Alright, so you’ve secured some race sponsors! (Or, if you haven’t, check out our blogs here and here to get started.) Your proposals are signed and you have a check in your hand, but your work as a race director is far from over. Think of sponsorships as a relationship: you wouldn’t have a great date with someone and then never call them again, would you? Treat your sponsors well and you’ll be on your way to skipping hand-in-hand through the meadow. Treat them poorly, however, and you’ll be left with an ex, talking trash to their friends and refusing to partner with you in the future.
The good news is that building and maintaining a relationship with your sponsors is easier than managing an actual relationship. But it still isn’t always obvious. Follow these tips to build, maintain, and keep the fire going in your sponsor relations.
Go Above & Beyond
Too many race directors focus on what sponsors give them and not enough on what they are giving their sponsor. They take the check, slap a logo on a few things, and call it a day. But from start to finish, race directors and staff need to ensure that sponsors are getting their money’s worth. It doesn’t take a lot to give a little extra: distribute a press release announcing the partnership; have a ‘Sponsor Spotlight’ in your newsletter or social media; or give an extra shout-out at your race. It’s these little labors of love that will really show sponsors your appreciation.
Get Them Involved
You want your sponsors to develop an emotional connection to your event so that they can feel good about supporting it. So let them be a part of it! Send them your newsletters and invite them to take a behind-the-scenes tour on race day (you might not find it exciting, but outsiders could be amazed at your port-a-potty organization skills). Let them hand out awards or shoot the starting line gun. Consider offering free entry for a few of their staff and encourage them to volunteer for extra exposure. If there’s a chance they’ll need volunteers of their own in the future, offer to refer your volunteer base to them.
Say Thank You
You can’t do this enough! Once a company has agreed to sponsor, send them a thank you letter to express your excitement about the partnership and to review the sponsorship package they’ve chosen. After receiving their check, send another thank you! And, at the end of the event, say thank you again. Be sure to personalize each thank you; you can even make it one to remember by incorporating runners’ stories or sending a few leftover t-shirts as souvenirs.
Ride the Momentum
Use the post-event hubbub to your advantage. Create a one-page recap of your event highlighting the number of participants, the amount of money raised, the exposure generated for sponsors through media placements, social media impressions, etc., and of course, the experience itself! Showing off the success of your event can be a great selling point, so send this – along with sponsorship levels – to both current and potential sponsors. Perhaps you can sign them onto your next event right then and there! You can even offer multi-event sponsorship levels to lock down lasting partnerships.
Remember that sponsorships are about more than just funding: when done right, race directors can create meaningful relationships between their company, their sponsors, and their participants, ultimately strengthening their events as a whole.
So there you have it, our advice from the ChronoTrack love gurus. Follow these tips and you and your sponsors will be on your way to a fruitful future!
To learn more about ChronoTrack, contact us.