Sponsorship & Advertising Desk Reference

MarketingMarch 26, 2019

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Overview

Chapter 2 Army Family and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) Marketing, Commercial Sponsorship and Advertising Policy

Chapter 3 Financial Management Operating Guidance and Income and Expense Reporting Procedures

Chapter 4 Program/Event Planning

Chapter 5 Strategies for Obtaining Commercial Sponsorship

Chapter 6 Providing Sponsor Benefits

Chapter 7 Sponsorship Investment (Pricing)

Chapter 8 Successful Proposals

Chapter 9 Solicitation/Sale

Chapter 10 Account Management/Servicing the Sponsor

Chapter 11 After Action Report/Post Event Report

Chapter 12 Appendices

Chapter 13 Glossary

Chapter 1: Army MWR Marketing, Sponsorship and Advertising Overview

Army MWR Marketing

Garrison Marketing offices have the responsibility for promoting MWR programs by producing creative and informational products. MWR Marketing is a non-appropriated fund (NAF) activity and is not intended to provide services or produce products for appropriated fund (APF) organizations.

Army MWR Marketing Mission

The mission of Garrison Marketing offices is to promote Family and MWR programs and events and to ensure all Family and MWR marketing communications materials comply with the Family and MWR Brand Visual Identity and Voice Guidelines provided by IMCOM G9 Marketing and Interactive Solutions on the www.MWRBrandCentral.com website.

Army MWR Commercial Sponsorship Mission

The mission of the Army MWR Commercial Sponsorship Program is to support vital military MWR events and programs by obtaining private sector funding, services, or supplies in exchange for advertising and promotional opportunities within the military community.

Army MWR Commercial Sponsorship History

  • February 1988: Exception to Department of Defense (DoD) Instruction 1015.2 authorizing competitive solicitation of corporations for support of MWR events
  • January 1989: Distribution of commercial sponsorship guidance and implementation procedures
  • May 1992: DoD policy memorandum on MWR commercial sponsorship replaces exception and solidified commercial sponsorship as an MWR program
  • October 1992: DoD modification to May 1992 policy calling for coordination with the Army Air Force Exchange System (EXCHANGE - formerly AAFES) to ensure that sponsorship agreements do not violate existing EXCHANGE agreements
  • June 1994: Army interim guidance
  • September 1995: Army published AR 215-1 with Army MWR Commercial Sponsorship Program
  • May 2000: Army Commercial Sponsorship and Advertising was included in FY01 MWR Operating Guidance

The Army Market

The Army market is a viable market of over 3.7 million individuals

  • A targeted demographic audience of over 1,053,840 active duty Soldiers including the National Guard and Army Reserves
  • A total of 1,565,703 Family members of active duty Soldiers, National Guard and Reserves
  • More than 835,325 Army retirees
  • More than 280,825 Department of Defense civilians

A young market with 59 percent of enlisted Soldiers under the age of 29

A diverse market by gender and race:

  • 19.7 percent of active duty force is female
  • 21 percent are African-American
  • 12 percent are Hispanic

59 percent are married; 41 percent are single Soldiers

A well-educated market:

  • 87 percent of officers have a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to 29 percent of the U.S. population
  • 88 percent of enlisted soldiers have a high school diploma compared to 86 percent of the U.S. population

Average Monthly Pay (including incentives)

  • Enlisted Soldiers $4,329
  • Officers$8,490

A market with 30 vacation days per year

A mobile market that makes living/location/moving decisions every two or three years

Definition of Army MWR Commercial Sponsorship

Commercial sponsorship is a monetary and/or in-kind fee paid to MWR for an event or property, in return for access to the exploitable commercial potential associated with that property, such as public recognition or advertising promotions, event promotion, and so forth.

The strategy of commercial sponsorship is to meet the specific measurable goals of a company or brand by building a link in the target audiences’ minds between the sponsor and MWR’s event.

Sponsorship is

  • an exchange of values for promotional opportunities
  • an exchange of values for experiential marketing opportunities NOT a gift or donation

Sponsorship is a business based decision. It is a way for Corporate America to directly reach the military consumer market in a targeted, focused approach that is mutually beneficial.

Definition of MWR Commercial Advertising

Commercial advertising is a monetary fee paid for advertising exposure at the installation. Advertising gives companies a presence at the installation either in print through banners, ads in local MWR publications, table tents, and electronic media, i.e. on marquees, digital network signage, commercial MWR websites and social media.

