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Finding a sponsor is a very effective way of funding your Society activities, and many organisations will consider a sponsorship relationship to be something with mutual benefit. The opportunity to find a sponsor (or sponsors!) is largely limited only by your imagination and creativity - so long as the terms of your arrangement are within the law, within what SU By-Laws and policy allow, and do not set out unreasonable expectations.
Sponsorship is a partnership, consider what can be offered both ways and who you may have similar interest and goals with. Departments at the University may also want to offer you sponsorship. Think about the aspect of the business that is going to benefit most from involvement with your Society:
Approaching companies that have something in common with your society will give you a better chance of obtaining sponsorship
Graduate recruiters like getting involved in Students' Unions as it puts them in contact with potential employees
Inside contacts within companies are often a good way to achieve sponsorship so ask your members if they know anyone who may be willing to sponsor you
Local companies are often very interested in sponsoring local students as it helps them to get their name to as many people as possible
You need to be able to demonstrate the benefits to the company of sponsoring your society. This will depend on the nature of your society and what aspect of it is being sponsored:
The company name and logo on all society merchandise, clothing, kit and/or equipment
A section on your website or a link from your homepage
The company name and logo featured on all emails sent out, as well as letters and any other publications (including publicity material) produced
The opportunity to come to run a presentation evening for your members
(Always make sure you factor in what it costs you to offer your sponsorship. If, for example, you offer a logo on the sleeve of your hoodies make sure the sponsorship covers the print costs).
Potential sponsors will be keen to know what you're going to do with their money or support, and how it's going to help your club or society achieve its goals. Some ideas are:
Improving or purchasing equipment that is available for all members to use
Reducing the amount that members have to spend, for example on clothing or publicity
Helping you achieve greater success through improved facilities and equipment
Offering more opportunities for people, go on tour, take part in events, or generally get involved
Giving you the chance to run your own event or tournament
Remember, you need to ensure you stick to your obligations that you state in your sponsorship contract. If you don’t, companies can request their funds to be sent back. Long-term relationships can be formed though sponsorship, that can open up many graduate opportunities or employment prospects.
You can attend events such as careers fairs or approach companies and create a sponsorship pack to show them what you have to offer. Start as soon as you can! Allow plenty of time and approach companies early enough to have sponsorship in place before you want to start your activities! This way you can plan ahead and ensure your activities can be supported with the sponsorship secured.
Your proposal is the first impression that the Sponsor will have of your Society, therefore you need to ensure that you show all of the best aspects of your Society, and sell yourself. There are two main things that will essentially form the core of your proposal - what the sponsor can do for you and what you can do for the sponsor. A good proposal should be:
Short & sweet - if your proposal is more than 2 sides it is too long.
Well presented - spending a little bit of time to make sure your proposal is easy on the eyes won't hurt - images aren't a necessity but can be useful giving your society an identity and really getting them to understand the promotional opportunities.
Innovative - try to make your proposal stand out, think about what you can offer that no-one else can. From a sponsor's point of view, if you can make your proposal stand out then they'll be thinking what you can do for their brand.
Once you have finalised your proposal pack, this can be sent to sponsors. The next step is securing a sponsor and creating a contract. This sets out the terms of the sponsorship as a Sponsorship Agreement (see a template for use here).
When you are drafting your contracts, you should make sure the following:
Ensure that the terms of the contract match that of the proposal and/or anything else you have agreed with the sponsor.
Check whether or not the contract stipulates exclusivity - if you are looking to get multiple sponsors for an event make sure you have made the sponsor aware there will be other sponsors.
Check whether or not the company will provide you with banners/flyers/posters for you to display or distribute, or whether you have to produce them at your own expense.
Make sure there's a specified payment date! Otherwise it will be much more difficult to chase payment if you do not receive it.
Make sure you do not offer services you cannot honour. For example, the Union has costs for external companies for venue hire. You will not be able to get around this to offer them to your sponsors at club and society rates!
Don't offer sponsorship on a commission basis, this can count as trading as can't be approved
Think how long you want your sponsorship contract to take place for. It may be termly goals, one event during in an academic year or a promotion every term. Never commit to more than one academic year in one go, we cannot approve anything longer than this period. Send your proposed contract in and we will let you know if there are any adjustments that need to be made, or if it can be processed. Lastly DO NOT sign any contracts yourself, the SU needs to approve all contracts.
Once you have agreed on a sponsorship with the company, please email it to the Sports/Society Coordinator. Once approved, please submit a Sales Invoice to your coordinator. The SU's Finance team will invoice your sponsor and the funds will be credited to your Club/Society account once the company has paid, which is usually within 30 days.
Societies can have a platform on channels such as youtube if approved with your Coordinator. Activity can be carried out but if a profit begins to be made the Student Activities team need to be made aware of this, and it will need to be monitored.