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Are you wondering how to get local business sponsorship for school activities? Small businesses can play an integral role in offsetting the costs of running school events. From youth sports to field day to homecoming, sponsors enjoy getting involved and giving back to their community. It also helps them gain exposure and garner more customers and revenue.
However, developing an ideal strategy to find and reach out to the right sponsors is key to gaining funding. Of course, money isn’t the only thing sponsors provide. Sponsorships can also deliver equipment and uniforms for teams or provide after-event celebratory meals.
Here’s how to get local business sponsorship for school events and keep costs low for schools and parents.
1. Get Organized
Before you begin searching for sponsors, you’ll need to get organized — spreadsheets will be your best tool for tracking which businesses you’ve spoken to, points of contact, and contributions.
Developing a sponsorship committee with a few people will also help you streamline the process and get more done in less time. Select individuals for the committee that work well together and can meet deadlines. Ultimately, the committee will serve as a liaison between the sponsors and the club, team, teachers, or other people involved in the school event.
2. Conduct a Search
Once you’ve set up your committee and spreadsheets, you can search for companies to sponsor your school activities.
Ask your inner circle, family, friends, and neighbors for suggestions. You can also search for larger organizations that regularly sponsor school-related or youth sporting events.
For example, Walmart has demonstrated its commitment to community building. Therefore, your local Walmart might be a great place to start asking for school funding — in exchange, they may request that you hang a Walmart banner facing the audience.
Although Coca-Cola is renowned internationally, the company is also typically willing to support a high school team if it can showcase one of its Coca-Cola plants in town.
3. Go Local
Big-name brands have several resources to help fund school events. However, when figuring out how to get local business sponsorship, you might have an easier time with smaller shops and restaurants.
Small businesses usually maintain tight connections with their communities, young people, and families. Especially following the height of COVID-19, local companies are eager for more recognition to boost foot traffic and sales.
Small businesses know their contribution has a positive and direct impact on youth. Some business owners may even have children that attend the school and would be interested in sponsoring.
4. Develop a Proposal
Before pitching your school funding needs for local business sponsorship, you’ll need to develop a proposal. Consider the following:
- What impact will their sponsorship have on their business — for instance, an excellent reputation for goodwill?
- How will their school event support attract more customers and make them stand out?
- How can you promote their business during the event — signage, social media or other types of advertising?
Studies show that 62% to 77% of sporting event attendees notice sponsorship ads — about 90% say they see them without consciously searching for signs.
You’ll also need to include the school programs’ needs in terms of finances and gift-in-kind donations like silent auction prizes, shirts, equipment, beverages, or snacks. Some businesses prefer to contribute in ways other than money.
5. Make a Pitch
Always make your sponsorship pitch to a person capable of making decisions for the company. Although it’s best to speak with someone in person, sending an email or making a phone call could be as effective.
Regardless, you’ll want to give them a heads-up that you’re interested in partnering with them for sponsorship opportunities. Give them a call to schedule a time to talk and let them know you’re sending a proposal package their way.
Along with the proposal, your package should include videos and photos from past activities, invitations to upcoming events, and other details about the school program.
6. Give Thanks
Like a job interview, you should always send a thank you email or letter for their time. After a couple of weeks, send a follow-up email offering to answer any questions they might have.
Of course, giving thanks is equally important after the event. A handwritten thank you card is meaningful — however, honoring your local business sponsor during an award ceremony is an even better way to show appreciation. You might also have the students make thank-you cards that you can mail or deliver to the company in bulk.
Periodically informing the sponsor about upcoming events at the school is also a great way to continue their involvement going forward.
Obtaining Local Business Sponsorships Takes Effort
Try not to get discouraged if it’s challenging to find support from local businesses the first time around. Obtaining sponsorship is challenging work and takes strategic planning and effort. Of course, the best way to find sponsorships is to spread the word about your school program or event.