Advertising fees are negotiated by rate card and no interactive benefits are offered.

The Benefits of Commercial Sponsorship and Advertising for MWR Programs

Income from sponsorship and/or advertising offsets cost associated with MWR events and programs. Sponsorship should not be used to fully underwrite or fund a program or event but to assist with the funding; program managers should budget for their events and programs to ensure that the event takes place. Sponsorship and Advertising enhances the ability to provide an array of revenue-generating events and programs at a reasonable cost to Soldiers and their Families.

Chapter 2: Army MWR Commercial Sponsorship and Advertising Policy

The Army MWR Commercial Sponsorship and Advertising Program is governed by Department of Defense Instruction (DODI) 1015.10, Enclosures 11 and 12 and Army Regulation 215-1, Military Morale, Welfare, and Recreations Programs and Non-appropriated Fund (NAF) Instrumentalities' dated 24 September 2010, Chapter 11 (see Appendices A and B.)

Other relevant regulations are:

In addition to Regulations, the Office of the Secretary of Defense has also published

A listing of relevant regulations with websites can be found in Appendix F Websites.

Authorized Programs

Only MWR programs and events as recognized by AR 215-1 may be sponsored or display commercial advertisements and benefit from Commercial Sponsorship or Advertising. Refer to figure 3-1 MWR Programs, Section II Funding Categories in AR 215-1 for a list of MWR activities. However, the Department of Defense has permitted sponsorship for three non-MWR programs: Army Family Team Building (AFTB); Army Family Action Plan (AFAP); and the Volunteer Ceremony under Army Community Services (ACS.) Note that this permission is limited to the NAF funded portion of the programs and only when the use of APFs is not authorized. No other ACS programs are authorized commercial sponsorship or advertising support. Expenditures of NAFs are authorized only where APF is not authorized. Installation or command sponsored events such as change of command; retirement ceremonies; organizational day; unit social functions, commander’s golf tournaments etc. that are not MWR events may not receive benefits from the MWR Commercial Sponsorship program.

MWR sponsorship and advertising managers may not solicit sponsorship on behalf of private organizations or installation events that are not conducted by MWR. For example, an MWR sponsorship manager is not allowed to seek sponsorship for private organizations such as AUSA; the Officers’ and Civilians’ Wives’ Club; Boy Scouts; a Toastmasters’ Club etc. Additionally, just because a private organization or installation entity hosts an event at an MWR facility does not qualify it as an MWR event, nor does it make the event eligible for MWR sponsorship.

Close working relationships should be developed between the Commercial Sponsorship Office and authorized private organizations operating on the installation. Private organizations should be informed of the solicitation efforts of the authorized sponsorship program to alleviate the potential for competition between MWR and other Army departments for the same support from industry and local businesses.

A private organization (PO) can be a sponsor of MWR events and programs.

A PO can raise funds on the installation in accordance with local guidance and consistent with the purpose statement contained in their charter, as approved by the local commander. A PO can raise funds or obtain cash or donated products through solicitation of businesses in the local community, but cannot promise any advertising exposure or public recognition on the installation to that business beyond the PO’s membership or outside of the activity for which the solicitation is being made. POs cannot conduct or compete with MWR events and, therefore, cannot solicit donations or commercial sponsorship on behalf of MWR, nor can they misrepresent their affiliation/relationship with the installation in such a manner that the business believes that it is the installation, represented by the MWR Sponsorship and Advertising Manager, and not a PO that is soliciting. (See AR 210-22, Chapter 3-1.b.(3))

POs and units may conduct a resale activity at an MWR event as prescribed in Chapter 13-18 a., AR 215-1.

Authorized Solicitors

Command authorities, normally the Director, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (DFMWR), must designate by name, and in writing, individual(s) who perform commercial sponsorship and advertising duties. Before being designated, personnel must take the Basic Online Sponsorship and Advertising Correspondence Course, provided by the IMCOM Academy. The command will forward a designation memorandum containing the designee(s) name, address, e-mail address, phone and fax number, job duties and contact information of supervisor with the certificate that can be printed upon completion of the Basic Online Course to the IMCOM G9 Family and MWR Commercial Sponsorship and Advertising Program Coordinator (see Appendix G for designation memo template).

