Top 5 Tips To Ensure Your Next Sponsorship Proposal Doesn’t End Up In The Trash 21st August, 2017

Far too many people fail to realise how crucial a sponsorship proposal is.  They are hoping that the reader can decipher the value through your iPhone photos arranged into a poorly formatted PowerPoint.  You wouldn’t get your haircut from a guy who handed out leaflets that he created with crayon, and the same goes with sponsorship proposals.  The lack of resource put into making an amazing sponsorship proposal outlines how people fall into the trap of how most people approach sponsorship.

Sponsorship is not free money.

Now that’s out of the way, the key is effective communication in a short space of time.  So how do you articulate the many wonderful benefits of your package succinctly?  Here are my top 5 tips on doing this well:

  1. Talk about them, not you. Sponsorship is purchased with the aim that it will help the sponsor achieve something.  If you spend the first 8 out of 9 pages talking about how great you are, it will become difficult for a prospect to understand how this great thing is going to benefit them.
  2. Use a graphic designer. You don’t have to invest in a photoshoot, but having a graphic designer format this will make all the difference – even if you don’t use any photos.  If you want to take it one step further, have a video made (example from one we’ve done here).
  3. Put in a cost. So many people fail to put in the investment of their sponsorship in hopes that someone will ring them back to ask. Whilst in principal this makes sense, it almost never happens in practice.  Don’t make people work too hard to sponsor you, give them all the information they need straight away.
  4. Use testimonials. Credibility is often an issue for sponsorship opportunities that don’t have broadcast backing.  Therefore, invest some time to ask your network and previous sponsors to write some quotes on how sponsoring your event helped them achieve their goals.
  5. Keep it short, but engaging. I have seen over 30,000 sponsorship proposals and only 1 of those was a great sponsorship proposal that lasted over 20 pages.  I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it’s unlikely you are the 0.003% of the population that can engage someone throughout a 10+ page sales proposal.  Our rule of thumb is that if you can say everything you need to say in 1 page, then keep it to one page.  This is rarely the case and our proposals tend to average 4-7 slides.  So keep it short, but informative!

Creating a proposal is only one small part of the sponsorship sales battle, so make it easier on yourself by putting in more effort in at the beginning so your proposal actually gets read. Instead of being like most and ending up in the bin.


Top 5 Ways To Uncover If You Can Get Sponsorship 31st July, 2017

Slingshot was launched with the ambition to help organisations uncover revenue that they weren’t capitalising on.  More often than not, it meant absolutely no change in the way things were currently done.  No additional investment, no additional resource.  Just free money.  And who doesn’t love free money?

But mining for free money is the key to what makes us different.  Unlike our competitors who mine for oil through guesswork, we have a strategic framework which allows us to ensure that targets can be met and understanding how strategic investment into certain areas of the business can be more beneficial (through sponsorship) than others.

There are some key things to consider when trying to understand if you are missing out on sponsorship investment:

  1. Your competitors make more in sponsorship than you do. By reviewing the competitive landscape, you can start to understand the potential.  If Coca-Cola sponsors every one of your competitors, but not you, you are obviously missing a trick.  This research can be done through a simple Google search and will start to identify whether there are sponsorship dollars you are missing out on.  The caveat: not all sponsors are cash sponsors, so beware of this as this might be misleading, but common sense should point you in the right direction.  It’s also worth mentioning, that just because your competitors don’t have sponsors, doesn’t mean you can’t generate sponsorship revenue.
  2. You have an audience. An audience is a fickle thing and is wholly dependent on whether your audience is B2B or B2C as to understanding if you are missing out on sponsorship revenue.  If your B2C audience is less than 100,000 then unfortunately it’s not going to make you millions; however, we’ve secured millions of pounds in sponsorship revenue for events with less than 100 people.
  3. You are unique. Although this is similar to your audience, the uniqueness is critical – the more unique you are, the higher value your audience becomes.  Again, if you the only person in the world who can balance a pen on your nose and no one cares, this is not a sponsorship platform.  But if you have a blog that speaks to young women who just bought a pug, then there is money in that.
  4. You currently generate advertising revenue and/or selling tickets. The fact you are making money through other means outlines that what you are doing is of interest, and more often than not, if it’s of interest, there is sponsorship value behind this.
  5. You have regular engagement. It is easier to justify sponsorship when you have multiple touchpoints for a sponsor to speak to your audience.  So even though you might have an annual event, you have a high open rate with your weekly blog.  These are the kinds of assets that help justify a sponsorship spend and create value for your sponsors.

