Sponsorship – tips on making approaches

Articulating the benefits:
Some businesses might be keen to associate themselves with the public benefits of the commission (e.g. ownership of public space); others might use the opportunity to increase their profile amongst the local community. Care should be taken to ensure that benefits offered do not conflict with the integrity of the artwork: for example, logos or plaques commemorating the business contribution should be sensitively sited.

Pricing the sponsorship:
It is important to remember that pricing should reflect the value to the business of the benefits offered, NOT the costs you are hoping to cover.  There is no exact science to estimating the value of sponsorship benefits, but the value to the business will vary depending upon factors such as the prominence of the commission, the amount of press coverage it receives and the impact it has. Always over ask when approaching businesses, as this will give you room for negotiation.

Approaching businesses:
Identifying businesses to target will depend upon the particular circumstances in your area. Information that will help you include their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) objectives; current financial performance; level of marketing targeted at the local community; strategies to lessen the impact of any controversial aspects of their business. 

The most effective approach is a personal one: identifying who is the relevant person within the business and writing to them first, before following-up with a phone-call and, if possible, a meeting. In drafting the letter, keep the information clear and concise – for example, summarising the project and its objectives and then focusing on the benefits and values of being involved.  If a meeting is secured, know what you are asking for and be well prepared.