It is strongly advised not to designate program managers to solicit sponsorship. Companies/businesses usually have limited funds and it is more advantageous to Army MWR if one person solicits for all the programs/events than several people soliciting each for their activity. All sponsorship agreements have to be drafted by the installation sponsorship/advertising manager and coordinated with the Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) Office and affected program managers.

MWR employees authorized to work with the Commercial Sponsorship and Advertising Program must receive appropriate professional development training. At a minimum, sponsorship and advertising personnel should receive the following training:

  • Online Sponsorship and Advertising Correspondence Training (at beginning of job)
  • Annual Marketing, Sponsorship and Advertising Refresher Training
  • Annual online ethics training
  • Information on the principles and procedures of contracting solicitation
  • Training on proper file documentation
  • Any training provided by IMCOM G9 Marketing Division

Every attempt should be made to participate in any scheduled Army MWR Sponsorship and Advertising Training via DCO or other methods.

Sponsorship and advertising personnel are required to file Form OGE-450 Confidential Financial Disclosure Report annually.

Outside agencies may not solicit sponsorship on behalf of the Army or MWR, however, if an agency representing a specific client, such as Toyota, GM etc. approaches the MWR sponsorship manager with an offer to either sponsor events or bring events such as concerts, the sponsorship manager may enter into a sponsorship agreement with the agency on behalf of their client.

An in-depth Overview of MWR Commercial Sponsorship

Sponsorship is an exchange of values. A commercial sponsorship is an investment (a fee paid to MWR), in cash and/or in-kind, in return for access to exploitable business potential, such as public recognition, branding or advertising opportunities, associated with that property, event, promotion, etc. Corporations, associations, or individuals provide assistance in form of funding, goods, equipment (including fixed assets), or services to an MWR program(s) or event(s) in exchange for advertising or promotional opportunities within the Army community.

Sponsorships are NOT gifts or donations.

Sponsorship is a business-based decision. It is not a philanthropic gesture. Sponsorship is a way for Corporate America to directly reach the military consumer market. The sponsorship fee comes from a corporation’s advertising, marketing, public relations or branding budget, not their corporate donation or philanthropic funds. Sponsorship should never be referred to as donation.

Events and/or programs should not rely on sponsorship income as the only funding source for the event. Sponsorship is not a guaranteed revenue, as it depends on many factors, such as economy; return on investment for the sponsor; attendance; reputation of the event; sponsor priorities etc. If a sponsorship manager solicits sponsorship for an event but it is not enough to cover all cost and the event gets cancelled, the Sponsorship Manager will lose all credibility with that particular sponsor and most likely never get support from the company again. Therefore, Program Managers should budget for events they schedule for the year. The Sponsorship Manager can only solicit sponsorship support if the event is conducted as scheduled.

Army MWR commercial sponsorships require written agreements and are for a limited period of time, not to exceed one (1) year. The agreement can include an annual renewal option for up to five (5) years. The program does not include the donation of volunteer services, premiums, coupons, or limited samples that are considered gifts.

There are two types of MWR commercial sponsorships:

  • Solicited sponsorship - Gained through a formal process targeting an adequate number of known U.S. sources in a competitive manner. Alcohol (including beer) and tobacco sponsors may not be solicited.
  • Unsolicited sponsorship - Comes from companies who approach MWR with an idea and resources. Unsolicited sponsorship from alcohol may be accepted; it is strongly advised not to accept sponsorship from tobacco companies due to the Army Surgeon General’s warnings about the risk factors associated with the use of tobacco products.

It is critical to obtain your command’s and your SJA’s approval before accepting any sponsorship offers from tobacco companies, electronic cigarette companies or other potentially controversial client categories.

Evaluation Process

Before choosing a sponsor for an event or program, or before deciding whether to accept or decline an unsolicited sponsorship offer, an impartial process must be developed to evaluate each offer. MWR must weigh the benefits it will receive versus the promotional opportunities MWR will provide in return to the potential sponsor.

Evaluation Criteria

The first step in developing the evaluation system is to determine the criteria that will be used to evaluate the offers. Each event or program will have different evaluation criteria based on what is needed for each event or program. The factors that will be considered in evaluating offers should be tailored to each sponsorship initiative. It is best to first list each of the needs of the event or program (cash, t- shirts, sports drink, and so on.) After the list is compiled, a weighted value can be assigned to each need. When all the offers are received they can be evaluated based on the weighted criteria.