We receive over 10 calls each week from events, charities, start-ups and sports teams enquiring whether they can generate more sponsorship (or new sponsorship) and almost 99% of the time we speak to them the answer is yes.  To find out how we’ve helped our clients succeed, I’d encourage you to read some of our rights holder case studies outlining how quickly we’ve increased their bottom line.  Then give us a call!


“How Long Should My Sponsorship Proposal Be?” 9th March, 2016

I am asked this everywhere I go – it seems to be the thing that most people think is holding them back from securing that perfect partner.  As much as I’d love to provide a one-size-fits-all solution, unfortunately (much like most of sponsorship) this is not the case and the answers vary with each sponsorship platform.  The golden rule is to keep it as short as possible, but still retaining all the information a prospect absolutely needs to know.  As most people are not quite sure what information a prospect absolutely needs to know, I’ve created some tips to help you when creating your sponsorship proposal:

  1. Keep it short, sweet and concise. Sponsorship proposals are not the latest Grazia or best Faulkner – put simply they aren’t interesting and regardless who you send it to in whatever format, people are not desperate to read them.  Sponsorship proposals are just not exciting regardless of how exciting your actual property or opportunity is.  Rather than accepting this, people overcompensate the boredom by writing excessive copy hoping to draw people in.  This is simply not the case – mostly because you aren’t a copywriter and even the best copywriters in the world are unlikely to make your sponsorship proposal a page turner from copy alone.  Therefore, don’t try and make your proposal exciting just by writing more about it.  In our digital age, if you can catch their attention and imagination – they will Google you.
  2. Following on from above – make sure whatever they Google is good.
  3. A picture says a thousand words. If you have great imagery – use it in the best format possible which is typically in a landscape format.  Saying this, don’t fill the entire proposal with a load of the same pictures – if they want to look at pictures of an event or people at an event, they will go on Facebook.
  4. Put a price on it. Don’t waste people’s time.  If you are going to go to the effort of sending a sponsorship proposal, make sure everything that the buyer needs is in there and this includes how much you expect from them in return.
  5. Be professional. I estimate that over 95% of all sponsorship proposals in the world are done by the person looking for the investment.  You are often the Founder, Marketing Director, Event Manager or Sponsorship person.  It’s not your fault you are not a graphic designer, you have other important skills.  But it is important to recognise you are not a graphic designer.  People like things that look good.  You wouldn’t try out the new restaurant in town if they handed you a hand-drawn flyer made out of copy paper and crayons so how can you expect someone to part with budget when you won’t even invest on your own sales collateral?

In terms of a litmus test, I recommend taking your sponsorship proposal to a brutally honest friend and asking their opinion.  They don’t need to work in marketing to have an opinion – they just need to not worry about hurting your feelings.  Listen to them.  They will definitely help.

Failing getting a friend’s sign off, get some actual professional help.  Speak to a sponsorship agency for feedback and/or hire them to put together a proposal for you.  Slingshot obviously does this, but there are also many other agencies who can help too.  It is such a shame to see people fail at securing sponsors for their event because of a bad proposal, but not a bad property so don’t go it alone!

If you are interested in having Slingshot review or create your sponsorship proposal drop us an email: proposalreview@slingshotsponsorship.com

1st March, 2016

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Slingshot’s MD Jackie Fast named as one of UK’s Hottest Entrepreneurs Aged 35 or Under 15th September, 2014

Growing Business today names its 12th annual list of the entrepreneurs aged 35 or under behind 30 of the UK’s brightest companies.

