Female Founders: 8 Steps to Getting Corporate Sponsorship for Small Business/Startup

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As a new hautrepreneur aka female founder, you are starting out and are passionate about launching your baby. The time comes for you to launch your website that no doubt is the most fabulous piece of digital work you’ve seen in years! However, you want to add a little validity to it and think, how can I gain affirmation that will result in sales, traffic and beyond. Many turn to sponsorship. Corporate sponsorship, as Inc. Magazine terms it, Corporate sponsorship is a form of advertising in which companies pay to be associated with certain events. When the sponsorship of a nonprofit or charitable event is involved, the sponsorship activity is often referred to as event marketing or cause marketing.

You may be wondering, how would this benefit you, and it can have several #winning results:

 First, it associates you with a level of respect in the industry that you admire which gives an indication to your future audience of who you are by the company you keep. So pick wisely. Getting a sponsor that matches your mission is ideal and you should select companies that align with your brand goals and mission as closes as possible. Second, it increases your visibility to your target audience or can widen your market to new audiences. Third, it allows you to be validated and affirmed to new customers that may be on the fence of purchasing your goods or services. Fourth, it gives you value of monetary gain or an in-kind benefit. (Gifts in kind, also referred to as in-kind donations, is a kind of charitable giving in which, instead of giving money to buy needed goods and services, the goods and services themselves are given, Wikipedia)

  1. Come up with a Top 25 dream list of Sponsors you would like to associate yourself with.
    First companies on that list should have money or an in-kind value/item that you think is worth leveraging your brand for.
  2. Decide what you want to offer. As a new company you might not feel like you have a lot to offer just yet. BUT YOU DO! And you will be surprised that many companies might be interested in your brand for various reasons. A few may include – wanting to be visible with a new audience, trying to support a company or cause that aligns with their goals, interested in being part of a new trend or strategy and/or appreciating a special brand that they feel should be encouraged to grow. So, make a list of what items you want to offer – weekly email blast mentions, blogpost spotlights, logo garden on your website, one-time flyer, Instagram posts, Facebook posts, co-branding partnership on t-shirt, product, event space, speaking opportunity and the list continues
  3. Build a 6 – 7-page proposal that explains 3 things – 1) who you are, 2) what value your company will bring to theirs by the sponsorship and 3) what the sponsorship entails. For example, Page 1 – 2 would include items such as your company name, logo, mission, vision, social media footprint, website traffic, company profits and or revenues. Page 3 – 4 graphs that show your expertise or power of your brand. Lastly Pages 5 – 7 should include how much each sponsorship should cost and what is included. Traditionally sponsorships have 3 or more levels i.e. Silver, Gold, Platinum. And their offers increase as the value of what you offer.
  4. Get personal – jump on the phone! In this day and age, we use email and social media heavily when communicating but since you are newly starting out, jumping on the phone to introduce yourself will go extremely far.
  5. Follow-up with an email and attach your proposal. A tip would be to create a “email signature” titled Proposal Inquiry. This way when you are ready to send off your proposals you can simply select the email signature and all of the info is right there. Just don’t forget to attach the proposal
  6. Follow-up Again – put an alert in your calendar after the first call to follow-up again in a week. In this email you want to be thoughtful and personalize the email by mentioning why you think you’d be a good sponsorship match.
  7. Don’t get discouraged and be prepared to negotiate! At first, you may receive a few declines to your invitation, but as you get better and more familiar with the process, you’ll begin to turn those Nos into Yes! So if all of your 25 say no, build another ‘dream list’. You may also learn that a few companies want to negotiate terms and options. This is often accepted when you are starting out. Be flexible but never give away more than you are comfortable with – after all, in the early days your value is precious.
  8. Put a partnership agreement in place, this agreement will list what you will give, what the company agrees to pay for it, either cash or in kind donation and how the exchange is to be delivered and by what date. You will want to have both of you sign it as well. For templates, the amazing Google hooked you up – see here. But there are many free websites with templates. 

Stay Female Fueled! 

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