Gaining a sponsor is similar to getting a job. It’s delicate and nuanced. What’s different about gaining a sponsor is how you pitch yourself to them. Here are five guidelines to getting a sponsor and four points to remember while pitching yourself to them.
1. Know your sponsor.
Think of every potential sponsor as a potential business partner. You’re not friends, so you can’t show up at their building unannounced and expect they’ll welcome you with open arms. You have to court their interest. The best way to do this is learn as much as you can about their service or product. The next step is to build your pitch to them.
2. Who are you? What do you want? What can you do for them?
If you take nothing away from this article but these three questions, great. When calling, emailing, or approaching any sponsor they are going to want to know these three things. You should be able to effectively communicate that information to them concisely.
3. Contact sponsors you like/think you can help in your immediate area.
If you don’t really like a product, don’t ask them to be your sponsor. Look for a company whose product or services you actually enjoy or like, because you will be talking about it, and promoting it. If you aren’t actually happy with the product, it will show when you try to sell it, and it will make you, and the company who is sponsoring you look bad. Go with something you care about.
4. Outline your pitch with specifics
You should be able to tell your sponsor how much funding you will need and in exchange you’ll display their logo on your tour, on these specific dates. You will also work “mentions” of their product into the show. In exchange you will offer to work corporate events. Get specific, and present it to them in your pitch. Make sure what you offer isn’t available to another artist similar to you.
5. Make sure you can do a lot for them
You are competing with other musicians for sponsors. If someone else who is as unique as you can offer more value to a sponsor, they are going with someone else, no matter how much heart you bring to the table. Make sure you provide a variety of value to your sponsor. Not just logos, mentions, or tickets for corporate executives. Maybe you can also create a music video for them to help sell their product. Get creative.
6. But how do I tell this to them? How do I actually write them a good pitch?
I’m glad you’d like to know. You take the principles I’ve outlined above and you start with them in this order, writing in a basic cover letter format. You also lead with this when speaking directly with a potential sponsor in person.
- Introduce WHO you are. WHAT you want. What are your SKILLS, and what you can DO FOR THEM.
This is crucial. A sponsor wants to clearly know who you are, what kind of clout or special skills you have that are of a unique value, what you want from them, and what value you can add in return. Clearly write this in your opening paragraph of your email, or when you speak to your sponsor face to face.
“Hi. I’m Dave, from the Monkey Puppets. Were are are a popular indie folk rock group based here in Seattle. We would like to have you as a sponsor. In return we will promote your product at every one of our weekly shows at “x-venue.” Take the time to get in there and show your sponsor that you are an established musician/group that has a lot to offer, and would like to have them as a sponsor.
- Illustrate the audience you serve
Tell them clearly what your audience is, and how this will help them. They don’t want to sponsor someone who’s audience is un-employed college students when they are selling timeshares at a beachside resort. Make sure your audience is their audience, and tell them how this will work into their business target.
- What are the market perks from sponsoring you?
As I mentioned above, tell your potential sponsor what specific marketing incentives they have by using you. What do you have that someone else doesn’t have? Are you a favorite at the local five-star hotel? That would be a great location for a specific financial demographic. Tell them what you can offer in terms of marketing that no one else can.
- Ultimately, how are you going to benefit the sponsor?
What is the result form investing money in you? What is the goal? Sales growth for the sponsor? Increased awareness of the product in a newer market? Or is it educating their established audience on a new product? What is the result going to be from all the effort you put in?
Put this all in a cover letter, email, or in writing for yourself to remember when you approach your sponsor.
Knowing and sticking to the principles outlined above, and putting them in a professional written/verbal pitch will help you in obtaining a sponsor, the rest will have to be done by you. Good luck!
Source: Mike DiGirolamo [has had a strong interest in music from a young age, playing both the cello and trombone. Outside of music he has a love for movies, theatre, and environmental science].