Evaluation of offers will be based on market value of services, goods, or cash offered. Consideration should also be given to whether it is appropriate to enter into sponsorship agreements with certain firms.


Selection of sponsors can be limited to one per product category. Most sponsors will only sponsor an event or program if they are the only company in the product category. Remember that product category exclusivity is valuable to sponsors and thus negotiable. Before final selection is made, check with the NAF contracting office to ensure the potential sponsor is not a vendor barred from doing business with the Army. It is also advised to research the sponsor company’s reputation and financials prior to discussing any sponsorship or advertising opportunities with Family and MWR. Also advise the Exchange (AAFES) manager of the potential sponsorship agreement to ensure that the sponsorship will not violate existing Exchange understandings or agreements.

The following companies/organizations should not be accepted as sponsors per DoD and Army regulations:

  • Companies on your installation’s off-limits list
  • Companies on the Army banned list of sources
  • Companies that are not focused on consumer products (i.e. business to business, defense contractors*, etc.)

* Defense Contractors represent a subset of government contractors. Typically, this term refers to those contractors that are involved with the war fighting aspect of the military (i.e. General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, etc.).

* Government Contractors are any firms that do business with the federal government on a contractual basis.

For the following companies/organizations there are limitations in place that need to be considered:

  • Off-post financial institutions defined as banks, credit unions, and savings and loan institutions when there is an existing on-post financial institution
  • Firms in direct competition with The Exchange (AAFES), Commissary, or other Army/DoD MWR activities
  • Educational for-profit institutions

It is mandatory that sponsorship agreements with such organizations must be coordinated with the SJA, the appropriate representative of the effected on-post facility (i.e. the Education Services Officer (ESO), the Banking Liaison Officer (BLO) etc.

Solicited Sponsorship

Solicited sponsorship must be competitive and based on the following principles:

  • Sponsors are solicited from U.S. sources and generally limited to firms and organizations involved with consumer products
  • In overseas areas, non-U.S. firms can be solicited with the commander’s approval, provided that solicitation is not in violation of SOFA or other agreements
  • More than one corporation per product category must be solicited; a minimum of three in each category is preferred
  • Solicitations must be announced. This can be in the form of written proposals sent to numerous corporations or advertisements in newspapers, magazines or trade journals. Solicitation can also be made through social media.
  • More than one category sponsor may be sought if category exclusivity is not an issue
  • Evaluation criteria will be used to determine the acceptance of solicited sponsorship. Evaluation criteria should include the value of services, goods, or cash offered. The appropriateness of potential sponsoring corporations may be considered
  • Alcohol and tobacco companies may not be solicited
  • Sponsors should not receive favored treatment or special concessions with the exception of recognition of sponsor support, advertising and promotional opportunities (see sponsor recognition in this chapter.)

Unsolicited Sponsorship

Unsolicited sponsorship follows the same guidelines as solicited sponsorship except that it doesn’t have to be competitively bid or announced. Ideally a sponsor would send a letter, offering to sponsor a program/event; but more likely, the sponsor offer will be conveyed over telephone or in person. At a minimum, you should document the initial offer including the date, sponsor point-of-contact and amount/details. Sometimes the unsolicited offer can even come through the garrison commander or other installation officials.

The following principles apply to unsolicited sponsorships:

  • Sponsorship is entirely initiated by the prospective sponsor
  • Receipt of an unsolicited proposal does not require solicitation of other sources
  • Following receipt of an unsolicited offer, MWR needs should be determined and an evaluation made of the offer
  • Offer may be either accepted or declined

There is no need to specify in a sponsorship agreement whether the sponsorship is solicited or unsolicited. Alcohol and tobacco companies may not be solicited as sponsors; however, unsolicited offers can be accepted by MWR. Again, it is advised to avoid entering into sponsorship (or advertising) agreements with tobacco companies. The final decision is, however, made by the garrison commander or designated official.

Evaluation Process

When an unsolicited sponsorship offer is received, it must be evaluated to determine if it is in the best interest of MWR. Factors to consider include: cost to implement the proposed program (if the offer is not to sponsor a currently budgeted MWR event or program); the appropriateness of the potential sponsoring corporation; and the monetary and retail value of the offer.


