Getting your ideas, events, business venture and corporate projects sponsored in Nigeria by a major company can positively expose you and open you up to lots of bigger opportunities.
Corporate sponsorship is a mutual business proposition that offers something in exchange for a financial commitment from an organization.
In other words, to get sponsorship in Nigeria you need to give something in exchange to the brand that sponsors your project.
This article is designed to show you how to get corporate sponsorships from MTN, Coca-cola, UAC, Glo, Airtel, 9mobile, Banks, Chuvita or for an events, education, small business, festivals, nonprofit, youth sports, book launching, radio program, movie, drama presentation, to study abroad etc.
Sponsors don’t necessarily have to share your passion for a cause in order to support you. They just need to be able to see the implied commercial benefit. Some people think that their business is too small and that sponsorship is for “big” companies. How Do You Even Get Started with Pursuing Sponsorship?
Read: 10 Ways to Raise Funds to Start Business in Nigeria instead of looking for sponsorship
How to get corporate sponsorship in Nigeria
1. Know how sponsorships work
Before you start your sponsorship hunt, don’t go uncooked. Make sure you know a thing or two about how sponsorships work generally. The more you know, the smoother your journey. You could read a book or two (mostly eBooks).
You can also talk to people you know who had already gotten sponsorship for their project. And be open to suggestions as they come.
2. Understand your brand and source for companies that sponsor such brand
Do your best to gain sponsorship from companies, organizations or brands that seem a natural fit for your project or business. This will give you an edge.
- If you’re planning to host a fashion show; consider working with major fashion brands in the country like say; House of Tara, and entertainment companies like; Pulse Nigeria
- If your event has an athletic tone to it, you could work with major multinationals like; Nestle, Adidas, Nike, Coca Cola, MTN, Glo, Airtel etc.
- If you’re planning to host a music event, then local radio stations and media houses are great
- For an event that has to do with education; you should look to oil companies and other corporate organizations like banks. And even your state government
- If the event is about food; consider major stakeholders in the industry, such as; Nestle, Dangote, Dufil Prima, etc.
3. Make a list of your prospective sponsors
Next, make a list of potential sponsors; these are the people/organizations that are most likely to sponsor your cause. Making a list is important, because you don’t want to go asking just every company to sponsor you.
This should include companies that have sponsored ideas which are similar to yours. It is way better to get one or two major sponsorships in place, instead of lots of smaller ones.
4. Research the companies or prospective sponsors
Once you create a list of your potential sponsors, you want to run through on their backgrounds to actually determine their peculiar needs. Having the background information about your prospects will certainly go a long way in helping you land into the sponsorship you’re seeking for. By this I mean; for instance, if your customers are single dads: find reasons how this demographic could benefit your prospects to sponsor you.
5. Plan ahead
Some sponsorship take too long to be access, so you need to plan ahead so that you wouldn’t be take unaware by your sponsors. Make sure you get things right once and for all. Start planning on time. Most especially if there’s a big brand in your list; you should know that these guys are busy and probably have a hundred other sponsorship proposals lying around at their desks. Bottom line is, be proactive.
You can of think ‘strategies’ to adopt when writing your sponsorship proposal because your prospects have loads of sponsorship offers they’re working on — and others they wouldn’t touch. Typically, your sponsorship proposal should come in four parts.
- An executive summary
- Description of sponsorship
- A call to action; and
- Your offer.
The executive summary: This is a 250-300 word section that should describe what the sponsorship us to be used for, your reason for seeking sponsorship and also what they stand to gain from the sponsorship. It needs to explain what your business/project is about and what it stands for; how it impacts people.
Be sure that your potential sponsors understand why the sponsorship is important to you. Write an individualized note which will demonstrate to your prospects that you actually took out time to study them. When you do this, it gives them the confidence that you will hold up your agreements with them throughout your sponsorship partnership with them.
Note: Include a ‘thank you’ note. Adopting a friendly and professional tone in writing, to show them your level of seriousness and professionalism
Description of sponsorship: Clearly state what you hope to acquire from the sponsors. Breakdown your sponsorship needs into different levels which potential sponsors may commit to, explaining what the peculiarities of each level and what you need, and why you want sponsorship for each of these levels.
Fully explain to your prospects what they stand to gain by sponsoring you. The idea here is to get them to buying into your idea for a sponsorship partnership. You can easily do this using your knowledge of their business model, their company culture, audience and goals.
