Before we get to the racing sponsorship proposal, we need to define what is a sponsorship proposal first. A sponsorship proposal refers to a document that serves as an offer or a pitch that an individual or an organization sends to a potential sponsor (such as another individual or another organization, usually a medium or large-scale business) with the sole purpose of securing a sponsorship deal.
A racing sponsorship proposal refers to a business document that is used when a race team seeks out big companies which can be potential sponsors (such as large-scale oil and fuel companies) in order to secure a sponsorship deal for their team so they can get their operations underway (or keep the team in running order). When a racing sponsorship deal is struck, we see their logos usually displayed on the cars or motorbikes, and sometimes the sponsor’s name can be added to the team name as well, making them the team’s title sponsor (such as Ducati Lenovo Team, with Ducati being the racing team and Lenovo being the title sponsor).
Here are some of the common elements that can be found in a sponsorship proposal document. Take note that more elements may exist that are exclusive to that type of sponsorship.
Cover page – The cover page should provide an excellent opportunity to show professionalism to the one who reads the sponsorship proposal. This page should display the potential client and their company name along with your details. It’s also a good practice to include a phone number or an e-mail address in case an immediate follow-up is necessary.Cover letter – This element of a sponsorship proposal sets the context of the proposal. In writing this part, you need to introduce yourself, describe the nature of the event (or describe your objectives), and concisely outline why you think the sponsorship works. Keep in mind that you should provide a little background on what you are doing (or what the event is about) before going deep into the details.Value to the Sponsor – This serves as one of the most important elements of the sponsorship proposal. This section is the “what’s in it for me?” part of the proposal. Good management and thorough research of the sponsor should make this easy, as the information already comes straight from them. Examples of this element include “A great relationship with the fans will bring repeat sales and higher conversion rates” and “Additional sales will bring more funds to your research and development department“.Measures of Success – In this element, you will need to document the quantitative and qualitative metrics that will be used to document the success of the sponsorship program as discussed with and agreed to by the sponsor. An example of this element can be “A noticeable shift to positive feedback on our social media channels“.Unique Marketing Initiatives – In creating this element of the sponsorship proposal, look back through the information you’ve gathered and use that as a guide to propose several unique marketing initiatives that are designed to meet the sponsor’s objectives, that can be measured, and can provide the required value. Also, include the information regarding the target audience that’s relevant to the sponsor such as the audience numbers, the demographics, and the psychographics. You should also detail several options that incorporate the unique marketing initiatives and fit with the sponsor’s expected return on investment.Terms and Conditions – This section of the sponsorship proposal should include the cost of the sponsorship proposal, the time frame of the sponsorship proposal, the payment terms, the details of any insurance that you may hold, and any other conditions that the sponsor should be made aware of. Terms should also be included regarding what happens during contingencies, such as withdrawal of sponsorship, etc.Signatures – This section ends the sponsorship proposal document. Include a signature field and you can also add here all of your contact details, an opportunity for the sponsors to come and visit whenever appropriate, and most importantly, a message thanking the sponsors for their time and their consideration.
Since racing costs a lot of money, sponsorships are ideal for supporting a racing team’s program. Here are the things that a team must and must not do if they are to look for sponsors:
- Do treat your race team as a business. Contacting a sponsor for your race team is comparable to contacting a potential employer. The true request is to be part of the sponsor’s sales team. You need to keep this in mind with everything you do with regard to sponsorship.
- Do create a sponsorship proposal. Before approaching a sponsor, draft a proposal first. The proposal should include the background information of the team, a driver profile, geographical information about the racetracks, and the levels of sponsorship with pricing and items or services included.
- Do research about the company. When you approach a company and seek their sponsorship, it is important that you know what they do. In order to do so, perform thorough research. You should also have a good idea about what the sponsor’s target market is. And then, use this information to think about how you may be able to deliver the sponsor’s message.
- Do business with the potential sponsor. Doing business with a company before asking them for a potential sponsorship is a big plus and goes a very long way. It bears no sense when you start to approach a company for a potential sponsorship for your race team when you are a non-customer compared to many customers who have been doing business for a long time with them that they could easily sponsor when they approach them.
- Don’t contact sponsors after business hours. An example may be seeing a sponsor active on their social media at night. Just because they are online doesn’t mean that they want to talk about pure business. If you decide to contact the business that you are seeking a sponsorship deal with, it is best that you should do it during business hours.
- Don’t look for sponsorships during trade shows. Trade shows are a time when racing businesses are focused on making sales and generating revenue. It may be a good time to see them in person, but unless foot traffic ends up being slow, don’t stop in their booth. If you do end up in their booth, keep conversations short and don’t give them any proposal because it has a high chance of being ignored or being totally thrown out.