Before a final decision is made, check with the NAF contracting office to ensure that the potential sponsor is not a vendor barred from doing business with the Army.

Also advise the Exchange manager of the potential sponsorship agreement to ensure that the sponsorship will not violate existing Exchange understandings or agreements. Unsolicited sponsorship offers can be either accepted or declined.


If an unsolicited offer is accepted, the commercial sponsorship manager will give written notice of the decision to the sponsor. Receipt and acceptance of an unsolicited proposal does not require solicitation of other sources.

Sponsor Benefits

Sponsorship and advertising personnel should consult with program managers to determine which benefits can be offered to sponsors at their events. Typically, in addition to logo exposure on all collateral materials, t-shirts, etc. all promotional materials with the sponsor logo have to include a disclaimer such as ‘No U.S. Army Endorsement Implied’. Sponsors can also have a display booth. For example, a beverage company can have a booth to sample its products. Sponsors cannot conduct direct sales. MWR can choose to sell a sponsor’s product(s) at the event. Alcohol may not be sampled, but that does not mean that MWR cannot sell alcoholic beverages during an event. The sponsor may be present, and in many cases is, to replenish the product sold by MWR staff.

The installation may also permit vendors to sell merchandise including a sponsor’s product at the MWR event. This would NOT be part of a sponsorship agreement and would require a NAF concessionaire’s contract; in such case NAF contracting procedures must be followed.

With all sponsorship and advertising agreements, it is the garrison commander who has the final say as to who can come onto the installation and which sponsors/advertisers to accept, in case of a dispute between the sponsorship manager and the program manager. This is especially true for sponsorship and/or advertising with the critical category sponsors/advertisers; such as off-post financial institutions and educational institutions.

Army MWR Commercial Advertising

Commercial sponsorship and advertising managers may sell space for commercial advertising for MWR programs and events in any NAFI/entity media (printed, signs, electronic/digital network/web/social media/e-mail) produced for or prepared by them and may accept payment for such advertising. Publication of paid advertising is bound by similar standards of propriety applying to civilian enterprise publications, as prescribed in AR 360-1.

Advertising will be rejected if it undermines or appears to undermine an environment conducive to successful mission performance and preservation of loyalty, morale, and discipline. Some considerations before accepting advertising include the local situation, the content of the proposed advertisement, and the identity and reputation of the advertiser.

Advertising will not contain anything in it that might be illegal or contrary to DoD or Army regulations, such as discrimination, prohibition against soliciting membership in private groups, endorsement of political positions, favoring one group over another group, partisan political items, political advertisements, and games of chance, including casinos, online gambling and Indian tribe gaming.

A supplement or insert with commercial advertising may be distributed with NAFI/entity media provided fair and equal opportunity is offered to organizations, businesses, or personnel to compete for this privilege.

No advertising will be accepted from any establishment placed “off limits” by the Commander. All advertising will include a disclaimer that it does not constitute Department of Defense, Army, or Federal Government endorsement. Acceptance of paid commercial advertising on APF electronic media, such as AFRTS and the local commander’s channel, is prohibited.

Per FMR 7000-14R advertising from off-post financial institutions is prohibited. This applies to print, web, social media and digital signage.

Advertising in NAFI/entity media is based on reaching authorized MWR patrons. Mailings to authorized patrons are permitted using NAFs of the respective NAFI/entity. NAFI/entity print media will not be distributed to unauthorized patrons.

Good judgment will be used concerning acceptance of commercial advertising that may compete with MWR or other Army/DoD programs. The local garrison commander will make final decisions on acceptance of advertising and must consider public perceptions, impact to the local economy, and the effect on the local civilian enterprise newspaper, installation guide, and installation map.

Any prominent display of outdoor or electronic signage containing commercial advertising must comply with the installation Army Communities of Excellence standards and be coordinated with the installation engineers.

See AR 215-1, Chapter 11-2 in Appendix B.

Digital Signage

The IMCOM G9, Marketing and Interactive, Digital Signage team creates, manages, and distributes electronic content to networks of digital displays that are centrally managed for targeted information, entertainment, merchandising, and advertising. The digital displays provide Garrison Commanders an enterprise medium to disseminate and receive IMCOM and community information (to include community events), and also provide garrison Family and MWR marketing offices a digital platform to effectively and efficiently communicate IMCOM and Family and MWR messaging.

