How to Obtain Sponsorship

11/22/95 Debbie Matthews

One of the most frequent questions I am asked, is for information on how to obtain sponsorship. .

Everyone wants sponsorship and the recognition that comes with it but few are willing to accept the responsibility for that support. When you are picked up by a company for support, they in exchange for your endorsement and use of their product or services have expectations of you. You are in effect a representative of their company and products. You are expected to act professional in your appearance, manners, and actions. Everything you do and say reflects upon the company supporting your efforts. When this system works properly, both parties benefit. The sponsor receives much needed advertising , visibility, and promotion, while you as a competitor, receive the reward of financial freedom to pursue your dreams.

The first thing you should do when you decide you are ready for support, is to make a list of the kind of support you need. What companies products do you use most frequently ?

Next, you should ask yourself, what kind of service can I offer a potential sponsor ? What races am I planning to attend ? You then should get a list of the contingency programs offered by the factories. Find out which races are the most important to them, and are you in a position to attend some or all of them ?

Next you need to decide which companies you will seek assistance from. Locate their names and addresses out of magazine ads, or ask your dealer for assistance. If possible, call the companies you are interested in. Find out who is in charge of support and when the best time is to submit your information to them.

Pick only the products and companies you believe in !!!!! You will be a much more effective representative for your sponsor if you truly believe in the product you represent.

Create a concise resume. Be sure it is typed. Include your name, address, phone, age, experience/ranking, class(es) competing in, and memberships. List in order your accomplishments, goals, and what you can do for them. A photo isn't necessary, but it does dress up the resume. You are now ready to send out your resume.

After sending the resume allow 2-3 weeks for a response. If you haven't heard back, make a follow up call to your prospective sponsor. First, this allows you to verify they received it and get some idea of their timetable. Second, this will show them your serious about their support. This tactic is useful as it makes them take a second look, and places it on top of the pile (and I do mean pile) of resumes they need to review for support.  Wait patiently for a response. As the timetable deadline approaches they gave you for a response, you may wish to contact them one last time, to again show your desire to ride for them. DO NOT BECOME A PEST !

The moment of truth has arrived. You run to the mailbox and find a letter from your potential sponsor. Read it carefully. If it is a favorable response, CHEER, and then set it aside, until you receive all the competing companies responses to your request for support. Compare the responses to determine which company has the best program to benefit you. If the response is negative, be positive ! Be sure to thank the company for considering you for support, and you will contact them next year. Do not get discouraged. Stay positive and keep trying. It is important to build rapport. When they get to know who you are, and what you can do for them, you will gain support.

Read all contracts carefully for your responsibilities as a rider. Be sure you can follow through on all that is expected of you. Once you are sure of what they expect from you, and of what they will do for you in return, sign the contract and return it to them, after you have made a copy for yourself. REMEMBER: BE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND CLEARLY YOUR OBLIGATIONS PRIOR TO SIGNING ANY CONTRACT !

As your season progresses, keep your sponsor updated. Even if you cannot compete, let them know what's happening. Be enthusiastic ! Your sponsors will hear about it !

Lastly, If you experience a problem with a sponsor or product, DO NOT bad mouth them. Try and rectify the problem, and then if it cannot be resolved, ask them for a release from your contract. If one is not granted, be professional and finish out your contract before seeking elsewhere. If they release you from your contract, thank them for their assistance, and then, pursue other options. This way you will not burn a bridge you may need later on.

One last tip: Remember, Be Professional in all your dealings. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES SELL OR GIVE AWAY PRODUCT YOUR SPONSOR HAS DESIGNATED FOR YOUR USE ! The company is sponsoring you, not the neighborhood ! People will tell you, you can afford it, they won't know, but this is a lie ! SPONSORS MONITOR USAGE ! Don't jeopardize your ride because someone is too lazy to work for support. You worked for and earned your support, they didn't.