While donations and volunteer hours can be impactful and valuable, finding sponsorships from local businesses can often be a turning point in an organization’s financial health. This is mainly due to the fact that sponsors are often more likely to contribute more money than an individual donor.
Certain companies allocate funds in their yearly budget for corporate sponsorships so it’s important to learn how to approach them. You should create a youth sports sponsorship package before your next season so that sponsors can choose from different levels depending on the size of the contribution they make.
Does your organization need more sponsorships, but you're not sure how to make it happen? Good news - we’ve got you covered! Let’s start with the basics.
In many instances, it’s common to see youth sport organizations ask community members if they would like to sponsor or donate to their organization. While the board member asking this question may use the terms interchangeably, sponsorships and donations are two different methods of funding your youth sports organization.
A donation is charitable and only benefits the organization in which the donation was made to. A donor is often an individual who has not been guaranteed anything in return. In many instances, this person will provide equipment or a small, one-time cash donation. While the monetary return on investment for collecting donations may be smaller than sponsorships, it's still a great way to fund your youth sports organization.
While donors may be a team parent, sponsors are more likely to be a local business or branch of a major corporation. The main difference between a donor and a sponsor is that a sponsorship provides mutual benefits to both the organization and the sponsor. By entering in an agreement where both parties benefit, this allows the sponsor to often make a more significant financial impact.
Sponsorships are extremely common in the world of sports and we’re used to seeing them, whether we realize it or not, in our everyday lives. Professional and collegiate sports are a common example.
From 2010 to 2021, the NFL’s overall league and team sponsorship revenue increased from 870 million dollars to 1.62 billion dollars, according to Statista. Behind the iconic plays, super fandom and weekend traditions is an entire business dedicated to finding partnerships with the biggest names in the business.
A major factor of the past decade’s revenue increase can be seen from examples such as the Nike and NFL partnership extension announced in 2018. The key piece of their 8 year sponsorship extension is that Nike agrees to provide the uniforms and sideline apparel for all 32 teams participating in the NFL. This is a big win for Nike as the NFL has an enormous audience reach throughout the country. The NFL benefits from this as they no longer have to financially provide gear for their 1,696 athletes.
Colleges and universities aren’t falling too far behind either. Eckerd College, home of the Tritons, has sponsorship packages ranging from $3,000 to $10,000. Some of the benefits include being provided 25 general admission tickets for each game, having your logo on any television ad, the right to distribute promotional materials at the door and being named the preferred donor on their website - to name a few!
With the most recent approval from the NCAA, individual college athletes are allowed to partake in sponsorship agreements based on their name, image and likeness. This went into effect in June 2021 and impacts over 400,000 athletes. The financial impact is to be determined as companies race to invest millions of dollars.
The Aspen Institute found that the average cost per year for a child to play basketball was $426.78. This amount takes into consideration the full scope of being an athlete - registration fees, travel to events, equipment, lessons and camps. If your team has 12 players then the total cost to fund your entire year would be approximately $5,100. While this may seem like a steep price, it would require just 10 sponsors a year to contribute $500 to cover the costs.
For a smaller community, having additional one-time donations would also help offset the total amount of money it takes to fund a team. Taking into account that it's likely a portion of the participants can pay the required fees, it starts to become more obtainable that funding an entire year of play can be feasible.
Finding sponsors is no small task but the payoff is worth it. One of the main components potential sponsors look for is the packages that are being offered. In this next section, we explore how to build a sponsorship package that will be a win/win for everyone!
Having desired benefits will be the main contributing factor to your success in finding sponsors for your youth organization. Because sponsorships are mutually beneficial, working to create a sponsorship package is one of the most important steps.
Although sponsorship packages will look different depending on the audience you serve, we’ve provided a sample sponsorship package template for you to review and refine. Regardless of your location, sport or audience - every sponsorship package should have various tiers with different price points and increasing value for the person sponsoring the organization.
It’s recommended that once your package has been solidified, it’s then added to your website. Having a dedicated area on your website for your sponsorship information will make it easier for potential sponsors to find their needed information. At a minimum, your website should have your sponsorship package options listed as well as a listing of your current sponsors.
Listing all of the different ways that people can become a sponsor on your website is critical to get more contributions.
Download your own copy of our youth sports sponsorship package template. You’ll be able to use this template and develop it as your own.
Now that you’ve got your own sponsorship package created, it’s time to spread the word! Promoting your sponsorship package is important because the more reach you have, the better chance there is to fund your season.
The easiest way to promote your sponsorship package is to post to your social media channels. If you have any current or past donors or sponsors, it’s helpful to tag them in the post and ask them to reshare the information with their own friends and family. Linking your website’s sponsorship page to the post will allow potential sponsors to view all of the details quickly.
If you’re new to managing your social media, we recommend reviewing the Best Practices for Managing Your Sports Organization's Social Media.
Another way to promote is to create materials that you can give to potential sponsors to help inform them on their decision. Some sponsors want to feel a connection with the people they’re helping so it’s important to be able to tell your story.
Some materials we recommend having on hand and/or up on your website are:
Benefit Handout - details out what the sponsor gets per tier
Sponsorship Agreement - ensures both parties are agreeing to the terms set
Sponsorship Letter - an email or letter to use to connect with potential sponsors
You can also view the complete checklist of sponsorship materials that every organization should have.
Lastly, be sure to keep your website updated with all of your package details and sponsorship materials. Most people will look to your website as the main and official source of information so keeping it up to date is crucial.
Once you’ve generated interest from potential sponsors, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve thought through how they can make their payments. The easiest way is to allow them to pay online using a credit or debit card. Interested sponsors should be able to visit your website and make their payment online at any time without writing a check or contacting a board member.
Jersey Watch is a popular sports team management tool that is versatile for your organization’s needs. You can set up a website, register players, and send messages all within one system. A benefit to the software is being able to use the online registration for more than just registering players. We recommend using the online registration feature to collect your sponsors’ payments.
Giving people the option to easily contribute to your program online will increase contributions before your next season!
Learn the top strategies to create your youth sports sponsorship package in this 5 minute video.