There is a lot of great advice here. We've been successful in gathering sponsorships doing a many of the things mentioned here.
Initially we started just asking some people/friends/businesses we knew to help sponsor us. They were kind and generous.
Since then we have used more of a 'blank sheet of paper' approach...what do they want to get out of it and how much are they willing to pay for it. It's amazing...some want only samples, some want us to cook at a company or personal event. Its all over the board but it empowers them and makes them feel a part of their marketing dollar decisions. A lot of times they are willing to pay more than we might think. And, it it always my perogative to say no if I choose.
I always do a little write-up on the contests we plan on attending...how far away it is, how many people I estimate will be there (or were there the year before) along with out team brochure. Helps to show them the potential exposure they will get.
One thing that is extremely popular for us is that we do a year end sponsor party. It's a great time. We get to show off a little and they get to feel like they are part of the team.
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