The Digital Signage platform provides an opportunity to generate advertising and commercial sponsorship revenue for garrisons and HQ, IMCOM G9.In order to maximize efficiencies of this technology, HQ, IMCOM G9 has determined that any non-appropriated fund instrumentalities who intend to procure digital displays are required to utilize the HQ, IMCOM G9 Interactive Solutions Digital Signage marketing platform as the service-provider.

IMCOM G9, Marketing and Interactive Solutions assumed control of the Army Recreation Machine Program (ARMP) Digital Signage platform in FY14. ARMP has no operational control or fiduciary responsibility of the Digital Signage platform. Garrisons participating in the ARMP digital signage platform will now refer to the MCOM G9 Marketing and Interactive Solutions, Digital Signage Team for assistance. Digital Signage equipment currently installed at garrisons will be transferred to Garrison Family and MWR Directorates NAF property books.

IMCOM G9 Marketing and Interactive Solutions is responsible for program oversight, help desk support, training, and funding of all expenses associated with the digital signage content management software, telecommunications between display and server, site surveys for display placement approval, initial installation and, contingent upon funding, indoor digital signage hardware. A detailed list of IMCOM G9 responsibilities is available at http:// www.MWRBrandCentral.com.

Garrison Family and MWR Directorates are responsible for electrical requirements, touch labor support for maintenance, outdoor LED billboards, and updated demographic information for each display location. A detailed list of garrison responsibilities and a guide are available at www.MWRBrandCentral.com. See Appendix RR for advertising specifications.

IMCOM MWR Enterprise Web

IMCOM G9 has determined that all garrison Family and MWR non-appropriated fund (NAF) websites will be consistent in appearance and functionality. The IMCOM MWR Enterprise Web has been identified as the platform for producing and hosting all garrison Family and MWR websites. HQ, IMCOM G9 will oversee compliance with Enterprise Web requirements and other technical garrison registration.

IMCOM G9 has approved and selected Concrete 5 as the standardized Content Management System (CMS) to unify the overall appearance, format and functionality of all garrison Family and MWR websites and ArmyMWR.com. This effort is intended to reinforce IMCOM messaging and provide a sense of familiarity to Army community members as they transition from garrison to garrison. Implementation of a unified, centrally-managed CMS is a HQ, IMCOM G9 revenue-generating initiative which leverages shared messaging and advertising content. It will provide cost savings in labor, development and hosting services (versus the current practice of individually-managed websites).

Per Operations Order 15-001 garrison Family and MWR Directorates must apply and register for transition into the IMCOM MWR Enterprise Web. Supporting information and registration form is located at www.MWRBrandCentral.com.

Garrison Family and MWR Directorates under a contractual agreement with a web-service provider will transition into the Enterprise Web immediately upon expiration of their existing web-service contract on or before 30 September 2018. Implementation and integration of non-appropriated fund MWR websites will be at no cost to garrisons transitioning into the IMCOM MWR Enterprise Web.

Information on commercial advertising pricing on the Enterprise web can be found in Chapter 7 - Sponsorship Investment (Pricing.)

Social Media

Social media has become a major source of information. Although it is strongly advised not to put advertising on social media, it still can be used to promote sponsors of MWR events by integrating the sponsor names in content about events.

Third Party Advertising

There are two different kinds to Third Party Advertising.

1. In some cases, companies approach installations and offer to provide kiosks, score boards, etc. at “no cost” to the installation in exchange for the authorization to sell advertising on these media. Such agreements must adhere to AR 215-1 and must be executed through the NAF Contracting office and not through the Sponsorship and Advertising office. The company must be provided with a list of prohibited advertiser categories and companies.

The sponsorship and advertising managers should evaluate each offer and inform their Family and MWR Director and/or garrison commander of the impact that a third party advertising contract will have on potential advertising income obtained through the MWR sponsorship and advertising program.

2. A marketing agency might approach the MWR sponsorship and advertising office on behalf of one of their clients and suggest an advertising campaign either via banners, posters or web. In such case, an advertising agreement will be entered into with the agency on behalf of their client and the agency will receive proof of performance and pay the advertising fee. Such an agreement might expand into more advertising through this agency and potentially generate more revenue for MWR.

