Subs and fundraisers bring in much-needed income to meet the costly job of running your football club, but signing a sponsor could really help your bottom line. Get your tactics spot on and you could net your club a good investment.
- You’ll need to work out what you have to sell, what your winning assets are. A local company will want to know what’s in it for them and what they get in return for their money.
- Work out your sales pitch. Write a presentation or proposal to take to local companies. You’ll need to tell them all about your club, your future plans and what they would get in return for their money.
- Draw up a target list containing the companies you will ask for sponsorship. You should draw upon your members to help identify small to medium-sized local companies, or perhaps there are some in the local vicinity.
- You’ll need to discuss how much sponsorship money you want to charge - 'the fee'. This should be in proportion to what you have to sell, what you will use the money for and what the company can afford.
- Finally, you’ll need to sign a contract giving both you and the sponsor comfort that you will both deliver on your promises.
A company will usually get involved in a club for charitable reasons – to show they’re supportive of the local community – or to get a trading advantage, e.g. they can sell more goods or their service by having a link to your club. The company will be looking to associate themselves with a reputable club that offers a valuable service in the community. Using your Manchester FA/FA links and showing your community profile will make your club an attractive proposition. Many businesses sponsoring football clubs will have a link to the club, such as the owner’s son or daughter playing for the team. Your members are a good first port of call for making contact with potential sponsors. Deals with sponsors are usually only one or two years long. It can take a while to get a sponsor signed up and good sponsors are hard to find, so it’s worthwhile working hard on keeping them. It’s much easier to keep a sponsor than find a new one!
Your sponsor will want people to know about the goodwill of their investment so you need to promote them. This means delivering on your promise to put the sponsor logo across any materials you print, across your facility if you have one and getting mentions in the local media. If you know how much media coverage you would get for your sponsor, you can work out the value of this coverage to help you to set the fee. Try speaking to the advertising department of your local newspaper to see what the comparative advertising rate would be for a photo and ‘x’ number of column inches. Remember that sponsorship monies are subject to VAT, therefore you should ask the sponsor for a fee plus VAT or include the cost of VAT within the total fee you ask for so that they cover the costs. You will need to pay the relevant VAT monies when your club does its returns.
You need to think about who you approach in the target list. The companies should be reputable and a suitable match for your club. For example, it is not appropriate for a pub to sponsor a youth team, and a small-scale business will not be able to afford to support a large community club. Make sure you get the correct contact to approach. Companies are less likely to respond to unsolicited correspondence that is targeted to ‘Dear sir/madam’ or ‘to whom it may concern.’
In larger companies, it may be worthwhile exploring on their website or phoning the company switchboard to find out whether they have a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or Community Affairs manager. This person would be in charge of local giving or sponsorship. In smaller companies, it usually falls to someone with the marketing or communications departments. If you do contact the CSR or community manager, make sure you tell them of the inclusive nature of your club and how you bring healthy lifestyles to the local community.