Make your goals S.M.A.R.T !
If you are part of a sport organization, you are probably participating in meetings. I want to ask you to analyze the next couple of meetings you attend, and count the number of ideas that are being brought forward. We all have ideas about how the development of our athlete, team, club, association or federation should take place, but one idea is definitely better than the other.
Goals often start with brainstorming. This is not always necessary, but it stimulates the interaction between your colleagues. Basically there is only one rule with brainstorming, and that is that as long as everybody stays within the topic “there are no limitations to the ideas”. You just shoot off any idea, and do not allow small thinking taking over. It is fun, and one impossible idea will lead to another, which may seem more realistic to achieve.
But what is next? Your sports organization has a good idea, but how do you make it really happen?
What happens a lot is that a commission is installed to realize the goal or project. But then people get busy with their daily lives, don’t have the time for this idea or perhaps blame others for not having followed up on the goal…..does this looks familiar?
In my opinion this is lack of making the goals S.M.A.R.T. ( introduced by G. T. Doran 1981)
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-sensitive.
I will explain SMART goals with the example of a sport organization aiming to get a sponsor. Don’t make the common mistake by asking a student to make a marketing plan, or start sending sponsor requests immediately!
My advice to you is to start asking yourself the following questions:
Is your goal SPECIFIC?
What do you want to accomplish with a sponsor? What kind of sponsor do you want. Do you only aim for financial sponsoring, or would Value in Kind, give you the same benefits? What kind of business areas will you target for this sponsor and why? If you have specific answers on these questions you can move to the next aspect.
Is your goal MEASURABLE?
If you do not make your goal measurable, you will never know whether you are making progress towards the successful completion of your goal.
What sponsor budget are you aiming for? Would you also take two smaller sponsors for 50% of the budget? How big/popular should the sponsoring organization be? Regional, national or international orientated?
What time frame will you set to get appointments with potential sponsors? How many people from your sportorganization will be involved?
Is your goal ATTAINABLE?
For small sportorganizations with perhaps 20-30 young kids, it would not be attainable (realisitic) to aim for a million dollar sponsorship deal.
On the other hand, if that same small sportorganization, already has a couple of sponsors giving each one hundred thousand dollars, it may be much more realistic to get a one million dollar sponsor.
Another example is that if your sponsor commission consists out of business people with the right contacts, the goal of getting a sponsor is much closer.
So the context of your situation here is the key factor. Your most important question is “how can the goal be accomplished?”.
It is important to take some time and ask yourself how close you are to getting to your goal.
Is your goal RELEVANT?
Relevant goals are connected with other goals in your sport organization. This is of course always the case with money, but sometimes the time is simply not right to approach potential sponsors.
Or sometimes the people chosen within your organization to get the sponsors are not relevant? Don’t choose only the volunteers, who perhaps don’t have the slightest idea (or background) about sponsorships and marketing. They will organize the same dreadful carwash, fundraising barbeque or perhaps lottery.
Is your goal TIME-sensitive?
If you aim to win a medal at the Olympics with your team, you automatically have a deadline for the coming Olympic Games (RIO2016).
You should set deadlines for all projects, ideas and goals within your sport organization. If you want to get a sponsor, you could set your deadline in 10 months, and then break this down in monthly subgoals.
There is of course much more to getting sponsors, but if you make it a habit, to start with making your goals/projects SMART, you will be ahead of 90% of the others in sports.
7 steps to get sponsors while you promote your athletes
The main reason why sport organizations exist SHOULD be to facilitate the athletes. I am sure that many sport administrators do not live by it, but each and everything you do, should in the long run benefit your athletes.
You may recognize this situation: One of your athletes is always coming to the training sessions, trains dedicated and just shows so much talent and focus that you know he/she is going to make it………as long as there is enough money invested in him/her. The parents may or may not be so supporting, and perhaps they don’t even have the funds to send their kid to a regional competition, or perhaps an international one. So you know that if you don’t step up, and get some good sponsoring, another talent goes wasted.
I know many examples of board members doing their utmost to get sponsors. They write letters, make numerous phone calls, and have meetings….but for some reasons the result is minimal.
Athletes do not need many words to make their passion clear
I always advise sport organizations to make use of their athletes. Athletes do not need many words to make their passion and message clear. If you talk to an athlete who really is passionate about their sports, you just feel it from their expression, the way their face lightens up when they talk about their competitions, wins or losses.
