"The toughest part is beginning to write the all-important sponsorship package; it is like starting the arduous procedure of writing your first CV. However, once you have it perfected it'll be the main key to convince companies to invest in your club”.
Nesh Evans - Queen Mary Men’s Football President, 2016-17.
Last year, QM Football were lucky enough to secure full sponsorship from a local estate agents, Keatons, resulting in brand new kit for the first and third team.
We sat down with their then president, Nesh, to find out just how he secured this deal and some top tips for clubs looking to achieve a similar agreement!
What do you have to offer the sponsor?
When approaching a sponsor it is key to think not just about what they can offer you, but what you can offer them. The club needs to sell the sponsor a product which they want to buy: be that exposure to the 21,000 students at QMUL, exposure to specific audiences at your training or match facility, or within your academic school, or building a local partnership in the community.
After speaking to the Sport Department, Nesh and QMFC thought it would useful to put together a sponsorship package to send out to companies they wanted to approach as they looked to ensure a professional presentation and edge on others sending out emails.
The package included an offers section which was split into three tiers, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. The sponsor could then choose which level of support was appropriate to them.
Bronze (£100-£500) included:
- Advertised on club website
- Promotion on social media
- Name displayed on fresher week stall
- Naming rights for Club Football Fantasy
Silver (£500-£1500) included:
- All Bronze benefits
- Editorial in The Print (University Newspaper)
- Shared Naming rights with QMSU Community Sport for Community Project to be undertaken by Club
- Logo and company name on Community Projects shirt
Gold (£1500+) included:
- Benefits from Bronze and Silver
- Pop up promotional stalls on campus run by QMFC Members
- Logo and company name on training kit
When putting together a package such as this it is always worth including statistics such as the amount of people within your club, the amount of training/matches you have, community work, social media outreach, and any recent successes. Adding quotes from captains and other club members can add a personal touch to the document, though make sure they’re relevant.
This information does not need to be exhaustive, but it should be a good introduction which allows the company to positively reflect on your club and why they would want to be associated with it. You can see what Football included in the attached of their sponsorship package below.
After putting together the package you should always ensure you send it across to the Sport Department so they can work with the Marketing Department to look over the offer, and ensure you can fulfil everything you are offering (in terms of Union spaces etc).
Choosing your audience
QMFC choose to primarily target estate agents, using the QM recommended letting agents list as a starting point. By choosing a company with a vested interest in attracting students Nesh could ensure the package was relevant to them.
Other examples of these types of companies can include local cafes, restaurants, printing shops, or grocery stores (though there are of course many, many more!).
After choosing his audience, Nesh emailed out the Sponsorship Package document to the manager or CEO of each estate agent, making sure that each email was personalised to each company he sent it to. An example of this email is below:
Dear Mr ….,
My name is Nesh and I'm the president of Queen Mary Men's Football Club. We're looking for partnerships with companies who have a connection with our university. We would like to create a partnership with Keatons because our university highlights you as a trusted letting agent for students. We think it would be beneficial for you because we could promote your brand on campus and offer other benefits which are included in our sponsorship packages. I've included our sponsorship package for you to have a look at. I hope we can meet for further discussions soon. If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask me.
Many thanks, Nesh
Following it up
Once this email and package had been sent out, the club ensured that they rang the company, asking for the individual they had emailed, or visited in person. This was to check if the email had been received, to hopefully discuss the package with the relevant person from the company over the phone, and to then arrange a meeting in person.
Whilst this may not always be possible, ringing the company in person always added a personal touch to the email – putting a voice to a name rather than just another email sitting in their inbox.
Arrange a meeting
After calling, QMFC and Nesh arranged a meeting to discuss the package further. Keatons where extremely interested in supporting the club, and opted for the gold package. Ensuring everything was in writing, Nesh then contacted the Sport Department to make it official.
Making it official
Once Nesh had contacted the Union, the company was invoiced, the money was deposited in the subs account, and the sponsorship was agreed.
So, after this success, what were Nesh’s top tips for securing sponsorship?
Start looking for sponsorship as soon as you can - once you get into your position, if you can start looking in summer, do!
Create your package on PowerPoint - as you can then save this as a PDF when you are finished, but if you do meet a company and they ask you to present your package then and there you aren’t caught out!
Promote your clubs offer – promote charity work your club takes part in, and/or community projects with local groups, this reflects well on you and is an added benefit to your potential relationship with the sponsor.
Be prompt in your response to emails
Be persistent – follow up emails with a phone call on the same day, ask who the email went to, ask for their direct number and if they are interested in discussing your proposal.
Be prepared – Make sure you are ready to sell your package down the phone – many companies may not have the time to meet with you so make sure you are confident and know what you can offer them.
Dress smartly - Ensure when you meet the company you dress formally – a good initial impression can go a long way!
Don’t overwhelm companies - Only take along relevant committee members who will participate in the meeting
Be ambitious – look for local companies where you can, but also don’t be afraid to contact those bigger companies such as KPMG or Lucozade!
Want to know more? Look out for the Club Sport sponsorship workshop taking place on the 28th of September. Sign ups are now open here!