It’s the number one question that I asked two years ago; and now the number one question I get asked. “How do I get a sponsor?” Sometimes, I feel like I need to pinch myself, whenever I get asked this advice, because it actually started as a fear of mine.
I think, sometimes, when we are on the end of “needing a sponsor,” we forget what a sponsor really is. Sponsorship is an investment, be it monetary, an item, use of branding, or opportunity from an entity, who in return will receive business potential via you or the event in mind. Investment; let’s just think on that word alone. When I hear this word, I tie it to responsibility. If someone is investing in me, I am responsible for representing their brand, and helping them in any way that I can, because they helped me. Sponsorship is not one sided. Though we may be free of some financial burden, or having to obtain something gifted, always remember, it wasn’t free for those who gave to you.
So let’s compare this to a real life scenario first, to fully understand how you can be successful at this! Sponsorship, really in many ways, is like applying for a job, except, you are asking for your paycheck upfront. How do you get a paycheck upfront, without knowing the people you are asking, proving what you have done, or can do, and showing how you will be an asset? That’s right, you can’t! If this works for you, then you either already know the person or company you are asking, or they know you! You don’t go to a job interview without a resume, and you don’t ask someone to be your sponsor without assurity.
Say you have plenty of money, and you all of a sudden, decide you want to be a race car driver. You go, buy the car, buy your racing suit, and helmet; you are looking pretty legit! You go to a corporate company, and ask, “will you put your logo, on my car as a sponsor?” What do you think they will say? Even if you show them that you have all of the materials, to be a race car driver, you still haven’t proven yourself, right? They don’t know how you will perform, if you are trained, if you are reliable, and most importantly, why do you want to do this?
You have to get out there, and prove yourself. You have to make yourself known. While saying this, usually, anything driven by “self,” usually isn’t enough motivation for you to continue towards a goal, let alone, gain support from the people, who you will need to have your back. You need to have a passion for why you want this in the first place. Go find those who share this same passion, and are making big moves to impact their feat! Join forces to help them and be active together! Don’t forget, to reach another level, you must even recruit those who may not know about your passion, as teammates too!
This is technically the advice I give to every single individual, who ask me how to get a sponsor. I tell them that every sponsor I have been blessed to have in my life, came from me volunteering in the community, because it is the truth. Some do take the advice and start finding ways to volunteer (mostly teens); but many ignore this message. I had the fear of asking for help for myself, pretty much all of my life. The fear of rejection, many times, influenced me to make things happen on my own. While this did make me a stronger person, volunteering put me in circumstances to have no choice but to ask for help, for others; especially the babies I am helping who cannot speak. I felt okay with that; and it actually worked very well, compared to what I had in my mind. The first pageant I competed in, I only had two sponsors, and I asked countless people to help me. I just didn’t get the formula. I had a friend from high school, help pay for my pageant gown, and my hairstylist, who I met on a tv-pilot production fly all the way across the country to help me, at her own expense. You may say, “well, they must have known you.” The one from high school, I was shocked, as I hadn’t seen her in sixteen years. I only knew my hairstylist for two days; TWO DAYS. They actually saw what I was doing for my cause, via social media, and felt my passion.
This year, I didn’t have to ask a single person, listed on my ad page, to be my sponsor. They either supported me because I volunteer to help them, or, they asked how they could help me! I posted on FB, asking for sponsorship donations, and not a single cent came from that. This is proof, that those you interact with, and truly see you, are your potential sponsors. They will not be strangers, if you become involved.
Always remember, no one owes you anything.
Sponsorship is not just about you.
Do not expect blessings, if you can’t give them.
Don’t be afraid to ask, but prove yourself first.
You aren’t only representing yourself, you are representing your sponsor’s brand, the organization you are a part of, and your passion/cause.
The people who want to help you, will come forward. Those are the people you want on your team for the longevity; they are loyal.
Sponsorship can be monetary, items, services, even opportunities; it’s up to you to use them to the fullest potential, while returning the favor to the giver!
I hope this message stays on the minds, of anyone, truly needing, and seeking support! I promise it works, as it did for my cause!
Mrs. Tennessee International 2018