If you have never been an athlete it is just impossible to give this additional touch to the conversation with any potential sponsor. And it is just this emotion that can push the manager/director of the company in the right direction to make the decision.
So what should you do?
1. SELECT YOUR ATHLETE(S)
First, you should realize that you don’t need to have world athletes in your organization, to approach sponsors. It is all about showing potential sponsors that you deserve to have their trust, that your sportorganization is a serious one, and focused on your athletes. Neither should you focus on your best athletes in the field, as these may not be so strong communication wise. Look at your group athletes, and choose 1 or 2 athletes who are (1) dedicated to their training and (2) have some sort of a leadership position in the group. These athletes have the natural tendency already to speak up in a group, and these are exactly the ones that can help you.
2. Start your PUBLIC RELATIONS
Can you imagine yourself entering a bar/church/birthday party, and then handing out to everybody letters asking them for financial contributions or sponsoring. If nobody knows you, how do you think they would react……?
Exactly, 50% of them would not even open your envelop, 25% would throw away the letter after reading the first paragraph, and the other 25% wants to stay polite and says something like “don’t call us, we will call you”.
Do you think they would react differently if they already know your face, have read something about your sports or your athletes?
So before you approach sponsors, your efforts should be directed in introducing yourself, your sports organization and your athletes. You can do this either trough free publicity or paid publicity.
3. Build your database for FREE PUBLICITY
*I will only focus on free publicity, as the strategy for paid publicity is not always feasible for small sport organizations.
Instead of focusing on the internet and social media, my advice is to stick to the traditional media for free publicity. Everybody is on the internet, and it is very difficult to get noticed online if you don’t have a budget. So just open go to the nearest bookstore, and if you don’t know already, write down the names of newspapers that are published both in the Morning AND the Evening. On the websites of these newspapers you can look for email addresses, and collect them in a spreadsheet. You can do the same for Radio and Television stations. Many people leave it by this.
But there are more publications and media channels that can be of added value.
Do you know of any free newspapers that perhaps only focus on real estate or classifieds? There should also be free magazines about music, or perhaps in other languages.
Another approach is to target people who write or produce in media. I am talking about journalist, Tv hosts etcetera. These people are often freelancers, working for different media. So try to also get their email address for your database.
Your aim should be to get a big database, with correct email addresses. Do not underestimate the amount of time that goes into this, it is quite a lot. But if your database stays accurate, you will really feel the benefit of this. You can make a group of all the email addresses in your favorite email system like outlook, hotmail, gmail or yahoo.
4. SEND YOUR PRESS RELEASES
There are whole studies dedicated to communication with the press. But I want to keep it simple, and therefore will just talk about a way how to start building your brand, by getting your sports in the press. You can choose to write long press releases about the different activities, but you will realize that this is very time consuming. And if you don’t have the time or the motivation to write, this will very quickly become your bottle neck.
So start with sending press releases about:
- Competitions schedules, and results
- About your athletes
I am sure that most of the sport organizations already cover the first one. But how many organizations inform the press about athletes who are excelling in other areas than the competition?
You can make resumes about your athletes and make them athlete of the month. Did you ever went to a fast-food restaurant where you see the picture of the employee of the month ? Let’s just copy that 😉
By starting your project “Athlete of the Month”, I can already mention 3 wins:
- Other sport organizations most likely do not do this, so you are being innovative and your chances of getting published in the press are getting higher
- Athletes feel very proud for being selected, and automatically there is an internal competition created on perhaps a more social level. You need of course to communicate the rules for this project very good, preferably on paper. Parents will also fee immensely proud of having their daughter or son in the press.
- Companies know the project “Employee of the Month” already, and now they read about this same project being implemented by your sport organizations…..they will remember that!
Follow the publications of your press releases closely! Make scans of the written publications, and notice which editors are giving attention to you.
5. TRAIN YOUR ATHLETES
When athletes reach a certain level, they automatically get introduced to some sort of a media training. They learn how to answer questions, that they don’t immediately know the answer to. How to communicate losses of a game and how to behave when a camera and light bulb is pointed to you.
Your goal should be to pick one athlete to accompany you to meetings with potential sponsors. Or they can even make phone calls for you, to follow up on letters sent previously.