- Don’t sell a sad story. Placing the focus on a sad story when looking for sponsorship will just detract from the main focus of seeking one – which is to make sales for the sponsor. Seeking sponsorship in this way creates an instantly uncomfortable situation for any potential sponsor who tries to read the request.
Here are the steps that you can take in order to make an effective racing sponsorship proposal:
1. Be Clear With Your Offers
If you’re a racing team who is planning to approach companies for a potential sponsorship, make sure that you are ready and are clear with the offers that you have in hand. The heart of your sponsorship proposal will lie in what you have for them. The sponsors would then base their decision on how you’re going to help them in exchange for their support. In this step, assess yourself and ask yourself what can you do for the sponsors in order for them to be willing to work for your racing team.
2. Perform Your Research
Sending a sponsorship proposal to a potential company that you barely know is something that you should not do. Doing this will drastically affect the quality of your sponsorship proposal. It will always pay to perform a thorough research on your potential sponsors. Observe how they conduct themselves through the classified advertisements in the newspapers or how they conduct themselves on their online content through social media. By performing thorough research on a potential sponsor, you give yourself the opportunity to customize your offers based on the data that you’ve gathered.
3. Know What You Need
It’s just as important to know what you want in a racing sponsorship deal as it is to know what you can offer. Make sure that your sponsorship proposal outlines your needs in great detail. Even if your needs seem to be a lot, it helps to lay them down and convey them simply and descriptively. Also, make a detailed checklist containing the different items that you need in the sponsorship deal. By doing this, the potential sponsor will know if they are capable of meeting your demands or if suggesting a negotiation is the better way to go.
4. Elaborate On How You Will Measure Success
The sponsorship doesn’t come to a conclusion just because all the parties involved have done their part of the bargain. More often than not, the sponsors for your racing team will be requesting for an evaluation that their sponsorship has actually resulted in something valuable. This step is something that needs input of the team’s sponsors. The team can meet with their sponsors and discuss with them their own standards of success and ask the perspective of the team sponsor. More often than not, sponsorships are rewarded with marketing exposure and the sponsors will be more than likely to gauge the success based on their increase in new customers and social media reach.
5. Perform A Follow-up
Once you’re done creating the sponsorship proposal, get it printed and send copies to the potential sponsor and keep some copies to yourself. A few days later, don’t be shy to give the potential sponsor a call and ask for their feedback on the proposal. If it goes to plan, then it will be down to the lawyers from all parties involved to sort out the smaller details of the sponsorship deal. Should a change be requested, review the parts that need changing and adjust them accordingly. But if things do not go to plan and the sponsorship proposal ends up being rejected, it doesn’t hurt to ask them why so that you can take some lessons from the experience. Asking them also ensures that you keep in touch with the potential sponsor for more opportunities that may come in the future.
In-kind sponsorship (also known as value-in-kind sponsorship) is a form of sponsorship where the sponsor agrees to provide goods and services instead of cash as part of a sponsorship agreement. It is different compared to cash sponsorship because, in a cash sponsorship, the sponsor contributes value (in cash) to the event. A common misunderstanding of in-kind sponsorship is that it is a form of charity where it is usually not, because it is still a reciprocal commercial relationship. The party being sponsored should still know what they can deliver in return to the sponsors in exchange for their contributions.
Promotional partnerships is a kind of partnership done by the brand and their clients by leveraging resources to raise mass awareness for their products. This is commonly done in movies wherein a brand supports a movie release by lending a portion of their media to the marketing campaign of the movie. The studio, in turn, includes the brand’s logo and/or products in the movie’s marketing campaigns, cast promotion tours, and press tours. A typical result of a successful promotional partnership would be mass awareness for any brand that supports a particular movie release.
A financial sponsor refers to a private-equity investment firm that engages in leveraged buyout transactions. In addition to providing capital to a sponsorship deal, financial sponsors are expected to bring a combination of capital markets expertise, all sorts of important contacts, strategies to improve business operations, and the valuable experience of owning leveraged companies.
Sponsorships serve as a solid testament that businesses that work together properly can grow together and flourish better compared to their competitors. Race teams and motorsports organizations heavily rely on sponsorships, and they often need as many as they can get and not just a single sponsor. Drivers also need sponsors as well, to promote their brand and make their identity known. Sometimes a sponsor for a race team can spell the difference between long-term success or being a complete laughing stock. As stated earlier, sponsors may also outline the difference between a race team’s continued participation in the sport or their total disappearance. The same goes for drivers as well, because having sponsors nowadays may give you an advantage between securing a race seat or being on the sidelines. In this article, effective examples of a race sponsorship proposal are posted for you to use as a reference when you need to make one for your race team or for your drivers.