Jackie Fast, MD of Slingshot Sponsorship, has been named one of the UK’s most outstanding entrepreneurs aged 35 or under, revealed today in Growing Business’ Young Guns ‘Class of 2014′.

Recognised at an awards luncheon held at the prestigious Kensington Roof Gardens, this year’s crop is made up of 54 entrepreneurs behind 30 of the country’s fastest-growing firms.  The Class of 2014 join an alumni already containing the founders of 330 businesses named since the Young Guns awards began in 2003.  Sponsored by law firm Keystone Law and chartered accountants haysmacintyre, Young Guns celebrates the most outstanding crop of young entrepreneurs the country has to offer with only 30 companies selected each year, and no repeat appearances.

Commenting on the win, Jackie Fast said: “It is an absolute honour to be recognised amongst this incredibly influential and successful group of people shaping the future of business in the UK.  As our agency is driven to enable and secure the future of other businesses commercially through securing partners, this award is particularly relevant to us.  We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Slingshot Sponsorship as well as the other Young Guns!”

Now in its 12th year, the awards has a track record of talent spotting, previously recognising the fledgling businesses started by the likes of Michael Action Smith OBE of Mind Candy, Holly Tucker MBE of Notonthehighstreet.com, Neil Hutchinson of Forward Internet Group, Matthew Riley of Daisy Group Plc, and the co-founders of Innocent Drinks, Huddle, YPlan, Nails Inc., Chilango, and Made.com.

 

View the full list of 2014 Young Guns and their profiles here:www.growingbusiness.co.uk/young-guns

In numbers: Who are the Young Guns Class of 2014?

  • There are 54 qualifying co-founders
  • The 30 businesses are 4 years old on average
  • The mean age between the qualifying founders is 29, with the youngest just 18
  • On average their companies employ 36 people, with the highest employing 200
  • Between the 20 companies that are equity backed, the total they’ve raised stands at over £114m
  • That means those 20 companies have raised £5.7m on average – the highest being House Trip, which has raised $60m and Nutmeg with $50m.
  • It also means 10 companies in this Class have grown organically
  • Their average turnover (for the 26 who told us) is £4.1m and they’re forecasting to grow that to £7.2m this year
  • Of the 26 who told us, they still own 61% of their equity

How To Get Sponsors Working For Your Business 4th August, 2014

The sponsorship industry is changing.  The opportunities are endless and ways of engaging are ever increasing.  And yet, the sponsorship industry still remains fairly static.  Since inception, the typical transaction includes rights holders trading ‘space’ to sponsors for money.  Everyone seems pretty happy.  But is everyone getting the most out of the relationship?  With ROI crucial to good business, I’d question whether everyone is getting as much return for the investment that is being put into the sponsorships created.

But money talks and quite rightly, rights holders utilise sponsorship to drive revenue.  However, sponsorship can do so much more.  When done cleverly, sponsorship can open business avenues and new profit centres rights holders wouldn’t have been able to create by themselves.

But it needs a rights holder who is willing to look at the bigger picture with an ambition to think outside of the box commercially.

Rather than just chasing money for logo placement, rights holders need to identify what their ideal ambition is for incorporating sponsorship revenue within their commercial objectives.  For many B2B events, it’s about attracting leading consumer brand names to their event.  For music festivals, it’s about differentiation and adding value to the festival experience.  For sport, it’s getting fans to engage with the team beyond the pitch.  Sponsorship does all these things, but it doesn’t happen overnight.

Many rights holders fail to realise that they have to consider their sponsorship ambitions in a series of steps.  Just like growing any business, in order to reach the end goal there are milestones of achievement – each one built upon success of the other.  A good sponsorship strategy should be developed in the same way – with the long view in mind including phases that drive to deliver objectives beyond the financial.

And even if money really is the only objective (although if you dig deep enough, this is rarely the case), you need to create phases which will allow you to continue building value in order to increase revenue year on year.

So how do you go about building a sponsorship strategy that does all this and more?