Now don’t think that athletes exactly know what to do. They may even not like doing it. So you will need to train and coach them, and point out that they have that extra value that will benefit the team!
Train your athlete, as though they are going to a job interview. There is no doubt if they will get questions, so they better be good prepared to rehearse some answers.
Some questions to train:
- Why do you like your sport?
- What is the most difficult aspect in your sport?
- What do you want to achieve with your sport?
The trick is not to just give a plain answer, but to answer the question in such a way that your athlete ends with the fact that your organization would really appreciate any support given.
6. CV/ Resume
Like I mentioned in the point before, you should treat the sponsorship meeting, as an interview for a job. And an important part of that is a resume….not yours (as a sport administrator), not the history of your organization but a resume of your Athlete.
It will be your Athlete’s business card, and this will once again make an impression on the company.
Instead of writing about how I think such a CV should look like, I am hereby giving you a template, free for you to use.
**Hey, you can even outsource the production of such a design for $5 on www.fiverr.com
7. TARGET YOUR SPONSORS
Let’s face it, everybody in sports go after the “Big FOUR”: the Banks, the Insurance Companies, the sport Drinks and the Telecommunication companies.
Now if you open the Yellow Pages, I am sure that you see many other categories of companies. I urge you to also target those, when you mail out your sponsorship requests. For the following reasons:
- You compete directly with all other sport organizations when you approach sponsors. So you need to have a unique strategy and definitely don’t do what 95% already is doing. Additionally you should be aware that organizations of Art, Culture and Music most probably also are sending sponsorship requests to the same Big FOUR.
- I personally think it is better to have 3 medium sized sponsors, than one big one. The impact of losing one sponsor is not so big, and the future income stream is more secure.
- It is easier to build a relationship with the decision makers of small/medium sized companies. And it is exactly this relationship that will influence the long term sponsorship possibilities.
So I suggest to approach the “Big FOUR” but also other areas like:
- Taxi companies
- Shopping Malls
- Newspapers (!)
So there you go…..seven ways to get sponsors while you promote your athletes. Do you have any steps to add, do you agree ….or not?
Please share your opinion in the comments below!
How to get sponsors in sports
During my work, both as a volunteer and as a professional in sports, the most frequent question I get is how a sports organization can get sponsors. Let me give a couple examples:
This federation organizes a competition for amateur clubs. They didn’t write press releases and at that moment they didn’t even publish schedules. The focus was on playing the game, making use of the resources that already were available. They had an audience though, but just didn’t know how to leverage that.
My daughter (almost 8 years) has been practicing aikido for 6 months now. This is a pretty small club, with their own dojo, and they have lessons for adults and the youth. During a barbeque one of the instructors told me that they just are not succeeding in getting any new training mats. He said that it is very difficult to get sponsors.
I was thinking about this afterwards, and I found it strange as I saw some very dedicated and serious people involved in the club. They had nice publications on the bulletin board, they have a digital newsletter and recently they even had a school delegation participating in a clinic.
It was remarkable though that none of the school kids (that I saw) became a member. Personally I also didn’t read anything about the club in the press. I felt that a strategy to attract new members was missing.
I once had lunch with the president of a boxing association. He had problems with getting funding for his sport. He asked my opinion on an idea he had about raffling a car to generate funds. He had good contacts with some car dealerships, and even showed me the calculation of how he expected to make some money. My initial reaction was to just try the raffle to see if it would generate any income.
Looking at the context though, this association didn’t organize any local boxing championships, nor did they have any international boxers for at least the last 5 years. And there was no real board, but it was more 1 person running things.
I noticed that the raffle until now never took place…
Apart from the frequent question of asking how to get sponsors, I am also hearing another common remark from many officials claiming that their sport is so different and specific, that general tips and advice will not work for them. I can’t count the times that I’ve heard
“But you have to understand that our situation is specific……”
So let me go back to the examples of Soccer, Aikido and Boxing. Can I compare these situations? My answer to that is YES and NO.
NO, you can’ compare these sports!
Of course you cannot compare a team sport like soccer with individual sports. The surroundings are completely different. Not only cost wise, but also due to the big difference in practicing the sport outdoors or indoors. Soccer is the most practiced sport around the world, so it goes without saying that getting attention should be easier.
