10 Tips for Creating and Sustaining Sponsorships

Patrick Riley, GAN CEO and former Director of Business Development, hosted a call for GAN accelerators last week where he laid out the steps for establishing and maintaining relationships with corporate partners. Below you’ll find ten tips for how to structure a sponsorship and define and sustain a win/win relationship for everyone involved.

While you begin to layout a plan for sponsorship, always keep in mind that what is best for your founders is the most important factor to take into account. The next is making sure the sponsors you choose to work with match your accelerator’s values.

Before you contact any potential sponsors, have a clear strategic plan in place. Do you want 25 sponsors or 5 sponsors? Do you want legal sponsors, accounting sponsors, or hardware sponsors? Make a plan first about the type of sponsors you want then follow these tips below!

Meet Face-to-Face
We’re all busy, but that’s no excuse to rely on emails and calls. If establishing sponsorships is essential to you, then take the time to personally meet with potential partners.

Be Presentable
I know its startup world so pizza boxes and T-shirts are the norm, but make yourself and your accelerator presentable and professional (this includes the design of your proposal, the appearance of your office etc.).

Bigger is Not Always Better
Don’t forget the smaller companies, especially the local companies that are a good fit for you and your founders.

Start with the Hardest Clients First
There is a tendency to go for the companies that seem easier to contact because of prior connections but that doesn’t mean they’re the best for your accelerator.

Over Deliver
When mapping out what benefits you have to offer a partner, try to keep one or two off of the proposal. Your sponsor will be pleasantly surprised when they receive a little more than you’d originally promised.

Gain Buy-in
Plenty of accelerators spend the first half of a presentation talking about their program, but instead start off by asking potential sponsors what they want out of the sponsorship.

Set Expectations
Every relationship works best when both parties know what the other brings to the table. This ensures that you can deliver on what you promise.

Always respond to potential and ongoing sponsors immediately, they are a great resource for you and your founders; treat them that way.

Pay Attention
Listen to what a sponsor wants and why they are interested in working together; you’ll discover the best methods to leverage the relationship for your benefit and theirs.

Be Consistent
In business relationships, surprises are not normally welcomed. You want your sponsor to be at ease and know what to expect from you. When you’ve established a reputation as consistent and reliable, your sponsor will trust you.