Get A New Sponsor (3 Tips)
Specific actions that can be taken to connect with corporate sponsors:
1. Approach companies that student team member’s parents work for – This is probably the single most successful way for a team to raise sponsorship funds. The parents are the greatest sources of resources a team has. Many times a parent will have connections inside the company, or know the right processes to follow to apply for formal sponsorship. If the parent volunteers to assist the team as a mentor or in another capacity many companies will provide a donation to the organization (if it holds a non- profit IRS status) based on the number of hours volunteered.
Schedule a parent meeting
Provide them with a pre-drafted corporate sponsorship letter and sponsorship package they can use (see 3 below for a description of the sponsorship package contents)
Coach them in what have been successful methods in the past
Parents can offer companies a demonstration of the robot by team members at their facility
Follow-up with the parents later to discuss what they tried, what was successful, and what was not successful
2. Companies already sponsoring other teams - Review other regional FRC team websites, team shirts, robots, etc., to identify what companies are already sponsoring FRC teams. If you feel comfortable doing this, contact these teams and see if they would be willing to send you the contact names and information for these companies. Sometimes a team may be reluctant to divulge this information for fear of losing their sponsorship. Otherwise, go through the companies channels as outlined on their website to apply for or request sponsorship. Be sure to reference the other teams that the company is sponsoring, and make a case in your request for how a sponsorship will benefit the company. Put yourself in the shoes of the company president. If someone were asking you for money what would you want to know?
3. Company letter writing campaign – This is the shotgun approach to finding corporate sponsors and works on the principle of statistics. The more letters you send out, the higher probability that you will be selected by some of them to receive a sponsorship.
a. Identify a student, mentor, or parent to act as the letter writing campaign manager.
b. The campaign manager recruits several people to his/her team to work on the campaign
c. Draft a letter template to be sent/taken to the companies
d. Develop a sponsorship package to be given to the companies
e. Identify the companies to send letters/packages to, or to take the letters/packages to. This can be developed through a brain-storming session, phone book, internet search, etc. Local companies are going to be far easier to approach, and more willing to sponsor a team than national or global companies.
f. Send out the letters/packages,or take them personally to the companies. If delivered in person as for the president or marketing manager.
g. Consider sponsorships of things other than cash. For example, you may identify a company that is a supplier of high quality industrial plastics. They might be willing to give the team plastic material for robot construction.
h. Follow-up with each company within two weeks after sending out the letters/ packages to ensure they received it, and whether they have any questions. NEVER HESITATE TO ASK THE COMPANY TO SPONSOR YOUR TEAM. Remember, you will never get what you don’t ask for.
j. Track the initial mailing to each company, and each follow-up. This will provide valuable data for subsequent campaigns.
k. Contents of a Sponsorship Package:
L. Trifold or brochure describing the team, a bit of history, awards received.
I hope these tips might help your team acquire more sponsors. Comment below and tell us other ways to get a new sponsor!
Writer - Craig Fritts.