Main Content

Back to Blog List

The UPS Store Small Business Blog
  • 02 September 2022
  • Tiffany Carey

Leveraging Back to School: The Value of Community Sponsorships

In many ways, back to school also means back to business. With the summer season winding down, the fall months become a natural reset that brings reignited focus to finish the year strong. It’s a great time to connect with your neighborhood schools and institutions to explore new opportunities, including community sponsorships.

high school students host fundraising car wash

Are community sponsorships worth the price? 

The short answer is that community sponsorships are worth the investment if done correctly. Sponsorships can align your small business with like-minded brands and institutions. They have the power to produce high-quality leads and business growth.  For example, a local sandwich shop could choose to sponsor the annual local 10k race. Instead of just placing the deli logo on the event poster, the deli could also give out coupons to all runners. The sponsorship would provide exposure for the deli and the coupon would drive new customers to the business. It’s a win-win.

How do you find and select the best community sponsorship for your small business? 

To ensure the community event is right for you, first understand the event host’s mission and values. Affirm that they align with yours. Determine if your key audiences will care about what you support. You may even want to attend a meeting and establish a relationship to further explore the organization before inquiring about a sponsorship opportunity.

For small businesses, community partnerships are often the preferred way to go. Local charities and schools tend to have tighter event budgets and a higher need for sponsorship dollars, so they are more likely to give you a lot of bang for your buck. Check out your neighborhood website and calendar to find events like 5k races and community fairs, which are great opportunities to generate business over the long term. Track down your neighborhood youth soccer or baseball chapters and sponsor a team. You could see your business name on the back of team jerseys plus players, parents and their friends will support your business in return. Once you’ve decided which partnership(s) is best for your business to sponsor, contact the organization in charge to design a sponsorship that will resonate with your key audiences.

You can also engage with a more prominent charity or institution with a local chapter. Be mindful that events with national notoriety can bring in multiple sponsors and larger crowds. It’s not necessarily negative, but a long list of sponsors might also mean diminished exposure.

With any event sponsorship, you’ll want to start looking sooner rather than later. Consider the logistics such as time and place, the number of expected attendees, and the schedule. Depending on several things like popularity, size, timing, and budget, events can be planned up to 12 months in advance.

What sponsorship assets should you prepare to help in setting expectations?

Sponsorship assets are determined by many factors, including your financial commitment. You should generally look to receive a certain level of exposure for your small business and weigh the sponsorship cost against the assets you will receive. Opportunities might include receiving your company name on the event invitation, inclusion in all branding and marketing materials, and all social media posts. Exposure could also mean having your small business logo on event programs or pamphlets. If you’re sponsoring an event, ask if you can pass out materials to all attendees.

If there are many options to choose from or the options are not suitable to get your message across, be creative and ask questions. If an asset you would like is not initially included in the sponsorship package, simply ask the organizers if it’s possible to add it.

What are the key indicators of a successful sponsorship? 

Once your sponsorship kicks off, keep an eye on your social media accounts and website traffic. You may see spikes of activity when there’s press around an event you’re sponsoring. After the event, you may notice an increase in online traffic and customer inquiries. If you offered a discount code or special invitation as part of your sponsorship package, you may expect to see a boost in business. Supporting community partners builds your reputation as a small business that cares about its customers and is an integral part of the community.  

Expanding your customer base, increasing brand awareness, and aligning your small business with a positive purpose make community sponsorship valuable beyond measure. Remember to do a thorough assessment, prepare to ask questions, and set realistic expectations. The results will cement your relationships with influential community members and bring new customers to your business.

Back to Blog List