Each year, local leagues around the country develop revenue plans to help raise money to support league operations. Communities, regardless of size or population, are commonly interested in supporting Little League® through league sponsorship agreements.
Here are some best practices to help your local Little League® program with its sponsorship plans this year:
- Set an annual sponsorship goal at the fall board meeting. The budget should be based on operating expenses and consider other anticipated revenue sources, such as registration fees.
- Create different levels of local sponsorship to allow for a variety of businesses and organizations to participate. Business sponsorships are a great way to offset expenses without asking families to cover costs through registration fees and fundraisers.
- Craft a letter and place information for your website that explains the role of Little League in your community and that it is a volunteer-run organization.
- Organize an Opening Day event to kick off the season with activities available for children of all ages to participate. Invite sponsors to attend the Opening Ceremonies where you can hold special recognition ceremonies. Have a script ready to introduce each of the teams in the league and recognize sponsors during the ceremony by name and company. Create a special gift or award to recognize each sponsor, with a token of appreciation they can display in their individual business location.
- Work with the local Chamber of Commerce for resources on local business owners and managers. Identifying a point of contact is important to starting a relationship with businesses in your community.
- Create a list of sponsors and contacts each year. Provide existing sponsors with first opportunity to sponsor your league for the upcoming season.
- Encourage sponsors to sign on early by providing a discount for early sponsorship.
- Create a sponsor section of your website. Include sponsor logos and links to their websites for more information.
- Hang outdoor signs at your field entrances during the off season, encouraging support of your league.
- Hold an in-person parents meeting or registration day and invite local sponsors to participate. Provide them a table and encourage them to bring materials and coupons to share with local families.
- Include sponsors in each league email. Tag a coupon or special offer to the bottom of each email, and thank the sponsor for their support of your local league.
- Encourage donations from individuals and businesses, including donation opportunities during league registration. For businesses who cannot support the league with sponsorship, ask for a smaller donation instead.
- Use a combination of approaches to reach potential sponsors. Send emails, mail out physical letters and information, and visit the businesses in person.
- Ask the local league Board Members to conduct outreach to community contacts. Create a “Top Five List” for each Board Member where each person is responsible for contacting five businesses or potential donors.
- When a new sponsor supports your league, post an announcement on your league’s Facebook page, thanking them for their support and linking back to their website.
- Research national companies that provide local grants where they have franchises or store locations.
- Leverage local media relationships to announce sponsorship opportunities. Before the season begins, ask local media to highlight the league, promote its registration efforts, and share the need for sponsorship donations.
- Don’t forget about the importance of in-kind donations, where business can support your league with goods or services in exchange for sponsorship. Eliminating a budget line item through in-kind support can be just as important as receiving a monetary sponsorship.