Checklist: getting started with sponsorship

Sponsorship may allow you to attract new customers or increase your turnover. For example, you sponsor a football club in exchange for a large advertisement at an important match. But if your target group is not interested in sports, this advertisement will not give you the results you want. The checklist tells you what else to look out for.

What is sponsorship? 

With sponsorship, you invest money or other resources in a project, programme or person. Think of providing clothes for a local fashion show, paying the venue hire of a regional debate club or letting your staff work at a national arts event. The party you sponsor always does something in return, because without quid pro quo it is a donation. A quid pro quo is, for example, visibility of your business through an advertisement or social media post, or your logo on work clothes.

Getting started with sponsoring 

Make sure you know what sponsorship entails before you start. You are prepared if you can tick off all the points in the checklist:

1. I have funds for sponsoring 

Being a sponsor costs money. Decide how much you want to spend on sponsorship. Also consider whether you want to do this once, or for a longer period, for example, a quarter or a year.

2. I have time for sponsoring 

Effective sponsorship takes time. Together with the sponsored party, you have to think up and organise the sponsorship. How much time you spend depends on the agreements you make, for example: do you provide advertising material yourself, or does the sponsored party arrange this? Determine how much time you have available for sponsorship per month or per year, for example.

3. I know what my sponsorship goal is 

The most common sponsorship goals are to attract new customers or increase turnover. Do you want to increase brand awareness among a specific target group, strengthen your image or increase customer loyalty? Then use sponsoring as part of your marketing communication strategy. You will enlarge your business network. Make your sponsorship goal as concrete as possible, for example: I want to acquire 100 new customers in six months through sponsorship. Sponsoring local or good causes also contributes to corporate social responsibility (CSR).

4. I know where my target audience is 

To achieve your sponsorship goal, you need to know where your target audience is. Is your target audience at the local football club on Saturday, on the website of the regional news site or at a national cultural event? If you are present in the right places, you become more visible to your target group, which in turn is good for your turnover. Find out where your target audience is in 5 steps.

5. The sponsorship goal aligns with my vision and mission  

Make sure the sponsorship goal fits your business's vision and mission. Do you sell sustainable clothing? Then sponsor an event on sustainable fashion rather than mass production. If you own a toy shop, then sponsoring youth activities is a better fit than, say, an event for students.

6. All agreements are in a sponsorship contract 

In a sponsorship contract, you and the sponsored party lay down agreements.

Consider agreements on: 

  • In return, such as your company name in social media posts or your company logo in a theatre company's programme booklet.
  • Cost of sponsorship and any advertising material.
  • Results, such as the number of visitors to your website or the number of purchases after a sponsored event.
  • Duration of the cooperation period, e.g. a quarter or a year.
  • Task allocation, such as designing, printing or hanging advertising material.
  • The start and end date of the sponsorship.

7. I keep track of the results in between 

Schedule review moments and discuss the results of performance. Do you aim to acquire 100 new customers within six months? Then after three months, measure whether you have brought in at least 50 new customers through the sponsored party. Is this not the case? Then make adjustments. Discuss what possibilities there are to still achieve the goal, such as sending a newsletter for more visibility.

Champagne at the football club

Theo Vrolijk, along with 5 friends, owns Brut & Bubbles. He provides champagne presentations and tastings. Brut & Bubbles grew out of a group of friends who first met on the football pitch 40 years ago. So it suited them to take out a sponsorship deal with their old football club. The football club placed a Brut & Bubbles billboard along the main pitch.

Vrolijk explains, "In return, we pour our champagne at every club's New Year's reception, organise regular champagne tastings and supply champagne at championships of selection teams. The sponsorship has given us new customers."

Business sponsorship deductible 

If you sponsor as an entrepreneur in exchange for publicity, you can deduct the sponsorship costs 100% from your tax. Sponsorship then takes place from a business point of view. In doing so, you also include VAT as input tax in your turnover tax return. The sponsored party issues an invoice to your business and VAT is levied on these sponsor contributions. 

Want to know more about marketing and growth issues? Check out other articles on marketing and growth on this overview page.