Developing a Sponsorship Program: Start Internally

March 10, 2019

More than ever before high school athletic departments are needing to consider outside sources for generating funds to operate their athletic teams and operations. Developing sponsorship and marketing programs for businesses and corporations is an obvious path to take, There are many directions an athletic director can take to solicit sponsors, and it's critical that you create a detailed plan first.

You have a lot of sources within your community that can help craft a successful sponsorship plan. Here are five points to consider when looking for input on creating the sponsorship program and identifying prospectve companies to pursue.

  • The first place to start is obvious—the parents of your own teams. An article on ( suggests you ask these questions: “Do any parents on the team own a business they’re looking to promote? Or do any parents work for a company that’s looking to make an impact at the local level and would be willing to sponsor the team?” The article suggests that you attend the early-season meetings of your teams to discuss this topic with parents and see if there are candidates to contact that you might not have considered previously. You'll never know who has connections to possible sponsors within your own athletc community unless you ask. An article on ( also contains good information on this topic.

  • An article on the website for the Ohio University Online Master of Athletic Administration program ( discusses ways to supplement a high school athletics budget. The article advices that you work with parents and supporters who work or have experience in marketing—and therefore have an understanding of the “language of business”—to both understand how companies in your area view potential marketing and sponsorship opportunities. Build bridges with other departments at your school, or even with other athletic departments in your area, to make a stronger program of benefits for companies in your community that would be targets for sponsorship. And a benefit to doing this is, you are taking away the concept and of having an us-vs-them mentality between extracurricular programs at schools that in effect would be competing with you for outside revenue from companies.

  • Use your existing communication platforms to gain input for developing a sponsorship idea. Post a notice on your athletic department website for interested individuals or groups to contact you about ideas for sponsorship, or to ask for volunteers to help you in this area.

  • Learn from other schools and peers on how to package your high school sports program as asset in order to emphasize the sponsorship value to local companies. You're not the only one in this situation and there are undoubtedly other schools that come up with successful programs to attract local sponsorship.

  • Be sure to think about of all current fundraisers that your teams currently implement—such as auctions, bake sales, and events—and take these into account when formulating your plans. You don't to take away from successful fundraising events that your teams have been doing for years are critical to their own sources for funding.


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