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School Sponsorships: Who to Call, What to Sponsor, What are the Benefits, and How to Do It (Right)

Lots of people sponsor schools for different reasons and that's great. But, whether you are doing it right or not really depends on what you want to get out of it. It's kind of like the Alice in Wonderland quote

So, if you just want to support your school (or more likely your child or a certain team, then just buy an ad on the outfield fence or the wall in the gym and be done with it. It's certainly one of the cheapest and easiest. Most schools even eat their own profit margin and will pay for the actual banner to be eaten up.

I actually came across a school that was selling banners for $300 and they said it cost them about $300 to make the banner (they were offering very large banners across fencing around their school.

SIDEBAR, don't expect your school contact to know the local ordinance laws and look yourself at whether the ads they are selling are within the local ordinance code. Always reach out to the state Department of Transportation and start with their rules on outdoor advertising and then find local ordinances by contacting your local government agencies. Remember, depending on the platform (banner vs. billboard vs. digital billboard vs. bulletin board) there may be different rules.

Now, you can get creative and ask for a package deal if you want to further support the school or school district and, most certainly, will get a discount and/or added value IF YOU ASK FOR IT.

If you are looking to sponsor in another fashion, through in-kind donations or an opportunity that better fits your brand, then you need to get a sit down. You want the county athletic director if it's around athletics. You want the school district head of communications if it is around any content publication.

Make sure you do something relevant and integrate it into something of value to the school. There's really only one major rule of advertising, sponsoring, or donating to a school or school district. Don't make it self-servicing. That doesn't mean it can't have value to your company. It just means be authentic and do something that actually benefits the school district. Provide them expertise, resources, and/or product. Cash is king and schools love it because a lot of them can file it under the budget as "discretionary funds" that means the school district and/or school can decide how to spend the money themselves. They can buy their staff pizza for a job well-done or order food for "Back to School" nights (it's almost impossible for a lot of schools/school districts to get public funding for those types of expenses.

Do good for brand and community.


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