During the 5th Commodores’ Forum of the International Council of Yacht Clubs (ICOYC) held last year at the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Perth, the attendees discussed sponsorship from the point of view of Yacht Clubs as event organisers. The following is taken from the ICOYC newsletter published in July.
‘Five lessons learned’ when dealing with sponsors.
John McNeill, Staff Commodore of the St Francis Yacht Club.
- Understanding that sponsors want eyeballs, reaching people through our activities to sell their products or services.
- Work to the sponsors schedule and their marketing goals.
- Set up a press room with a view of the starting line.
- Help fulfill their goals without compromising the culture of your own club.
- Sell the long term – your best sponsors should become your good friends.
Ragnar Klevaas, Past Commodore, Royal Norwegian Yacht Club.
- Norway’s public sector is rich due to oil and the government supports many activities.
- There are no big brand names like in Denmark or Sweden.
- Popular sports in Norway are winter sports and football.
- Sailing does not receive any media coverage hence very little sponsorship.
- Good relations have been built with private banking sponsors.
Russell Murphy, Commodore, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club.
- Sponsorship is no free lunch …
- Most sponsors with products, profile and funds have extremely well-managed marketing departments, clubs underestimate that relationships require professional management.
- At their club, sponsors do not pay in cash, their sponsors do it in kind.
- Relying on cash will make the club vulnerable in case an event sponsor withdraws.
- Without proper measurement, yacht clubs have little understanding of values and events – making them vulnerable to selling events cheap.
Craig Peploe, General Manager, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
- It is essential that someone in the club is responsible for account managing the significant sponsor.
- Legwork must include maintaining the relationship and looking after the more immediate needs of the sponsor including regular communication.
- The club must provide as much advance notice as possible to actions expected of them, functions they need to attend, invitations to other events, etc.
- It is a lot easier to retain a current sponsor than it is for them to leave and have to recruit another. Significant sponsorships should be for a minimum three-year term.
- The club’s database needs to be protected – guidelines need to be established for when it is acceptable for a sponsor to direct market to members.
Inge Strompf-Jepsen, Past Commodore, Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.
- Do not promise a sponsor something that you cannot deliver!
- Understand what the sponsor is trying to achieve – work with the sponsor but manage their expectations.
- Help get the sponsor’s message across – if a request is reasonable look at whether it is possible to make it happen.
- Retain control – the running of the event should not be dictated by the sponsor!
- Respect your sponsor – ensure the sailors know who the sponsor is and that they show their respect and appreciation.
For the full Article (PDF) click here…