Sponsorship and Advertising Agreements

All commercial sponsorship and advertising agreements must be in writing and must receive legal review prior to entering into the agreement and prior to signature of the parties. Sponsorship and advertising personnel must ensure sponsorship and/or advertising agreements do not affect existing contracts.

Agreements are valid for one year or less, with annual renewals not to exceed five years. This does not preclude the award of a new agreement after the initial five- year period. Right of First Refusal is a negotiable item and should not be routinely included in all sponsorship agreements. Agreements must include the following:

  • Event or program description (for sponsorship agreements)
  • Medium such as print, web, digital signage etc. (for advertising agreements)
  • Detailed summary of MWR obligations
  • Detailed summary of entitlements (benefits) granted to the sponsoring/advertising company or organization
  • Amount (cash and/or in-kind) the sponsor has agreed to provide and address where check should be mailed or product should be delivered. Many sponsors prefer to pay electronically; the bank account information can be obtained from the Financial Management Office. Only the Financial Management office is authorized to accept payments for the NAFI, therefore the payment address should be the installation financial management office address
  • Term and termination clause
  • Certification that no costs incurred by the company are charged to any part of the Federal government
  • Force Majeure clause
  • Independent contractor clause
  • Assignment clause
  • Disclaimers
  • Contact Information of sponsorship manager
  • Signature of an Army representative, usually the DFMWR (or designated individual.) The sponsorship manager must not sign the agreement to avoid a potential conflict of interest.
  • Signature of the sponsor representative

Sponsorship disclaimers, such as “No official U.S. Army endorsement is implied,” must be included on all print materials, digital signage and websites containing sponsor recognition of any kind. For alcohol sponsorships, a responsible use campaign such as “Please Drink Responsibly” must also be included. Please use the appropriate disclaimers that have been legally reviewed by your local JAG office.

Printed materials, provided by sponsors for use in conjunction with an MWR program or event, should incorporate appropriate sponsorship disclaimers in the sponsors’ printed materials.

All sponsorship and advertising agreements must be legally reviewed by the installation Judge Advocate General. Agreement templates are provided at Appendix H and Appendix I.


The commercial sponsorship agreement is a detailed description of the responsibilities of the sponsor and the MWR activity. Agreements are written for both solicited and unsolicited sponsorship. All sponsorship agreements must have legal review and concurrence. The agreement is not valid until signed and dated by both parties. Agreements will not exceed a one-year period. Annual renewal options, if any, will not exceed five years. This does not prevent a new sponsorship agreement with the sponsor after the five year term is up. Commercial sponsorship is not conducted through verbal agreements.

Agreement Contents

Each agreement should first state who the agreement is between: the company and Family and MWR. It should then describe the event or program being sponsored. The responsibilities of both parties should then be described in as much detail as possible. This helps to preclude any misunderstandings and false expectations. Any items that must display the disclaimer should be described here along with an example of an approved disclaimer.

In addition to outlining the responsibilities of the parties, the agreement must contain the following clauses: terms and termination; Force Majeure; and Assignment. It is required that the sponsor certify, in writing, that no cost of the sponsorship will be charged to the Federal government. This certification should be incorporated in the agreement.

The Term and Termination clause states the length of time the agreement is valid. It also allows both parties the right to terminate the agreement if there is a breach of any of the terms set forth in the agreement.

The Force Majeure clause assures that no party is responsible for events that are unforeseeable and beyond reasonable control such as weather delays, terrorism, civil disobedience, acts of the public enemy, lock out freight embargoes or acts of God.

The Assignment clause prevents sponsors from selling or transferring their rights to an event or program to a third party without the written consent of MWR.

In agreements with alcohol (including beer) companies, it is advisable to include clauses that make clear that the sponsorship is for advertising and promotional rights only. It is against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms rules and regulations for an alcohol company to buy the right to sell their products. This does not preclude the installation from choosing to sell the sponsor’s products at an event. This clause is for the protection of the alcohol company, and many will not sign an agreement without this clause. In many cases, the alcohol companies have their own clauses for their protection (and MWR’s) and they will insist that their clause is used. The use of the sponsor’s clause is permissible. Sometimes a telephone call between the JAG and the company’s lawyers is necessary to come to a commonly acceptable use of language.

