Last month we took an in depth look at how one goes about securing a money paying sponsor for your race team. Hopefully you were able to take that article and turn it into some real dollars for the season. Now that you have the sponsor, the real work begins.
Hopefully you have a contract/agreement that outlines the sponsorship package and who does what. The contract/agreement should also outline the payment arrangement. When you are involved with a sponsor that is paying serious money, all the money is not going to be paid up front. Remember, this payment structure should be manageable for both the team and the sponsor. And hopefully you have made sure that the money you receive is enough to fund the entire season, unless, of course, some other length of contract has been agreed on.
Make sure that everyone involved knows who is responsible for making things happen in regard to the sponsorship. This brings up the all-important communication question. Communication is an important part of sponsorship success, so make sure everyone involved is aware of what is being done and when it is supposed to be completed. Identify a key contact person for the race team and, ideally, the sponsor should have a key contact person as well. It will make for far fewer mistakes and fewer headaches.
Despite the many forms of communications that are available these days, real communication seems to be a lost art. There is still nothing like picking up the phone and talking to someone directly or even writing a letter. When was the last time you wrote a letter? If you want to really stand out, when someone does something nice for you, such as a mention in an article, send a handwritten thank you note. It will get their attention and gain their respect. Little things like that are what make sponsorship programs work.
At least once a month the race team should be filing a report with the sponsor, making them aware of what has been done to assure that the sponsorship is a success. And the sponsor should be doing things on its end to activate the sponsorship. This is most often where sponsorship deals fail; there is no activation of the sponsorship.
All of the things you promised to do in your sponsorship proposal in order to obtain the financial support now must be done. There should be no broken promises. Often times this is when the race team finds that some of the things that it promised as part of the proposal probably can't be done. Hopefully you have budgeted part of the sponsorship money for marketing so that you are able to do all that was promised.
In this picture of Steve Casebolt's...
In this picture of Steve Casebolt's pit area you can not only see that he is selling T-shirts (look to the left of the hauler's door), but you can also see the black curtain masking the upper level has sponsor decals plastered all over it.
Since I don't know what is included in your contract/agreement and have no knowledge as to the sponsor's objectives, I am going to throw out some key things that I think you should be doing to help make certain that the sponsor will be happy and will want to continue.
It is time to announce the sponsorship. It is amazing to me how very few race teams create a news release announcing their sponsorship. The news release should be created so that it is a mix of the sponsorship announcement, plans for the season, information about the team, the driver, past successes, and so on. A news release that just talks about the sponsorship will have less chance of being used by the media than one that includes both the sponsorship announcement and real news.
There are many media outlets that will use your news release if it is written in a professional manner and sent to the right people. There are trade publications, local print media, Internet sites, and more. If you don't have a command of the English language, hire someone to create the news release.