4 Terrible Reasons to Avoid Sponsorships

street-marathon-1149220_960_720Have you wanted to find sponsors for your event but just never got around to it? Race directors are often pulled in different directions, so adding one more thing to their plates like sponsorships may seem like a daunting task.


Sponsorships do more than provide extra revenue for your race. They also help add credibility to your race and, with in-kind contributions, provide cash relief.


So why wouldn’t race directors want to pursue sponsors for their races? We found four of the top “excuses” that we’ve heard and why they’re just that – excuses!


“I don’t have time to find sponsorships.”


No one is going to argue that a race manager’s job is never done (even long after a race is over). You wear many hats and are constantly on the go. So who has time to manage sponsorships?


The key to sponsorship solicitation is to be organized, have a goal in mind and be relentlessly committed to your efforts. Dedicate as little as 30 minutes each day for at least three weeks to the process. For the first few days, identify companies that you think would be a great sponsors for your event. Be sure to get all contact information in place in a spreadsheet or online project management system. For the next few days, focus on only calling and/or emailing your contacts. Then spend the next week or so following up. If you break up the process into bite-sized chunks of time, it will be much easier to get the sponsorship ball rolling.


“I’m not Sure I Have Anything to Offer Sponsors.”


Some races are small, but that doesn’t mean a sponsor wouldn’t benefit from your partnership.


A few benefits that you can offer a sponsor, no matter your size.
– Logo and link on website
– Logo on t-shirts
– Logo and link in every newsletter, possibly a feature article
– Dedicated social media shout-outs
– Collateral in race bags/packets
– Prominent signage around race
– Pre-race and post-race press release mentions (depending on level)
– Sponsored area signage/designation


The list goes on! Depending on the sponsorship level, feel free to choose just a few or all of these, and come up with your own, too.


“Solicitation is not My Thing.”


We get it – sales is not for everyone. If you liked it or even knew how to go about it, you probably wouldn’t be reading this!


One way to overcome this self-imposed objection is to change your mindset. Why is solicitation not your thing? Is it because you’re not good at sales? You hate asking for money? Identify what your challenge is and meet it head on. Read more articles on how to ask for sponsorships. If asking for money leaves a bad taste in your mouth, understand what you have to offer a sponsor, as we mentioned above, and let that be your guide.


Remember, too, that you don’t have to go at finding sponsorships alone. Challenge each member of your team to call on two or three companies they already know. Set a goal as a team and for each team member. Be sure to check in together weekly to determine what challenges you are all facing or to learn from others’ successes.


 “We Don’t Have a Cause for a Sponsor to Support.”


Everyone loves to support a good cause, so it may seem like the only reason why a company or organization would want to sponsor a race. With thousands of races each year benefiting one charity or another, it seems to only make sense! More races than you would think, however, have no connection to a nonprofit and are able to bring in tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in sponsorships each year.


The goal is to find the value that you can offer a sponsor for your particular race. Some examples include:

  • Exposure to a specific demographic – Connect with companies who want to get in front of your specific participants.
  • New hot race in town – Who doesn’t love to be a part of the event everyone is talking about?
  • Growing race – If you’re race is attracting more and more participants and spectators year after year, then invite sponsors to join you for the ride.


If you’re really strapped for time, resources and energy, then it may be a good option to hire someone to help you. The standard commission for sponsorship specialists falls between 15 to 20 percent of cash sponsorships and about half of that for in-kind sponsorships. This might sound like a lot, but 15 to 20 percent of a cash sponsorship is better than no sponsorships at all!