Feb 13, 2012 at 07:56 PM
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Confessions (and Learnings) of a First-Time Sponsorship Seeker

Let me introduce myself...my name is Kym Oberauer and I am, among other things, a drag racer. I love drag racing. Some say I’m addicted to the sport. It’s more a lifestyle choice than a hobby.

The downside of drag racing is the expense. Like most sports that require an internal combustion engine, costs are measured in thousands of dollars rather than hundreds.

The last few years have been the very best. I married my beautiful wife Tania, opened a small IT consulting business and started a family with the birth of our son Royce. I just love him to bits.

But something’s got to give. With the economy the way it is, with a new business and a new family their simply aren’t enough dollars to go round and keep racing at the level I’d like. And that’s fair enough. There is no way I’d jeopardise my family’s financial security by selfishly pursuing my passions.

So I sat down and thought about the options...

1. I could sell up and invest the money in the mortgage. This is the most sensible option and the one my accountant would agree with. Not my personal favorite...

2. I could park the car until Royce is a little older and business is more predictable and then review the situation. Hmm, not the best. A depreciating asset collecting dust.

3. Or, I could get off my bum, be proactive and look for ways to fund my racing that removes any financial burden from my family.

As you’ve probably worked out, I’m leaning towards option 3, getting off my bum and doing something about it.

So how can I go racing without paying the bills?

Rob a bank? Not my style...Insurance fraud? Nah, I’m a terrible liar...Win the lottery? Not likely...

Nope, the only way this is going to work is with sponsorship. Simply put, sponsorship for me is an investment in my drag racing team which returns commercial value to the sponsor. The important bit here is ‘commercial value’. The sponsor must receive a return on their investment. Otherwise it’s really not sponsorship; it’s a gift or donation.

Gone are the days where sponsorship consisted of sticking logos on things and providing free tickets. Today sponsorship is all about providing the sponsor with ways to connect with their ideal customers in ways that can’t be achieved via other methods. It’s the uniqueness of what you do that makes it special.

So this brings us back to where we started...

I’ve set out to not only document my journey to win the hearts and minds of a sponsor, but as I go through this experience provide you with information and the resources to encourage you to do the same; to find, attract and keep a sponsor happy while supporting your passion, whatever that may be. Look for more on my journey here in the upcoming weeks and feel free to contribute your own opinions, experiences and ideas in comments.

Kym Oberauer is the author and head sponsorship seeker at Practical Sponsorship Ideas; dedicated to sharing experiences, tools and resources to help you find, attract and keep your sponsors happy.