Another reason for being very careful of comparing the mentioned sports is that martial arts/boxing can be perceived negative by certain persons/ organizations. A sport like boxing has to deal with prejudices that a sport like soccer simply doesn’t have (to not speak about the supporters’ violence).
YES, you can compare these sports!
On the other hand there are also reasons that justify any comparison between these sports. First of all they are sports, which are characterized by being a leisure activity, especially focused on younger people. They all take place in a structured way, by licensed instructors, governed by an association or club. Additionally, these sports have international bodies responsible for the overall regulation of the sports. The international official definition of a sport (according to the umbrella organization Sportaccord) is:
- The sport should have an element of competition.
- The sport should in no way be harmful to any living creatures.
- The sport should not rely on equipment that is provided by a single supplier.
- The sport should not rely on any “luck” element specifically designed into the sport.
So based on this context my advice will be the same for the above mentioned sports, as they are in the beginning phase of marketing, and therefore need to have a strong basis.
What I mentioned before in another website article is that you NEED to start re-evaluating your internal organization. You simply need to have a strong internal organization, before you will make it out there in the sports marketing world. Does this mean that you cannot get any sponsors, if you just started your sport organization, or if you are internally not so strong yet?
No, of course you may have the luck of getting sponsors through a friend of a friend, or perhaps even based on a direct mailing. But I have my sincere doubts whether this sponsor will stay after they have become familiar with your sports organization.
My biggest advice to anyone is to give marketing time, and especially start asking yourselves some questions, like…
1. What do you stand for?
Every sport club should have a constitution or bylaws that stipulates why the organization exists. This ‘core activity’ should be your number one priority. You’re whole organization should know this and also agree on this. Stick to your core activity, and DO IT GOOD!
I am not talking about having the best trainers and facilities of the world, but more about a healthy environment where the fun is clearly visible. The training sessions should be planned structurally, and there should be a BACKUP for each person active in your organization. If the trainer gets sick, who will step in?
This seems so simple but is often overlooked. Looking at the examples above boxing was definitely not covering this part.
2. Create a community
Whether you are in an individual sports or not, the social aspects between the members are important. It is a fact that most of your members are active because they like the sport. BUT THIS IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE.
Some of your members are simply there because their friends are. Others because they want to identify themselves with the specific group participating in your sport.
So think of ways how your members and athletes can identify themselves as being part of the community. You can have your members write and publish a newsletter, or you can have a Facebook fan page only for your members. With the creation of a community you realize having a common goal, which goes further than just training together. Your members feel at home in your sports organization, and in the long run sponsors will aim to also be part of your community.
3. Communicate what you are doing
There are so many volunteers working their tales of, but outsiders just don’t know what they are doing. Without being cocky about it, you should communicate constantly what you are doing as a sport organization, and whether you are making small successes. This communication should be towards your (internal) members but also to (external) stakeholders. The newsletter mentioned before is an excellent tool for this, but don’t forget to send press releases at least once every 3 months. Email messages and sms text messages also are a frequent used way for communication.
4. What image do you have?
Have you ever thought about what image your sports organization has? How does the ‘outside world’ perceive your organization?
This is very important, as potential sponsors also see you this way. The best way to analyze this is to do a short survey once a year. Any student can do this for you, where he/she makes a short list with questions, and then approaches people (of course non-members).
You should make a strategy based on this survey, in order to either improve your image, or perhaps do some promotion so that people know of your existence.
And if you are part of a fighting sport/ martial arts, you already know that you need to take away the prejudice of your sport being aggressive.
In the same scope as building your image, you can use diversification to get some attention. This means that you are actively looking for a group of new members. You could organize special training sessions for girls, deaf athletes, prisoners or perhaps even elderly people.
Yes, this takes extra time, but you will have different advantages. One of them is having more members, and supposedly more income from contribution. With these kinds of projects it will be easier to get press coverage, which then has a direct influence on your image building.
5. You’re colleagues are your competition!
Remember that whenever you approach a company, there are x other sport organizations who probably also approached them for sponsorship. So that means that your proposal has to compete with the ones of table tennis, archery or badminton. The one who has a combination of a clear core activity, a tight community, communication, a positive image and a diversified group of members will win!
These 5 tips are only the start and I am sure that many sport organizations are already doing this. But are they doing this strategically, planned and are they making conscious decisions?
What kind of tips do you have for sport organizations who want to make their first steps towards sports marketing? You can leave them in the comment box under this article.
