How to find a cycling sponsorship? Tips on where to start

How do you find companies or individuals to engage in cycling sponsorship discussions? Where do you start?

Here’s some tips and ideas.

“grassroots”: It’s always best to start with people you know such as family, friends and colleagues. These individuals understand your passion for cycling and probably have a better understanding of the benefits of our sport. Meaning, they will be most likely to support your sponsorship or fundraising efforts. Donations towards your club or event can add up more quickly than you think by working with family, friends and colleagues.

Approach businesses you frequent: Makes sense that businesses where you are a frequent client might be a good target. Chances are you have established a good relationship with the employees and/or owner, they appreciate your business, and they might be interested in reciprocating. This can also be a potential source of referrals. This worked for our club when I initiated sponsorship discussions with a local retailer. (Please see “Smaller cycling sponsorship agreements provide value for sponsors too”)

Referrals: You might uncover potential sponsorship opportunities through referrals from existing sponsors, businesses you frequent, or through professional or personal contacts.

Look at your social media connections: We know how social media keeps us all connected, and how direct relationships can lead to additional connections. Finding prospective sponsors by reviewing your social media connections could lead to “warm” business introductions (you know someone in common vs. a “cold” call where neither of you know anything about each other).

Identify companies headquartered in your city, town or geographic area: Location of headquarters is important because this typically affects decision making authority. If a company is headquartered in your geographic area they probably have resources in place to make sponsorship decisions. Another benefit could be an overlap between the immediate market they serve (in the same area as your club) being in the same approximate area of your club. This translates into more visibility and exposure for their company, brand, products and services.

Companies that are active in the community: Targeting companies that are active in your community by supporting various civic activities, sports clubs, or social initiatives to improve the greater good of the community may be more receptive to supporting your club. These companies will see the value of aligning with your club to support the community and its constituents. This is also excellent PR for companies which can lead to increased brand awareness and recognition, and customer loyalty. The blog post “facebook, blogsearch.google.com and LinkedIn for cycling sponsorship” describes how I identified a potential sponsor, contacts and valuable information about organizations they sponsor and why? (Please refer to the “Social Media” category for more information on identifying, researching and engaging prospective sponsors through social media)

Companies experiencing change: This  is another area your cycling club can target. Look for companies showing some type of “trigger” event, such as expansion (as pointed out in 5-hour Energy post), a merger or acquisitions, a new product announcements or management changes. These could all be a signal for a potential sponsorship opportunity. New products might target a segment which aligns with cycling’s demographic. An acquisition or merger could mean the company needs to re-evaluate their branding. Cycling sponsorship is an excellent vehicle for helping a company to “get the word out.” Your club’s members are very visible because of the nature of cycling. Leverage your club’s participation in events, community activities and local initiatives as a vehicle th help prospective sponsors achieve their objectives. (For additional information on how cycling helps companies achieve their objectives please see “Secure cycling sponsorship by understanding why companies sponsor”. “Articulating the value of cycling sponsorship” is another  post on this topic. )

Is there natural tie in between your club and a prospective sponsor? Is there commonality between a company and your cycling club?  i.e., where there is a potential alignment with your club – These can be companies wanting to align their brand with the growing active, healthy lifestyle market (Quiznos, OptumHealth and others), or with “green” transportation (IKEA). These companies recognize the importance of attracting consumers in growing segments. Cycling sponsorship provides a vehicle to help companies reach these consumers. In addition, it’s good PR to support initiatives important to it’s customers and constituents in their markets. Also, cycling sponsorship is an affordable means of promoting their brand, when compared to traditional forms of advertising, marketing and public relations methods.

That’s my view, what’s yours?

Thanks for visiting. Remember, until next time, to “Keep the rubber side down!”

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