Basketball Camp THINKTANK: Phase Four

For the first three phases of the Basketball Camp THINKTANK head HERE!

Phase four is the process I am currently going about with my partners; bringing in sponsors!

Why is bringing in sponsors important?

Well it technically isn’t!  You can put on a great event without any sponsors.  Chris Guillebeau does so with the World Domination Summit.  But tickets are priced at a cost and the big thing about our basketball camp is that it is FREE for every kid to attend.

If we want to make any money from our event then sponsorship are the key.

There are also two types of sponsors that you can have for whatever you are creating in the world.

The first one is IN-KIND sponsors.  They aren’t paying to be a part of the event but rather they are supplying you with someone that supports the event.

For instance Giant Eagle is an in-kind sponsor of our basketball camp; they provide breakfast, lunch, and water for the day for the kids and all of the volunteers!

It’s incredible.  It saves us a large sunk cost and it adds to the event to make it a wonderful experience.

Vineyard Community Center gives us the venue for free.  That’s an IN-KIND sponsor.  If they didn’t do this we would have to pay to rent a facility for the day.

The second type of sponsorship is paid revenue.  This is when you create a sponsorship package for someone and include items of value (signage, name mentions at the event, a business logo on your website, inclusion of their name in social media mentions, etc) in exchange for a paid sponsorship of the event.

The best way to also go about creating sponsorship packages for people is to create multiple levels of sponsorships.

We have the “SLAM DUNK”, “THREE POINT”, and “FREE THROW” sponsorship levels this year.  They are priced from highest to lowest.  (I’d be remiss to not mention if you are a Central Ohio business and want to align with a family friendly kids basketball camp please reach out to me at  Or if you’d just be curious to know what sponsorship packages look like I’d be more than happy to show examples to you.)

What’s the process for bringing in sponsors?

  • Create the packages for both in-kind and dollars.
  • Make target lists of businesses or individuals you wish to reach out to about sponsorship opportunities.
  • Keep following up; rinse and repeat often!

What do people not tell you about selling sponsorships to an event?

  1. It’s not easy!!! 
    The first year of the camp we tried to sell them packaged with radio station spots at a very high level and it didn’t work.  This year we are taking the angle of pricing it like you price a “high school football game.”  Similar price points and it’s a community angle just like supporting your favorite local high school.  This is leading to many more opportunities, conversations, and yes we already have secured some paid sponsors in less than one week in trying to get them.
  2. Customize them and care about them! 
    It doesn’t matter what price point someone comes in at.  Make sure you customize their experience to make it an outstanding experience for them and care about making it great so that they come back year after year or month after month forever!  They are giving you product, time, and/or money and deserve the VIP experience.  Every sponsors gets to have that experience or they will find a new place to take their sponsorship.
  3. Be willing to say NO.  There are businesses that I don’t believe would be a good fit for our event.  Though I drink alcohol having a kid friendly event there’s a strict no alcohol policy.  I’m also not a believer in soda and would not accept a sugary soda sponsor to offer to kids.  It’s your passion project or side hustle and you get to create the rules of engagement.  Say NO to sponsors that you believe don’t align with the vision of your creation.

What’s next for us?

For the following four weeks we’ll be busy working on securing additional sponsors and finalizing the volunteer list for the event.

In about two weeks we’ll be working on the flyers, press release, and marketing of the event.

Phase five is next week though and will be about how to secure insurance and waivers for what you are doing!

I hope this THINKTANK was helpful to you.  Sponsorship revenue can be the difference between your idea never getting off the ground and turning it into a spectacular experience that people yearn for again and again.

Place importance on the process and work to see how creative you can get, how many sponsors you can partner with in an ongoing and nurtured way, and finally remember that it’s never personal if someone says NO!

Looking to implement more passion and purpose into your digital marketing lead generation or have questions about building ideas like my basketball camp from the ground up??  I’d love to hear from you, email and sign up to my Bi Monthly Vlog HERE!

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