This sponsorship isn’t really about your business/project; the companies you want sponsorship from will like to know what’s in it for them.
So ensure that you include a detailed analysis of your audience and demographics, also discussing your reach, and how the sponsorship will help your prospects reach their target audience; this makes sense only when you share a common audience of course.
A call to action: Make sure that you include a call to action in your sponsorship proposal. This could be presented such that they’re required to fill out a form (indicating they agree) to send to you to indicate that they’re ready to set up a sponsorship partnership with you.
It is important that you prepare the proposal in such a way that the sponsor has a specific task to fulfill in order to move the process forward; and the perfect way to do this would be to include a call to action.
The easier it is for them to complete the task you’re writing, the more likely it is that they’ll say yes.
Your offer: When writing out your sponsorship proposal, please do not tell tales; get straight to the point; if you want business? Ask for it. That’s it!.
You’re writing to entrepreneurs, finance professionals, marketers, and business people; not academics. So, you have to cut to the chase. Make your points, spell out the business advantages for your prospects, and end it quickly.
7. Send out your proposals
Now that you’ve prepared your sponsorship proposals, you need to start forwarding them to your prospects. Even when it makes sense to send them to every prospect on your list; still you need to be judicious when sending out your sponsorship proposals.
Crosscheck your list, to narrow down your list of prospects.
Start forwarding to the companies you honestly believes will work with your venture (based on your research)
- Ensure that you personalize every single email, proposal and correspondence you send out.
- Ask for your worth. So Many people make the mistake of not asking for enough money in sponsorships. Bear in mind that while you may be the recipient of the sponsorship; you are actually offering those sponsors value and direct access to the customers they seek to reach. Leverage your connection to a demographic your sponsors want to access, and charge accordingly. Don’t ask for N100,000 from a company that has the capacity to give N1,000,000.
8. Follow up
So you’ve prepared and sent out the sponsorship proposals to your prospective sponsors. Even at this stage, you still have power to decide your fate, if after some days you still don’t get any feedback.
Get on the phone and ask them if they have received your request.
Find out if they have any questions. Make sure that they know where and how to meet you as soon as they reach any decisions.
So many people lose sponsorship deals because they fail to follow up.
So if after a few days of forwarding your sponsorship proposals you don’t hear anything from your prospects, pick up your phone and reach out.
9. Building a great relationship
Sponsorships come in many different forms, including;
- Sponsored posts on your blog
- Sponsored ads on your website
- Product reviews
- Giveaways of their products to your audience
You could also let your sponsors come up with packages which offer these activities.
You want to work on building a budding relationship with your sponsors.
It is erroneous to think that once you receive the cheque, your job is done. Quote on the contrary; this is the perfect avenue to foster a long-term relationship with your sponsors. You need to be in regular contact, and be quick to give thanks as due. Make sure that you uphold your own end of the sponsorship; keep your sponsors happy.
Happy sponsors, happy you — that’s my line
As you work on building this relationship, it’s in your best interest to work with them and come up with interesting ways to engage them optimally.
10. Customize your relationships
If you have a sponsor that contributes N2,000,000 to your venture, how differently will you treat that sponsor to the one that contributes N500,000?
It’s really important that you understand how to sway the dynamics of your relationship with different sponsors. The difference should be conspicuous, from the special perks you offer, to the publicity, to the way you talk with them on phone, to the way you talk about them on social media. The difference should be clear and very obvious.
Companies that sponsor events/education in Nigeria
Companies that sponsor events/projects/education in Nigeria include:
- British Council
- Nigerian Breweries
- British Tobacco Nigeria Ltd
- Nestle Nigeria
- Dufil Prima
- EU, UNODC – sponsors movie on drug abuse in Nigeria
- Coca cola
- MTN Nigeria
- Airtel Nigeria
- And others
In conclusion, Sponsorships isn’t just about your needs, it’s also about the sponsors. As hungry as you may be for this partnership; make sure you work to maintain harmony and balance. It won’t work if the relationship is lopsided. Corporations, companies and organizations must market; sell, build brand loyalty and cultivate long term repeat customers. The bottom line is if you can offer an opportunity for a corporation to positively influence their ideal customer or advance their marketing objectives, there is an opportunity for you to get sponsored.