I'm in the midst of reviewing the pile of sponsorship requests that came in during the last 4 months. Normally, I review once a quarter, but I'm about a month late so it's 4 months between this time around. Hey, it was a busy fall what can I say?
Since we get so many requests, as I'm sure every other company in the industry does, I thought I'd go through our process here so you can make some sense (or not) out of it.
We get, literally, hundreds of requests each year asking for anything from 1 lock to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Those big ones make me giggle and remind me of a post my friend Karl Wiedemann wrote when he was at Pedros (he's now at Thule). Please read it - there are great tips about submitting an event proposal.
Anyway, when requests come in they go into a pile on my desk. I don't read them right away - right or wrong, I just don't. I used to review each request as they came in, but that was too time consuming so I went to the once a quarter system. I know some companies that do once a year, but I recognize that not everyone is so organized that they can get requests in for once a year. So, I'm somewhere in between every day/week and once a year. Works for me.
When that once a quarter comes around I take the stack and start going through it. Unfortunately, at that point we've missed some of the events, but when you send the request the week before your event that you've had planned for months, well yea, we miss it. I do reply to most everyone though - I know some people have slipped through the cracks and I'm sorry about that - I do the best I can. I try to get back to everyone.
Mostly we support events through product donations so I set aside a couple of days and start packing boxes in my office. Yup, every one of those boxes is packed and shipped by me. We try to do as many as we can and as many as make sense to our customers. I'd say that we support about 100 events a year or more - maybe not in huge ways all the time, but something to help out.
Now, in addition to Karl's tips (seriously, if you want to send a request to any company read Karl's tips...), here are a couple of my own....
- include the date of your event - it helps tremendously if I know if the event has past or is just upon us or isn't for another 2 months. What if your event is three days after I sit down to review? If I think it's a great event, I'll ship you something overnight but if I don't know the date it goes into the 'need more info pile' which takes more time and by then your event is over.
- include a shipping address. I can't tell you how many times I get emails or notes where someone wants product for an event, "can you send some products for our event"....well, maybe, but since you didn't include a shipping address it's kind of hard. Yup, people who want products don't always include a shipping address (can anyone answer that one for me?!). I've never been a good mind reader so I don't really know where you live...honest.
- tell me what type of event you are putting on. I love when I get notes like this..."I'm putting on a race and want to know if you are interested in sponsoring it". Hmmm...don't know you from Adam but I still might be interested if I knew if it was a bike or powersports event...or even what type...are you racing ATVs or mountain bikes? Do tell. Again, not so good with that mind reading thing....
- if you do get something from a company for your event, send a thank you note. Doesn't have to be fancy and doesn't have to be by mail - email is free remember! - but send a note. Trust me, it goes a long way towards a repeat. I've got some fun things as thank yous, and some "interesting" ones, too (boxer shorts come to mind...) but the best thank you? A simple, short note on a ripped piece of paper. Why? The guy had put on a first time charity event for a very special reason - probably didn't have a lot of money, but he has a ton of manners. Worked for me and guess what? He'll get product again for another race.
So, between Karl and I we've given you some good tips here. Should help you whether you are contacting Kryptonite or Thule or any other company along the way.
Oh, yea, and if you are waiting to hear from me? I've got the stack down from 6 inches to about 4 inches on my desk. I'm getting there. Please have patience! Thank you!