Acquiring Sponsorships (Response from Frans Passchier)

Posted on October 14th, 2011 by Mark "Spike" Liu
This is a guest post by Frans Passchier from Windmill Windup.
After every TD Tuesdays post, if you send an insightful response to, it will get posted on this blog for all to see.

Hi there Adam,
Thanks for writing an article on sponsorship, I just learned a number of things that I could do to increase the value of our sponsorships. I’m the TD of the Windmill Windup in Amsterdam and we have experienced a similar growth over the past 7 years (hosting 1400 players from all over Europe in 2011). We’ve learned most by trial and error and managed to build  a solid core of loyal sponsors.
I’d like to add some of our own experiences and tips for others to take notice of. Hope it helps:
Go through the list of current suppliers and see what you can get from them.
A few advantages:
  1. No need for introduction,  you’re already acquainted and hopefully you’ve established a good rapport with your vendor.
  2. Vendors and suppliers want to keep you as a customer and are willing to take less profit if this will guarantee a continuation of the partnership.
You may also offer longer term deals, start with 2/3 year as this will provide continuation for both parties and it will save some energy to go through negotiations every year

What to ask? Could be anything as long it is of value to your event. Products, discounts, samples, sponsor money etc.. I always ask for discounts to anyone, surprising to see how many times you can get one. Don’t be shy or afraid you look gready, it’s quite ok to drive a hard bargain as long as you keep the relationship intact.
Ask for a bid (in which you ask for sponsor value as well)

For instance, we have Bavaria as one of our sponsors which is the second biggest brewery in Holland (trailing Heineken obviously). Once we realized that our beer sales were substantial (around 3.500 liters) we have asked a couple of beer companies to make a bid for the exclusive sales. This resulted in a discount (10-15%), free use of all materials (worth around E 1500) and a value of E 1500 yearly.  So we got a total of 40% discount basically which saves us much money every year. And it was money that was up for grabs once you have a position with regards to beer sales. This would work too with smaller amounts although volume helps big time.
Another good idea is asking crew and people around you where they work and what the sponsor strategy of their organization is

We have added a major sponsor just because someone knew someone. Larger organizations especially have budgets for charity/projects they can spend on a yearly basis. If they like your event and your goals they might just give you some money. If you ask for money make sure though you have a great story and presentation.
Creating extra value to your partners/sponsors by offering a link to your green policy or charities

If you have a strategy towards CSR you can offer organizations to link them to it. We have done so with Lookfly and Bavaria as they have a great track record on green en clean production processes. This works both ways. You can offer value to (potential) sponsors AND you add value to your own operation by showing that you make an effort to reduce your carbon footprint/work ethically.
Hope this helps.
TD Windmill windup Amsterdam
(you must be logged in)