The main goal for many small sport organizations is to attract sponsors. The costs of the different annual events can then be covered, and the athletes are able to train, compete and have fun !
In a previous article I wrote already about the sales process of sponsorships, which I broke down in the following phases:
- INITIAL CONTACT
- SALES PRESENTATION
- HANDLING OBJECTIONS
- CLOSING THE SALE
- FOLLOW UP
So let’s say that you are looking for sponsors and you have already made a list of prospects. You can make this list in different ways, but I would suggest to do at least the following exercises:
I Analyze the people who currently are involved in your sports organization. They may be a parent, athlete, board member or official. Do you know where they work or what kind of job their spouse has? It is the easiest way to get an initial contact with a sponsor through a personal connection, so knowing your people is very valuable.
II The second exercise is to simply pickup the yellow pages and start writing at least 3 companies per category to target. That means you should write down the names of 3 banks, 3 insurance companies, 3 car rentals etcetera. Make sure that these all are local companies and start exploring their websites. Do they mention any social commitment or projects? If they already are a sponsor in sports, you could consider scratching them from the list. But don’t do this too quick. It is better to send too many sponsorship letters than not enough!
Be creative with prospecting! You already know that everybody is targeting the Banks, Airlines, the Telecommunication and Internet companies, the Oil and Insurance companies. So why not target a funeral agency with the slogan “Think outside the box”, a pension fund, a private hospital or a towing company. There are two advantages to this.
- These type of companies are not getting so many sponsorship letters as the other companies. Your initial contact will therefore stand out, and they will truly consider your approach
- They will probably not sponsor any other sports organization. So if you present your program professionally, you’ll have more chance to succeed.
Now the next advice is one that is really important. NEVER, NEVER, EVER let your sponsorship letter be the first thing that the prospect sees/notices of you. In other words; Prior to sending your letter, you need to approach the prospect first in other ways.
This is based on the old marketing principle: “The rule of seven”.
It says that a prospect needs to see or hear from you at least seven times before they take action and buy from you. That’s why you need to start by approaching your prospects from different angles, and in different ways, before you send your letter. You could try these seven ways.
- Make a friendly comment (no sales approach!) on the website or facebook page of the prospect.
- Drop your newsletter consistently in their mailbox (you do have a newsletter right?!!)
- Send an email inviting them to come and see a game/match
- Write a press release about your preparations towards getting sponsors
- Ask a radio program for an interview and mention the different categories you are going to approach (don’t mention the specific companynames!)
- Try to meet employees in an recreational event, like a reception, a trade show or perhaps a fair. Your goal should be to get some tips on how to approach the decision maker, and if he/she already has a personal interest in a specific sport (you already know who’s the boss, right ?!!)
- Send your letter
One of the cons of this rule of seven, is that it takes lots of time and coordination. On the other hand, ask yourself…how many other sport organizations are doing this? None of these 7 steps cost you any money, so I am sure that if you do this in a team you should be able to work this out.
Your letter needs to have some specific content, in a specific sequence. I will elaborate on that in another article.
Now tell me, did I miss something, or did I make it too complicated? Leave your experiences and ideas in the comment box.
How To Find Sponsors For Small Sport Organizations
Let’s face it, as sport administrators of small Sport Organizations we are in constant search for sponsorships.
There are lots of companies and individuals out there who are willing to spend their money on sponsorship in sports and no doubt some sports get more sponsorship than others. But how do you position yourself so that you are able to attract the right kind of sponsors who have the money and services you are looking for? Here are some things that you can do that will help you be visible and attractive to companies who are willing to spend their money to see you succeed.
Win as much as you can
Its hard to convince anyone to sponsor a team that is on a losing streak. Many people will feel that they are betting with an extremely high level of risk they will give you their money, but there are high chances that you will continue doing poorly. With whatever resources you have right now, start practicing like crazy. It helps the team to know that they are out to attract sponsors and the best will want to see them winning so that they can feel that they are supporting a worthy sports organization. This may be hard when you are just starting out and have very little to work with. Start off with the minimum necessary to make you a success and then build on it from there.
Have a strategy
What do you plan to do with your sponsorship funds when you receive them? Even in large sports organizations that are known for doing well in sports, sponsors want to see a kind of plan for how their money will be spent. It also makes it easy for you to negotiate for the amount that you want. It is prudent that after you get the sponsorship, you keep your sponsors informed on progress. They will most likely not want a weekly report or a monthly one, but one every 3 months will do for most organizations.
