Professional sports are big business. In fact, according to a Forbes article, the professional sports industry in North America is projected to generate over $65 billion by 2017. That is a lot of potential resources for nonprofits to tap into. Here are three ways nonprofits can score a partnership with a professional sports team or athlete:
- Do Your Research
All professional sports teams have community relations and/or public relations departments, so research their missions and the programs they support. To partner with an individual athlete, research his/her interests, personal foundations, and charities. Don’t automatically go after the most popular player. Instead focus on an athlete that has a genuine interest in your specific nonprofit (e.g., cancer research). Remember, an authentic partnership will resonate more and yields far greater results. And the more you research, the greater your chances for success.
- Think Creatively
Instead of focusing solely on cash donations or player appearances, get creative and explore other options like getting exposure for your nonprofit during a game. At the WNBA’s Seattle Storm home games, the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) had representatives on the court during pre-game and a booth with staff that handed out information about their programming. Attendees saw the Storm being actively involved in their community and the WSF got wide-public exposure. It was a win-win for everyone involved.
- Keep Communicating
Once your request has been approved, continue to nurture your new partnership by communicating during every stage of the event. Afterwards, thank the athlete/organization for their support by sending a note with highlights from the event, the value their participation added (e.g., boost in ticket sales), and what goals were met. Good follow through reinforces to the athlete/organization that you are serious about your cause and they made the right decision partnering with you. Tell us in the comments how you’ve successfully partnered with a pro sports team or athlete.
Ready to score long-term partnerships to keep your events going? Start by setting up your next event on Events.com, then follow these steps above.