How To Get Sponsors

How To Get Sponsors

How to get sponsors? This is probably the most frequently asked question in today’s Event Management world, especially when small businesses are involve. Every now and then we hear of an exhibition or a sport event taking place and asking for sponsorship from big companies; but why are some not successful in attracting sponsors while others make it happen?

When I first started Aymstrong I never wanted to get sponsors because I believed in basing the company on offering services for individual clients and building relationships with them, which is still my strategy; but I realized that I also need to focus on sponsorship in order to reach sustainability and growth.  I soon realized that sponsors are a must!

As an entrepreneur, I have have been lucky enough to get the chance to deal with many prominent companies such as AAW, Nike, Volvo, Burgan Bank, Wataniya, Luminox, ACK etc… and I have learned a lot throughout my experience with them. As I encourage personal development, I would like to share with you some of the lessons I have learned with regards to how to get sponsors and how to maintain them.

Tip 1: Offer a unique idea that involves the society.

Enough exhibitions and two-day tournaments, companies are not interested in those as much as they are interested in unique initiatives, for example: RunKuwait. Even if your event is traditional, come up with ideas that will involve the participants and members in a social event which will be an attraction for sponsors.

Some of the biggest small businesses exhibitions in Kuwait have more than 150 members and none have ever met each other. I personally participated in most of those exhibitions and we never even got introduced. A failed communication strategy. Get the members involved and offer a community for your sponsors rather than a logo location on a forgotten banner. It will create more value for sponsors.

Tip 2: Offer a unique approach to media exposure

Don’t only tell your sponsors that you will have their logo on displayed on banners and T-Shirts, the traditional is not interesting anymore. Instead, think outside the box and try to come up with ways in which you can provide your sponsors with unique media exposure. For example, I usually promise something that is on going, such as developing a short movie of the event, or a set of videos that promotes the sponsorship.

Tip 3: Research and understand the company’s strategy and focus on that.

Know the nature of your event, what purpose it serves, and which companies are interested in that. Some companies do it for the media exposure or to sell their products indirectly, while others have it as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plans. For example, RunKuwait was a sport event: Nike sponsored us with their sport products, while Burgan Bank did it as purely CSR. The bottom line is to understand the company and try to explain how it can serve their strategy.

There are a lot of other tips as well that can help you get sponsors, will high light them more in the next article…

About Yousef Al-Qanai

Fitness Expert, Athlete, & Speaker, with a Business backbone and a Passion for Personal Development. Through Aymstrong he has Initiated a number of ongoing programs inspiring thousands of participants in their life endeavors. Known for running an entire country in RunKuwait 250K as a campaign for national unity and wellness.

Comments, Add Your Own...

  1. 1
    Mhmd Aljeemaz says:

    Thank Yousif , it’s great tips to share with us, so you think sponsorship is one of the main reasons to promote to my business while Kuwait has special culture sponsorship.

    • 2

      Hello Mohamed, Thank you for your comment.

      It depends on the type of your business, as some businesses depends heavily on sponsorship while others base only some events on sponsorship.

      I agree, Kuwait does have a cultural sponsorship, which i assume you mean that most sponsorship is based on ‘Wasta’. Well, to develop long lasting relationships, a company must sponsor your concept and your passion. ‘Wasta’ sponsorship is highly LIMITED to one or two events.

  2. 3

    Great one Yousif. One more thing, no matter how good is your idea and the depth of your marketing plan, the most important thing is your record and your previous events. A tangible evidence will reduce the sponsor’s participation risk.
    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • 4

      Thanx Thamer,
      Well said. The physical evidence of previous events plays a huge role.

      I am currently dealing with a huge oil company sponsoring RunKuwait 2013 Via.Email (Not even one meeting been set). All based on the physical evidence and showing proofs.

  3. 5
    Abdullah Saad says:

    Once again, How To Get Sponsors? Because I see you talked about new ways to deliver, rather than to attract ?!
    Take care,
    Abdullah

    • 6

      Hello Abdullah, Thank you for your comment.

      Uniqueness of idea (as in Tip 1) + New media approaches (as in Tip 2) + Showing companies how it will benefit their strategy (as in Tip 3) ALL work together to support the ‘Getting Sponsors’ issue.

      There is never a fixed formula for getting sponsors. We can all prepare proposals and call for meetings. It is really about the mix of things you plan to deliver and making companies believe in them, which will lead to sponsoring it.

      I will be sharing more tips in the next article.

  4. 7

    Great article Yousif

    So you think I should understand how I can put them on the picture? And how it can help promote my event and their business?

    • 8

      Hello Abdullah,
      It is a lot of things together actually. very hard to specify a formula. But generally YES. You have to put the sponsors in the picture and how it can benefit them. Try to come up with statistics, numbers, estimates on HOW sponsoring you will benefit them.

      It is surely easier on the 2nd year of an event; so you can provide the physical evidence, images, numbers.

  5. 9

    Thanks Yousef for this article, It’s very helpful to share your experience. But form my own experience, it’s very hard to get sponsors especially for challenged athletes to find a sponsors, and it works more with what you say ” Wasta”.

    • 10

      Hello Mohamed,
      I agree with you. It is very hard to get sponsored as an athlete. In Europe; athletes endorsements has a very high standard and meaning. While in the Arab world; It is very difficult to get the idea crossed.

      Ali Abdulwahab & Sons Co (Nike Owners in Kuwait). If it wasnt for their Owner / GM (Mr.Khalid Al Mutawa’a). I wouldnt have got sponsored.

      He got a Vision for athletes, and he sees the value underlining sponsoring them.

      In the Arab world; sponsoring an athlete is for other reasons than (records) and (championships). Its more of a lifestyle sponsorship, or Passion.

  6. 11

    Wonderful! Yousef that was a well written article I must say.

    I will first comment on your article and then add if I may :)

    1 – Uniqueness is DEFINITELY a key for your business to stand out. As you’ve mentioned, the lack of communication between participants can lead to a failed sponsorship attraction attempt.

    2 – With this whole technology development booming century people are coming up with creative ideas EVERYWHERE. Sponsors look for creativity and Entrepreneurs/companies who think outside of the box. I agree with you, thinking outside of the box is what they’re looking for. Not the traditional way.

    3 – I agree a 100% with your third point. Looking for companies who are in the same industry as yours makes things easier. They are more likely to be interested in sponsoring if it’s related to their industry.

    May I add the following :

    - Most companies look at a sponsorship as a partnership. If a company sponsors / Invests in you they are aware that YOU represent them in a way. Not fully but probably in a campaign. Your name will be attached to them and they want the best reputation. Therefore the best way in my opinion to attract a sponsor and get their attention is by showing them WHAT you can do to them. How is it possible that through a campaign, a program, you will raise their capital. How is it possible that they will gain more traffic from your campaign. How is it possible that they benefit from every dollar they spent on you. Companies don’t care about you. They care about the value that you’ll bring on the table.

    - You’re more likely to raise funds from a sponsor when you give them the privilege of being exclusive. Companies love attention. Who doesn’t! If you create videos/segments/trailers in your campaign and show the services the company offers, the products etc…they will invest more in you.

    Enough of me trying to act like mrs.wise, lol. I will give you the mic back sir! I can’t wait to read your next article :)

    You’ve got a fan!

    Urs in success,
    Addicted2Entrepreneurship
    -Dee

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