner” categories, stadium signage, themed game nights, or promotions and giveaways? Meet with your staff and/or your booster club and discuss it in detail.
Next, you need to determine the value of each sponsorship element you are going to pursue. The easiest way to do this is to determine your financial goals for the year (or years to come). Keep in mind there will most likely be a negotiating process so you don’t want to start too low.
Now you need to create your sponsorship overview documents. These are the items you will share with a potential sponsor during the in-person presentation. You cannot expect to close a sponsorship by simply talking your way through a presentation. This document should include “facts, stats, figures and photos”.
The meeting, or presentation, should be made with two or three key representatives from your school. Remember, the goal here is to impress the potential sponsor. Asking for involvement from your principal, athletic director or a member of the booster club should be strongly considered. If the sponsor is someone you know on a personal level, it becomes important to establish that this is a business opportunity. During the presentation, start by learning about the potential sponsor’s company — their goals and new initiatives. Give them time to talk about their business as this will help you relate their interests to your offering. “Paint the picture” in terms of your goals and how you think this partnership will be beneficial to them and help your program (the win-win scenario).
Once the presentation is completed, and you are back in front of your computer, be sure to email them a thank you note.
Do not let delays ruin this opportunity because you may not get another chance. You must stay in front of the potential sponsor and the best way to do this is to establish a date to reconvene and further discuss the opportunity.
Negotiation doesn’t mean you must lower you price. It may require you to include more in the offering to match the price you are asking and you can do so by adding extra public address announcements or signage.
Sealing the deal
If you receive a verbal acceptance to move forward, it is imperative you present a contract and get it signed. The contract should include the deal points of the sponsorship to include what the sponsor receives and also the payment terms. This document should be signed by both parties and an invoice generated with the appropriate due dates.
Celebrate the sale with your team, but understand your work has just begun. Executing on the sponsorship is where the true work, and talent, takes place. You and your team must meet and assign responsibilities for each aspect of the sponsorship.
If you have questions about the sponsorship process for your high school, feel free to contact Craig Baroncelli at firstname.lastname@example.org/.