Offering additional perks for being a member of your snowsports society adds extra appeal to members, but how do you get partners on board? Here is some advice from former Bath University President Thomas Purkhardt, who’s been there, done that…
Securing partnerships to offer discounts, funding or experiences to all your members could be the difference between a fresher joining the hockey club instead of the snowsports club. The best way to go about acquiring or regaining partnerships is via the creation of a proposal document and approaching the sponsors from there. It should be able to tell your desired partner two things: who you are and what you’re looking for.
Proposal Part 1 - Focus on the club an explain key elements such as:
Who you are
What is the DNA of the club? Does it have any past awards or achievements which you can showcase and what makes it stand out as a great club to partner with?
Often snowsports clubs are the biggest societies on campus and that can be a huge draw to potential partners. Tell them how many members you have and add detail about your competitor groups such as racers and freestylers. How big is your trip size and social media following? Partners will want to tap into your channels so the more stats you can share, the better.
What you can offer
In this section you can get creative and really push the boundaries to tailor the proposal to your targeted company. Can you invite the partner to your campus for a sponsor’s day, or print their logo on your merchandise? Many partners will ask for mail-shots targeted to certain members, or giveaways in your trip pack.
Your goals for the year
Some partners may want to get involved with clubs which focus on certain areas similar to their own shared goals. For example, if you are looking to reduce the barriers for underrepresented groups or have a push on sustainability, let them know to see if you share common ground.
Proposal Part 2
The next part of the proposal should focus on the specifics about why you want to get involved with the company in the first place and what are you looking for from them. There are four different categories of partnerships that you can form which are as follows:
Trip pack partners
Getting some freebies in to spice up your trip packs will always go down a treat. There is always a brand-new food or drinks supplier keen to get their brand established and using a university ski trip is a great way for them to get them noticed. These guys will usually ask for a marketing package during your trip event and may even want to have a specific event to directly sponsor. Societies have had some great partnerships with brands such as Clif Bar, Tenzing, Red Bull and Eat Natural.
These are the guys that can give that vital boost needed to the run the club by funding additional training sessions, BUCS entries or equipment purchases. In return they will typically ask for regular mail-shots to your members and their logo to be printed on certain items of merchandise. As a word of warning, in recent years these partners have distanced themselves from direct partnerships around university ski trips and usually want to focus more on the UK competition side. Examples of past partners who have been willing to get involved have included: PWC, Morgan Stanley, Protyre and Accenture.
With talk of a ski trip on the horizon, your members will definitely be looking to get some brand-new gloves, a helmet or a ski jacket. Setting up a partnership here could really help lower the costs associated with a university ski trip to your members via discount codes. In return these guys will often ask for flyering in trip packs and may even give you freebies to promote as prizes. Examples of past partners keen to get signed up have included: SkiBartlett, Freeze Pro Shop, Student High Street, Faction and Panda Optics.
It goes without saying that every club needs their own stash be it hoodies, t-shirts or boonies. Each merchandise company will have different items it can offer at the cheapest price but also work with the club to design new items such as the work Park did with Bath Snow Basecamp this past year. As another word of warning though, although it’s great having a diverse portfolio of items on offer to members by selecting more than one partner, this can bring in unwanted complication for you the committee. There are some great well-established companies out there such as: Afterjam, Silverstick, Bretheren Apparel Park, Bro! and We Are Horizontal.
After you’ve sent off your tailored proposal, it’s always worth logging it so that you can give partners a nudge if things are taking a while. Once you’ve got a response, you will likely be in a position to set up the deal or be ready to negotiate and compromise.
Following this, to solidify the agreement it’s worth writing a simple contract. It should simply state that both your snowsports club and the partner agree to the arrangement. The contract just gives you peace of mind and reassurance that your partner will hold up their end of the bargain.
Overall this search can be highly rewarding, varied and creative. In the past few years collaborations have got far more exciting, creative and far-reaching. It gives you a great insight into the world of marketing and can even lead to a job following university. My final part of advice is: don’t be scared to approach any company you think would offer a great partnership as the worst response you can ever get is no!