Sponsorships can apply to every volleyball club, but In many cases, the organization lack the strategy to implement them. Here are some steps to get you started.

Define the Type of Sponsorships
There are two types of sponsorships that your club can seek:

  • Club Sponsorship: A club sponsorship is about visibility in the community and at events.  Clubs can do a lot to raise their profile in the community through charity, social media and competing in local events. Building relationships in the community, schools and recreation departments is a great step toward creating opportunities for sponsorships.

  • Event Sponsorship: Not all clubs run big events, but many at least run some smaller tournaments or in-house leagues. A club does not need to be large to run events. Make sure you have information to provide a potential event sponsor, such as event dates, location, number of teams and number of spectators). If this is a new event, you will need to estimate, but don’t overestimate. If this is a reoccurring event, use your analytics from last year. 

Encourage your staff and coaches to share their connections with you. Your coaches and staff can be your most valuable resource when seeking sponsorships.

Establish the Type of Sponsor

  1. Local Business: This type of sponsor is likely looking for more foot traffic and new local clientele for their business. If you host an event, offer this sponsor a booth to display information and offer a contest or give-aways.
  2. National/Regional Level Sponsor: This type of sponsor is typically looking for an association with the club, visibility on marketing material, the club website,  newsletters, etc. Provide the sponsor with the size of your mailing lists so they know how many readers and followers will be seeing their logo, and the potential number of direct clicks to the sponsor’s website. If the sponsor will have branding on your teams’ uniforms or club name, let the sponsor know how many tournaments your teams will attend, the size of those tournaments, where your club name and uniform will appear, and how frequently it will appear.

Negotiate a Sponsorship
Regardless or whether it is a club sponsor or event sponsor, or both, there are two ways for your club to negotiate a sponsorship.

  1. Direct Sponsorship: the sponsor pays money to have its’ name associated with the event or club.

    Here’s a recommendation of how much direct sponsorship dollars your club can strive for based on your size:

    120 Athletes / 10 Teams: $10,000 worth of sponsorship 

    240 Athletes / 20 Teams: $25,000 worth of sponsorship 

    360 Athletes / 30 Teams: $50,000 worth of sponsorship

    480 Athletes / 40 Teams: $75,000 worth of sponsorship  

  2. In-Kind Sponsorship: the sponsor absorbs certain expenses that the club would be incurring. For example, a local restaurant could offer complimentary meals to the coaches or staff or catering at events. A hotel can offer free hotel rooms to entice clubs to send their teams to your event.

When presenting to sponsors, it is about understanding what is good for each side.

Define the Sponsorship
Once you decide what kind of sponsorships to establish and seek, the next steps is to clearly define two elements: 

  1. Win-Win: Define what each party will gain/receive.
  2. Quid Pro Quo: Define what each party will provide or do for the other.  In other terms, define the action items. 

    It is recommended to negotiate all sponsorships for at least one year.  This gives you time to make it work on both sides.  Many clubs make the mistake of creating a sponsorship only around the club season.  A year gives you time to show and gain value in the offseason, as well as during the season.  Most businesses do not have a season; they are always trying to gain business, and get exposure.

    LinkedIn has become a primary mechanism for building relationships with current sponsors and potential sponsors.  Businesses use Linked as a marketing tool, and it can be a great networking resource for club directors and coaches.

    For related reading for club directors Click HERE. For more business education, visit the JVA Member Resources

    About the Author

    Phil Bush is a Sales, Marketing and Strategic Planning Consultant with MavRen Marketing in Atlanta, Georgia. Phil has been around and active in Sports and Events for over 25 years. Whether as a player Director, Coach, Tournament Director, Producer, or Commentator, Phil has been on all sides of sports for a long time. Bush served a Color Analyst for FSN South, Sun Sports, CSS, ESPNU, and other networks, lending his expertise to volleyball broadcasts of Southeastern Conference (SEC) Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Conference USA Volleyball. He has covered nearly every Top Program in the nation. He also spent many years working for the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) doing International Broadcasts of both Indoor and Beach Volleyball from over 19 countries around the world.

    Bush handled Event Production for Volleyball at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. This role was new to the Olympics, and involved coordinating and executing a plan to present the sport in the most positive way possible to the spectators in the live audience. Through the use of announcers, music, lights, effects, matrix boards and coordination of all those involved in the execution of the sport, Sports Production had never been formally done at the Olympics until 1996. Bush was the first Sports Producer hired by the Atlanta Organizing Committee, and helped define the role. The Production work was given rave reviews by the International Volleyball Federation, which declared that the Atlanta Olympics was the best ever in the presentation of the sport.

    Phil was one of the Founders of A5, a Volleyball Club catering to young players from age of 8 to 18. The Club grew rapidly in the Atlanta area to become one of the Premier Youth Sports organizations in Club Volleyball anywhere in United States. To contact Phil via email click here.