• Mike Merra

Target the Right Sponsors

For a minute put yourself in the shoes of your potential sponsors (and by sponsors I mean companies rather than individuals). Most companies receive a steady stream of sponsorship requests year round. These requests far exceed what has been budgeted. I’ve spoken to many sponsors over the years (both as a race director and timer) and the first question is invariably: How does this request for sponsorship money align with our organizational vision and the message we are trying to communicate to our community? Remember, no matter how much we like to think our motives are pure, life is a two-way street. The sponsor will ask themselves, “If we give this organization our hard earned sponsorship $$, what are we getting in return?” Therefore, you need to make your request stand out. In your cover letter and/or email to the sponsor try to answer that question head on. Say something that’s personal to the sponsor and directly ties their vision to your organization/event.



Before you come up with your list of sponsors to target for your event ask yourself the following three questions:

1. What type of audience is the sponsor trying to reach?

2. What message does the sponsor want to send the community?

3. How does your organization and/or cause match up with #1 and #2?


If your organizational message doesn't align with the sponsor, you should switch your focus to sponsors where there is a match. Look for companies and/or businesses who sell products or services consistent with your event.


For example, target local running stores, physical therapy clinics, chiropractic offices, local community hospitals, health food stores or even the local Orangetheory Fitness Club. Believe it or not car dealerships, law firms and banks can be good targets as they are often looking to expand their reach into the local community with a positive “stay healthy” message (otherwise how could they keep you as a life long customer? LOL). Targeting the local engineering firm or funeral home? Probably not a good idea unless there is a runner at the top of the letterhead. If you follow these simple steps rather than look for sponsors in a scattershot fashion, you will be far ahead of your competition.

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