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Top 10 Rules for Sponsorship Hunters

THE TAKEAWAY: Sponsorships are about more than sticking logos on everything. Follow these 10 rules to ensure you find the right sponsor for your organisation.

(1) Thereís no such thing as free money.

Sponsorship is not just about your needs, it's also about the sponsorsí. It wonít work if the relationship is too lopsided one way or the other.

(2) Sponsors don't have to love you.

Sponsors don't need to share your passion for your cause in order to sponsor you. They just need to be able to see the commercial benefit. (It is important, though, that you have compatible values.)

(3) Look for a good fit.

Do your very best to gain sponsorship from companies, organisations or brands that seem a natural fit with your event or organisation. Itís exhausting to have to be continuously trying to ram a square peg into a round hole.

(4) It's a job for a team.

Be sure your whole organisation understands why sponsorship is important to you and is prepared to treat your sponsors like marketing partners.

(5) Vaccinate against logo-itis.

Sponsorships are about more than sticking logos on everything. While your sponsorship agreement might include use of logos, if thatís all youíve got to offer you canít really ask for all that much in return.

(6) Get started early.

Donít count on starting your sponsorship search one day and getting it all under way the next. These things take time (sometimes a very long time). Allow plenty of time in your forward planning.

(7) Get it in writing.

Firm up all details of your arrangement in writing. That way no one is left in any doubt as to what has been agreed to.

(8) Aim high.

It's better to get one or two big, meaningful sponsorships in place than lots of small ones. There's less clutter for them, and less sponsor management for you.

(9) Allow time for relationship building.

Don't ever think that once you've got the cheque your job is done. As with most things in fundraising, sponsorships are all about the relationship. You need to be in regular contact, you need to give thanks where itís due, and you need to ensure that youíre always doing what you said youíd do.

(10) Get educated.

Donít go off half-cocked Ė before you start searching for a sponsor, read a book or two (the help sheets on this website will give you a good start), start networking, and consider doing some training. The more you know, the better youíll be.