A Primer on Golf Sponsorships
“Most companies have a yearly budget for sponsorships so chances are you’ll be more successful with a proposal at the beginning of the year. Thoroughly research the charitable focus of your potential sponsors and examine the types of sponsorships they’ve participated in the past 12-24 months.
“Present the sponsorship as an excellent business opportunity and not just another golf tournament. Prepare a list of tangible benefits such as community goodwill, charity, brand enhancement, etc., the company will receive by purchasing your sponsorship package.”
And here are some more quick takes from our research to help you earn that coveted hole-in-one-planning trophy that you never imagined could be sitting on your desk when it’s over, proving that even non-golfers can succeed when it comes to planning events that are outside their comfort level:
Set Realistic Goals - especially if this is a first time effort for a sponsored tournament. It takes time to build engagement, so if your company has never hosted a golf outing of any kind before don’t expect to sell multiple sponsor packages with large values (unless, of course, you have an exclusive opportunity to unveil the newest smartphone).
Focus On Those Goals - which should take all stakeholders into consideration - the players (both male and female, from all skill levels), potential sponsors and your organization. In order to do this, a planner first has to decide what the purpose or intent of the golf outing is – strictly networking? Revenue production? Teaching/learning the game? Corporate competition? Supporting a community cause? There are many reasons to offer golf and it’s important to know why it’s on the agenda before you try to reach out to potential sponsors. For instance, if your event is for networking you might attract a local brewery as a sponsor, but if the purpose is to teach your attendees the basics of the game you might find sponsors within the golf community itself, such as a local golf academy, retail store or manufacturers of golf equipment.
Make it User Friendly and Fun - and do this from the start, again for both sponsors and players. Have a theme and clearly state it so that anyone who participates will know where the proceeds are going. Also make sure that if this is a charity event, some participants will want tax deductible receipts in exchange for their dollars, so clarify and manage that up front. Many times that promise alone can enlist more support and participants who will rally behind the cause. But making it ‘user friendly’ also takes into consideration what the entire experience will be like for anyone involved. Think about timing, location, course challenges, accompanying food and beverage, signage, visibility of logos, transportation (as applicable), and all those details that planners are famous for paying attention to. And then make sure you look at those details from a sponsor’s view as well as a player.
Clarify the Costs and Values - of being a sponsor, and make sure to get it in writing. Most times, it’s good to offer a variety of sponsorship levels, e.g., gold, silver and platinum or however clever you want to be in naming those categories. What’s important about this is that you define each one and not only show the asking price but also the benefits that come along with it. For instance, your top-of-the-line sponsors may get logo privileges on everything that’s printed, an opportunity to present or showcase their product during the event and sole bragging rights. Then you get creative with next-in-line and we’re sure you get the full picture here down to the last goody bag items. To make sponsor sales and decision making easier, focus on not only the dollar amount you’re asking but also on the audience profile and all the benefits so that the terms are easy to understand for everyone. At this stage it’s also important to ask pertinent questions of potential sponsors such as what are their goals and what would be a perfect scenario for them to sponsor? Asking, listening and then bringing those needs full circle will produce a win-win situation for sponsors.
Think Outside the Box - don’t forget that while some sponsors are able to write out big checks to your organization, others can’t, or won’t, sponsor with cash. Some prefer in-kind contributions and/or full-out payment direct to the facility for food or beverage which sometimes can be used as a tax write-off as opposed to finding the money in their marketing budgets or elsewhere.
Plain and simple - planners need to look at all aspects of their proposed event and then detail every item that could be sold or sponsored.