Make yourself visible through media
Its hard to convince someone who has never heard of you to sponsor your organization. Small sports organizations need to remain visible through the media that will best reach their sponsors. It may be hard to use TV and newspapers which require large capital outlays, but affordable media on the internet, if well thought out, can give you the visibility that you need. Start with free publicity and send press articles at least once every month. You won’t get full coverage, but as long as your story gets to the media, you are making progress.
Be careful on the salaries
If sponsorship funds will be used to pay salaries, you need to be modest about how much you will pay the professional (like a coach or manager). Exorbitant salaries are one thing that all sponsors look at they would rather that their money was spent on improving sports performance than huge salaries. My advice is to never let a sponsor pay for the full amount, but divide these kind of costs over several sponsors.
Look in the mirror !
No sponsor wants to walk into a sports organization and find that they have issues that are unresolved. Whether you are talking about employees, volunteers or finances, all these things need to look neat and tidy to a sponsor. It shows that you are running a good organization and that you are responsible. It can be tempting to hide some of these issues when you are negotiating but remember that if they are ever revealed (and they will!), you will have lost the faith of that particular sponsor and the word may spread reducing your sponsor pool.
So the most important aspect is that you need to look in the mirror, and ask yourself if YOU would sponsor such an organization. What are the weakest points of your organization? What image does your organization have in your community? Do you have an aggressive fanbase?
You need to deal with these negative points first, and then approach potential sponsors.
Once you get sponsors on board, do not relax if you want to continue getting sponsor support in the future. Your sports organization must continue to perform and well too so that sponsors will feel confident giving you money in future.
There is lot’s of information unsaid with this article. You are free to leave any suggestions in the commentbox
Why Sports Sponsorship is better than Advertising
Sponsorship and advertising are both marketing tools that strategically apply to different situations. There are however usual times when a company is faced with choosing between both tools. These times usually are a point of exposure as to which tool can give more and help increase a brand’s visibility. This arena is where sponsorship takes over, and where you as sports manager should be stepping in.
What sponsorship accomplishes better than advertising is in the establishment of qualitative aspects. These aspects include brand image towards consumers, generating awareness, and consumer’s choice of such brand. On these aspects, sponsorship has much more influence than advertising.
There are other points that make sponsorship a winner and that are not available through advertising. The first of which is having a live audience for product and brand circulation. Sports Sponsorship provides opportunities for on-site sales and sampling, customer feedback, surveying, sales-force interaction and product testing – all of which involve the participation of an audience. Through live product presentations, the exposure is greater and the promotion of brand and product names is at a rapid pace.
When we compare sponsorship and advertising, one mode to look into is how interaction is done. With advertising, interaction is one-way and generally a monologue. On the other hand, sponsorship is more like a dialogue where the opportunity of a company to have live exchange with its target customers is highly practiced.
As with interaction, product sampling is another plus to sponsorship. Sport events that are sponsored allow people to have on site trials on products. This way, awareness of a certain brand name or service is heightened. Examples on-site trials include food sampling, test driving, official clothes worn in the event, etc.
With sponsorship, an organization’s name becomes associated into a sponsored event’s actions unlike that of advertising. This means that sponsorship is able to surpass the medium of media and place itself in the environment where everyone can see it, For example, when sponsorship is incorporated during competitions; the audience has no escape in seeing the brand or logo being promoted because it is part of the competition (on the car, uniform or scoreboard). They can’t just eliminate the sponsorship like changing a channel on TV; they have to sit through the whole competition and take in everything that comes with it.
Lastly, sponsorship provides entertainment to its potential client. How? This is done through the events that are sponsored. When the word ‘event’ comes to mind, it is always a happening that does not come every day. It is a break from the everyday routine that (potential) clients have and that draws special attention. With advertising, nothing is disrupted from normal life. Everyone is accustomed to see bill boards, ad placements and commercials on the television.
With sponsored sports events, the setting is different and the aim is to provide an avenue for people to interact with the business through a social activity. Events also make great places to have informal sales and networking; and with the chosen venue, which is most often a hospitable one, the event becomes desirable and unique to lounge in.
So be sure to mention these advantages of sponsorship during your next conversation with a potential sponsor!