Developing A Golf Sponsorship Plan
Most charitable golf tournament organizers have little experience running a golf tournament. For many, when beset with the responsibility to run the event for a business, church or fundraising campaign, their eyes glaze over, they break into a sweat and they don’t know where to begin.
However, most people who are tasked with organizing the event often have a business acumen on how to drive money in the right direction. Building a solid sponsorship plan is essential to creating a successful event in Year 1 and beyond.
Sponsor dollars are the lifeblood of your event, with the money raised from selling golf sponsorships enabling the event to make a profit. Selling individual golf slots will cover the expenses associated with your event, but filling your sponsorships will guarantee success, all the way from Corporation X as the title sponsor to a lesser contribution such as Joe’s Concrete sponsoring a par-3 hole.
Constant communication internally and externally with potential sponsors, such as presenting sponsorship packages or communicating via email and letters, is a consistent way to work through the campaign.
The key to selling golf sponsorships is to understand how to market your golf event to prospective sponsors. As a tournament organizer you must realize why companies would contribute to your event and what they get in return.
Potential sponsoring companies will support the event for a myriad of reasons, including:
• They have a relationship with the tournament organizer(s), which is the top reason.
• To get more business.
• To gain more exposure.
• To give back to the local community.
• To entertain clients.
• To meet prospective clients.
Identifying companies that have the capability and appetite within these categories is a starter, but closing the sale is dependent upon flexibility. Create several sponsorship options and packages for companies to buy and provide the marketing value for each sponsorship option. Spell out all the details of each package with letters and summaries. If the company has a particular request which isn’t addressed within your materials, consider how that can be accommodated.
Here’s a guide on how to develop the depth to make this area function properly:
• Recruit a sponsor committee – Companies are more inclined to sponsor your event when asked by someone they have a previous relationship with.
• Create intriguing sponsorship opportunities – Companies have different needs; have plenty of opportunities for everyone.
• Develop a list of prospective sponsors – The sponsor committee needs to create a list of possible sponsors. Hold each committee member responsible to bring in a certain number of sponsors.
• Send out a mailing to possible sponsors – Promote your event by sending letters to prospects. Have the letters come from the contact person or your event Chairman and send information via email.
• Make follow-up calls – Always follow up your mailing with timely phone calls. Sponsors are more likely to respond to a phone call. Continue to follow up until you receive a definite ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer when selling golf sponsorships.
• Use relationships to your advantage – Use your inside contacts at companies or form new relationships to gain access to the decision makers of larger companies.
• Explain the Marketing Value – Show your sponsors how they will benefit from supporting your event. For example, sponsor logos will be on all electronic communications.
At the conclusion of the sale, don’t forget to button up the agreement by sending a letter that details the package the company has agreed to. Request a signed agreement back from the company so that there are no questions about how much money is required. This serves as a contract for you and the event.