  1. Figure out if you have ambitions beyond money.  And if you do, find out if sponsorship can help you reach them.
  2. If you cannot offer a strong proposition to the sponsors you really want, carve out areas of rights that you can provide on a reduced rights fee or for free while still maintaining your core sponsors.  This allows you to negotiate with the right sponsors that can deliver on some of your long-term ambitions while still ensuring your financial targets can be met by the usual suspects.
  3. Talk with your current sponsors about your ambitions and find out how they can play a role in achieving them.
  4. Partner with sponsors whose long-term goals and objectives are aligned with your own.
  5. Stop thinking transactional.  Get creative.

Why Lifestyle Brands Are Getting It Right 17th July, 2014

Our unique take on sponsorship has enabled us to work with some fantastic lifestyle brands such as Red Stripe, Majestic Athletic, Supreme Being, Monster Energy, Spotify, and New Era who are truly maximising the consumer shift towards culture brands.  In terms of sponsorship, these brands are getting it right.  They truly understand their consumer, their market, and most importantly understand how utilising effective sponsorship platforms make their marketing budgets work harder – often because their budgets are a fraction of their rivalling high street retail competitors who are vying for the same audience.

But what makes them different and why should you care?

It all boils down to engagement.  Lifestyle brands tend to have more success in engaging their market better than many other retailers.  They also know where to engage them and how to engage them.  If engagement is what brands are after because engagement sells, then this surely is something to take notice of rather than being complacent on your own brand image – even if you do only sell shoe inserts.

So here is my take on why lifestyle brands are getting it right:

  1. Challenged to be creative – smaller budgets mean you have to really think about what you are doing with them.  When lifestyle brands sponsor something, they maximise every single opportunity and asset they purchase ensuring nothing is missed.
  2. Commercially creative teams – lifestyle brands tend to have teams where everyone does a bit of everything, rather than job roles split up.  This forces individuals to be both creative and commercial – enabling people to fully understand how marketing activity drives sales, which is crucial.
  3. They are their target market – not only do they know their audience, they themselves tend to be active and avid advocates of the brand.  This saves focus groups, countless surveys, and allows them to tap into consumer insight easily.

If you want to see what we’ve done with Majestic Athletic, click here for the case study.


Slingshot Sponsorship Announced as National Business Awards Finalist for The BlackBerry Business Enabler of the Year Award 16th July, 2014

Slingshot Sponsorship Announced as National Business Awards Finalist for The BlackBerry Business Enabler of the Year Award

Britain’s leading businesses, business leaders and social enterprises have today been revealed as finalists for the 2014 National Business Awards and Slingshot Sponsorship is amongst them.

Slingshot Sponsorship has been shortlisted for The BlackBerry Business Enabler of the Year Award – recognising organisations that help businesses to increase profitability by improving efficiency, developing talent and implementing innovation.  This award recognises the impact of ‘enablers’ that offer value beyond services.

Commenting on the Slingshot Sponsorship award entry, Judge Simon Feary, CEO, Chartered Quality Institute said:

“Slingshot has positioned itself to address a niche market overlooked by the main providers. To do that profitably and sustainably, especially within the small business-low margin segment you really have to know your market. Small beginnings but the growth is there suggesting they have their model right.”

This year’s shortlisted businesses cover activities as diverse as retail, technology, men’s grooming products, telecoms, construction, advertising, entertainment, and publishing. Of the businesses shortlisted, 24% turnover under £5m, 26% turnover between £5m and £25m, 15% over a billion and 10% not for profit organisations. The smallest business recognised has a turnover of just £23k with the largest reaching £20 billion. Finalists collectively employ over 850,000 people, the smallest has just one member of staff while the largest employs around 165,000 people globally.

Jackie Fast, Managing Director of Slingshot Sponsorship commented:

“Having our business model recognised as a business enabler at the National Business Awards opens up a world of opportunity for our agency proposition beyond our typical market of sponsorship and marketing professionals.  As we champion the value of commercialisation in marketing, it is an honour to be recognised against some fierce competition in this category – especially from those organisations in the financial industry.”

Visit The National Business Awards for a full list of all finalists and to attend the event.