Source: Succeed As Your Own Boss, 7/28/14

Every small business needs revenue, and while many companies rely on sales of products or services as the main income source, there are other ways to raise funds. Corporate sponsorship is a mutual business proposition that offers something in exchange for a financial commitment from a corporation. These relationships have been growing throughout the years. In fact, companies spent $18 billion on sponsorships in 2013 alone. So how can your small business tap into this market? Let’s look at five ways you can get sponsorships from Corporate America.

1. Know your platform and the companies that match it. Companies are interested in reaching audiences they typically do not have at their fingertips. It’s less expensive than purchasing traditional media advertising and helps them target these individuals through an intermediary that already has their attention and trust. Make sure you can articulate exactly who you serve. Are your customers male or female? How much income do they make? Do they have children? Do they travel frequently?

Once you identify all the characteristics of your customer base, start researching companies that advertise to or want to reach that group. For example, if mothers are your primary customer, look through the pages of parenting magazines and research parenting websites. What companies advertise on those sites? Then make a list of those businesses as potential corporate sponsors.

2. Offer Value. Sponsorships come in many forms, including:

  • Sponsored posts from the corporation on your blog
  • Giveaways of their products to your audience
  • Product reviews
  • Advertising
  • Events

Come up with a few packages that offer a mix of these activities, or let your potential sponsors pick items a la carte. Remember, you want to build a long-term relationship with your sponsor, so it’s in your best interest to come up with ways to engage them and work with them for years.

3. Write a compelling proposal that makes it clear why a corporation should sponsor your business. You want to write a story about you or your business that is exciting and meaningful. Don’t simply state what you sell; explain why you impact lives. Remember, sponsorships are not just about your business: the company you want to partner with will want to know what’s in it for them. How will the company reap benefits it wouldn’t otherwise get? Also include in the proposal your target audience demographics and discuss your reach as well as how you’ll help the corporation reach its target audience.

4. Ask for your worth. Many small businesses make the mistake of not asking for enough money in sponsorships. Remember that you are offering these corporations value and direct access to the customers they want to reach. In addition, many of these corporations are used to making deals in the tens of thousands. Don’t ask for $1,000 from a company that has the pockets to give $10,000. Value your connection to this demographic and charge accordingly.

5. Follow up! How many times have you ignored an email or phone call because you’re busy or on a deadline? Corporate executives feel the same way. So many people lose sponsorship deals because they do not follow up. If you don’t hear back from an organization after you’ve submitted your proposal, pick up the phone and check in.

Corporate sponsorship is a great way to partner with large corporations looking to expand their reach, while at the same time increasing your company’s bottom line. Make it a goal to start researching corporate sponsorship opportunities and diversify your revenue stream today.