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How Do I Become a Sponsorship Manager?

By Jeremy Laukkonen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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In order to become a sponsorship manager, you typically need to have an excellent sales background and the ability to interface with a wide variety of personality types. You will often be responsible for locating and closing high value deals, and in some circumstances the sponsorships you secure will be necessary for the continued operation of the business. In many circumstances you will have to deal with high level executives at other companies, so a knowledge of inter-business communication protocols can also be useful. Your career path may go through sales, or you might be promoted from various other positions if you have the requisite skills.

There is no set career path to become a sponsorship manager, but individuals with excellent sales, planning, and people skills can generally aim towards this goal. A combination of education and work experience is typically required, along with the ability to make and maintain important business contacts. This combination of skills, knowledge, and networking ability can make the job both difficult and rewarding.

Some combination of sales and managerial skills are usually required before you can expect to become a sponsorship manager. Since this job involves selling an event or cause to another corporation or business, knowledge of sales is usually key to become a sponsorship manager. A college degree in sales, marketing, communications, or other related fields may be useful to obtain some of the basic information you will need. Managerial skills can be useful as well, since very large sponsorship programs may require you to oversee a team.

Experience and contacts are also very important if you want to become a sponsorship manager. Through a career in sales, you may be able to build a network of contacts. You may be promoted or hired based largely on your contacts and the amount of sponsorship money you can promise to bring in. Many people with this job also work on a freelance basis, and a company may hire you based solely on your lucrative past contacts.

Another area that many sponsorship managers start out in is corporate event planning or management. A background in this type of work can translate well to sponsorship management due to the similar logistics involved. Being a sponsorship manager is not exactly like working in inside or outside sales, or planning corporate events, but these are all different jobs that can share some of the same skill sets.

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Discussion Comments
By TreeMan — On Aug 13, 2011

@kentuckycat - Since the article mentions working as a freelance sponsorship manager, I would assume that special firms exist that specialize in securing ad agreements for different causes.

I think one of the best ways one of these companies could succeed is contacting small, local restaurants and convincing them to advertise in different venues. They wouldn't be setting up ads in sports arenas, but even having ads in programs for minor league sports or local charity events could help a company get more business.

That does make me wonder, though, how a freelance or small firm would be paid. Is it usually a flat fee for the service, or do the sponsorship managers sometimes work out deals where they are given a certain percentage of the increased revenue that comes as a result of their work?

By jcraig — On Aug 12, 2011

I think someone who started out as a marketing manager or brand manager for a major corporation could be very successful at this job.

These people would know the inner workings of a corporation and how to go about getting the best price for their sponsorships. They would know what tactics to use to convince advertisers to pay more for ad space. They would also have a good idea of what ads would work best in different locations.

By JimmyT — On Aug 12, 2011

@kentuckycat - I think most of the sponsorship managers would probably work less for a major company and more for organizations. One thing that immediately sprung to my mind was sports teams.

Think about it: professional sports advertising ranges from signs around the stadium to international commercials. The sponsorship manager would be the person hired by the team to contact different companies and find a way to get the most profit for their advertising spaces.

I doubt the sponsorship manager would need to worry about the legal aspects, since most of the organizations would have their own team of lawyers to look over any contracts.

By kentuckycat — On Aug 11, 2011

So, where exactly would a sponsorship manager work? What type of businesses use these individuals? Is it just any company that would need sponsorship sales, or are there specific firms that are hired by companies for the sole purpose of acquiring sponsorships?

I was also wondering if a background in law would be necessary for a job like this. If some of the contracts are with major corporations, I'm sure there are a lot of legal aspects that would need to be covered. I guess maybe the companies could also have special lawyers that do that part.

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