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.