Almost daily we get requests from all around the world to sponsor their son, daughter or themselves. Almost always little thought is given to the application and what is actually involved in requesting sponsorship. Almost always, people are in fact requesting freebies and not sponsorship. So to help up and coming riders put their best foot forward, we have prepared the below brief as to what is sponsorship and what is expected of the athlete and the business.
WHAT IS SPONSORSHIP?
Put simply, sponsorship is a mutually beneficial business relationship between two parties, the business (sponsor) and the rider/team/club (sponsored).
Sponsorship is not simply requesting free apparel from a business, wearing it and posting pictures on social media. Businesses get that from loyal customers! By requesting product without payment is actually a massive negative to a business and offers very little benefit to any business. By doing this, you are not asking for a sponsorship but instead you are asking for freebies.
Sponsorship is much more than pictures on social media. This is achieved naturally when customers buy the product and then post pictures of them riding and wearing the gear. Sponsorship provides so much more such as.. contact access, connections, audience access, data, and helps to shape public perception in a way that can be hard to achieve using your own marketing and branding efforts alone. Sponsors and Sponsored working together can create a broader reach and shared objectives, multiplying the resources they have and leveraging the combined power of the relationship.
I have highlighted the word "mutually" as most people approach a Sponsorship Request with no intention of achieiving a mutually beneficial relationship. In fact, most people approach the proposal with the sole intention of getting free stuff.
WHAT IS A MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL RELATIONSHIP?
By requesting a business to give up product and therefore profit, you must come with benefits that are viable and measureable to a business. The business needs to benefit. The benefit to the rider/team/club is obvious, they get gear to wear! But what benefit are you offering to the business? If you do not have a definitive answer to this question, then do not approach business under the banner of sponsorship and instead simply ask for free stuff be sent to you! You will get the same result so you might as well be upfront.
Another way of looking at it is... ask yourself, would i work for and effecitively pay for thousands of dollars worth of a product and simply give it to a stranger free of charge? Without a return of investment? If you answer no, then this is the exact approach a business takes to sponsorship requests without a proposal of benefit.
There must be a definite benefit to the business greater than the value of product or finance that you are requesting. The benefit can be in sales, advertising, marketing.... and so much more.
Before approaching any business for sponsorship, have a full proposal ready to give them that is constructed in a way direct to that business. Creating one proposal and handing it out to a lot of business is not going to cut it and is more of a insult to any business than a business relationship.
Before approaching any business for sponsorship, have a serious think about what you can offer the business and by this, you need to offer more than what they are already getting from loyal customers. You need to provide something that is going to directly benefit a business in a way that a simply transaction of product will ever achieve.
Before approaching any business for sponsorship, get runs on the board. Train hard and achieve a world ranking. Train hard and get your name out there. Sponsors will come looking for you if you do this.
SO YOU ARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA!
So just becuase you are on social media and have a couple of hundred followers, that does not make a platform for a sponsorship agreement. Social Media with any form of currency to be asking for sponsorship generally needs to be in excess of 20,000 followers. This is what businesses regard as a micro-influencer.
ONE FINAL THING.
Never ask a business for Sponsorship/Freebies if you are not already wearing their product from having bought it and supporting them. This is the greatest insult a person can offer a business. Ask yourself, why should a business support you if you have not first supported them?
If you have any questions or want some advice regarding sponsorship, please feel free to ask.