Artist or athlete, film director or photographer, sponsorship could help you on the path to success. You would become associated with the sponsoring company in return for money or in some cases free clothes, equipment or other means of compensation, such as travel expenses.
However, like finding funding, it is a highly competitive business. The sponsor’s ultimate goal is not to help you, but to receive a good return on their investment. They therefore expect a lot from the individual/organisation they are sponsoring, including brand awareness, distinguishing their product from the competition, promoting their products etc.
In order to get sponsorship, you need to sell yourself according to the marketing needs of the companies you approach. You must be able to offer a company exposure to a relevant audience.
There are two ways to go about finding a sponsor, the first being attracting sponsors by maintaining high visibility in your field. For example, as an artist you could enter as many exhibitions as possible to raise your profile. However, you would have to be extremely talented and also lucky for this to work. The alternate method is more likely to be successful: namely seeking out sponsors yourself.
Make sure you do your research before approaching companies for sponsorship. Perhaps friends, family and current employers could help with potential contacts. It may be an idea to start locally; for example if you’re into dancing you could approach a local dance studio and offer to wear some of their advertisement when you dance in competitions.
Here are some useful websites to help you find and apply to companies which will suit your needs:
- UKsponsorship.com (http://www.uksponsorship.com/)
Lists potential sponsors for a wide range of interests, such as Art, sport, Media and Education.
- Hookit.com (http://www.hookit.com/) (US)
A sports sponsorship site where you can create an online profile and apply to companies on the site’s own list.