Before any sponsor is going to jump on board with your race, they're going to think about what they get in return. Is showing their logo on your shirt going to convert to business for them? Are your runners their target market? If the cost is $500, will they ever see $500 in sales from the sponsorship?
If you're approaching businesses to pitch your race for a sponsorship, you'll need to have answers to these questions, and position your pitch to address them from the start. There won't be a single sponsorship that's likely right for every sponsor. Before you contact a business, you need to know who you're pitching and what they're going to want from the sponsorship. If it's a small community event, then being part of your race to show community support may be enough. If it's a restaurant, they're going to want diners walking through their door. A sponsorship of a coupon in your race bag might be a good fit there. They can easily measure the return on their sponsorship, and it helps them accomplish their goal of more diners. Get creative and try to find or create a sponsorship for each business to help them accomplish their goals.
Offer Value & Show Appreciation
Similar to the above, be sure that you're offering real value to your sponsors with as much exposure as possible. Especially with a first-year race, many of the sponsors are likely going to be existing contacts who are sponsoring you, the race director, more than anything. Do everything you can to continually show support of your sponsors before, during, and after the race.
As you add race sponsors in your RaceDirector account, be sure to include the sponsor's logo and website. Each page on your race website will prominently display your sponsors' logos, while each registration confirmation email will also include these logos and links.
Did you secure a new race sponsorship? Great, post about it on Twitter and your race Facebook page with a link to your sponsor's website and/or Facebook/Twitter. What I tend to see each time I post about a new race sponsor is an uptick in new sponsorship requests. Other sponsors see the type of exposure they can receive and also want to be part of the race. Anything you can do to push your runners to do business with your sponsors will show that your goal is to provide value to not only your race participants, but also your sponsors.
Be sure that you get your sponsors any swag they’ve sponsored after the race, with a thank you. This will help them remember you for your next event.
RaceDirector Can Help Streamline Your Sponsorship Management
With RaceDirector, we try to make all aspects of race management a breeze, including race sponsorship. Manage your sponsors, show available opportunities on your free race website (see demo race sponsorship page), and even invoice sponsors with online credit card payments. When sponsors pay online, we don't even take a fee. Get your race online with RaceDirector and see how easy race registration and management can be.