I get this question a lot. The expectation is that there will be some magic window where the yesses will be plentiful. The good news is that there is no window – you can solicit sponsorship all year ‘round. The bad news is that there is no such thing as an easy “yes”.
There are some who would tell you that you should submit any sponsorship proposals in the few months prior to the start of the financial year. While that would, on the surface of it, seem like a reasonable approach, in my experience, it’s unnecessary and limiting.
Some sponsorship managers request sponsorship approaches during a specific timeframe, but this is usually just a ploy so that they can allocate some time to slog through the mostly terrible proposals once a year and then get on with the more strategic stuff the rest of the year. This falls into the same admin-driving-strategy category as requiring sponsorship seekers to submit proposals via an online form.
My advice to you is to ignore those timeframes and, largely, ignore the sponsorship managers. In 99% of cases, the best person to receive your proposal is the brand manager. This is for many reasons, not least of which is timing:
- Sponsorship is an integral part of their brand marketing portfolio.
- Sponsorship integrates across the rest of their brand marketing portfolio.
- Sponsorship comes from their budget.
- Their budget is by-and-large not committed to multi-year deals. They can reallocate money they were going to spend in main media or whatever to a great sponsorship idea.
- They’re the ones who would have to say “yes”, anyway.
They key with making a brand manager approach work is to make the effort to deliver a totally customised proposal that is about their markets and their brand, not the event or whatever else you’re selling. (I recommend you read, “How do sponsors assess sponsorship proposals”.)
So, the short answer to the title question is: There is no best time of year for sponsors, as long as you submit a great proposal to the right person.
I will say, however, that there will be timeframes that are better for you to seek sponsorship than others. This doesn’t have to do with sponsor budgeting, however, but the time it takes for sponsors to assess the proposal, commit, and then plan and implement the leverage strategy. That can take from a few months to more than a year, depending on the size and type of sponsorship. If you seek sponsorship on a long lead-time, you are much more likely to get a yes, as the sponsors will have the time to leverage the opportunity you’re selling them into the marketing results they need.
A few more resources that may assist you in developing and selling great sponsorships include:
- 20+ Proposal Development Resources for Sponsorship Seekers
- 18+ Sponsorship Sales Resources for Sponsorship Seekers
- Sponsorship Lie #212: There’s Still Time!
- Sponsorship Proposal Basics in About 10 Minutes (video tutorial)
- The Sponsorship Seeker’s Toolkit 4th Edition
Need more assistance?
If you could use some additional support, I provide sponsorship coaching, sponsorship consulting, sponsorship training, and if you need a fast, cost-effective start, the Jump Start program. If you’re interested in any of these services, please review the materials and drop me a line to discuss:
AU: +61 2 9559 6444
US: +1 612 326 5265
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