Agreement Addendum

Sometimes it is necessary to amend a signed agreement due to a change in the event or program or in the scope of the sponsorship. This can be done by drawing up an agreement addendum. The addendum states the parties to the agreement and the changes required. To be valid, the addendum must be signed by both parties after legal review. For a sample Addendum, see Appendix J.

Legal Review

All sponsorship agreements and addenda must be reviewed by the SJA’s Office. Legal review and concurrence is required by DoD and DA commercial sponsorship policy and guidance.

Multi-year Agreements

Commercial sponsorship agreements are valid for a period of one year or less. This does not preclude granting the sponsor the Right of Renewal or Right of First Refusal for up to five years. Both of these clauses are of potential value to a sponsor.

The Right of Renewal allows the sponsor the right to sponsor the event again, provided the event is conducted by MWR. It also defines the terms of the agreement including a change in benefits to the sponsor, if there is any increase in the sponsorship fee, or if there is a change in venue/talent/project. If a sponsor exercises its right to renew, an agreement clearly defining the rights and responsibilities of both parties should be drafted and signed by both parties. This agreement requires legal review. If a company is given a Right of Renewal and chooses to exercise this right, and if MWR is conducting the event, the renewal must be honored, even if another sponsor in the same category offers more. It is very important that the Right of Renewal is not given carelessly to every sponsor.

The Right of First Refusal allows the sponsoring company the right to meet any bona fide offer made by a potential sponsor in their category. If a sponsor exercises their Right of First Refusal, within the time agreed upon in the original agreement, and if they can meet the potential sponsor’s offer, and if the event is being conducted, the Right of First Refusal must be honored. When inserting the Right of First Refusal clause in the original agreement, care should be taken when determining the date for the sponsor to notify MWR of its intent to ensure adequate time to allow the solicitation of other sponsors.

The original agreement and any annual renewals (Right of First Refusal or Right of Renewal) will not exceed a total of five years. This does not preclude the award of a new agreement to the same sponsor after the initial five-year period.

Standing Agreements to be Honored

Consideration must be given to contracts and agreements that are currently in place. MWR management will advise Exchange management of commercial sponsorship proposals and agreements to ensure that such agreements do not violate existing Exchange policy, contracts, or understandings. Standing MWR contracts and agreements must also be honored. Areas of particular concern are telecommunications agreements, travel agency contracts and, in overseas areas, automobile concessionaires. Consideration must be given to local on-post banks and credit unions. The banking regulation prohibits off-post banks and credit unions advertising at Army installations and severely limits sponsorship of events. Off-post financial institutions may not promote services and products that are offered by on-post financial institutions. Additionally the Financial Management Command issued a policy letter, dated March 25, 2014, that prohibits display of names including anything that might refer to anything ‘financial’. Phone numbers are only allowed if they lead directly to a service not offered by the on-post financial institutions and web links/websites have to go to a website without any links to financial services. See Appendix K.

Another area to be honored is educational institutions. The local Education Services Officer (ESO) at the installation Army Education Center must be consulted for every educational institution that wants to sponsor or advertise. To speed up the process, sponsorship managers should check the DoD website http://www.dodmou.com/Home/InstitutionList to make sure the institution has an MOU with DoD in place; then ask the institution to complete the forms at Appendix L before consulting with the ESO. For more information on educational institutions see Appendix M.

For national promotions, IMCOM G9 Marketing will work with the IMCOM G1 POC to get approval for the sponsorship/advertising from the participating installations. The IMCOM G9 Commercial Sponsorship and Advertising Program coordinator will inform the garrisons, once approval has been received from the IMCOM G1 POC. This procedure does not eliminate the requirement for the garrison commercial sponsorship/advertising manager to coordinate with the local ESO for garrison initiated sponsorship and/or advertising prior to entering into an agreement.

Commercial Sponsorship Office Role

The Commercial Sponsorship Office is the central point of contact for all commercial sponsorship conducted by the installation’s MWR program. The sponsorship office is responsible for coordinating the direct solicitation for all MWR events and programs and for receiving unsolicited proposals for sponsorship. The sponsorship office must work closely with activity managers to develop their sponsorship proposals, to help activity managers understand sponsorship, and to build equity in their events. The sponsorship office is also responsible for composing the written agreements, outlining the responsibilities of MWR and the sponsoring corporation’s responsibilities, and for ensuring they have legal review and concurrence. Sponsorship managers are not responsible for issuing invoices but they need to provide the necessary information to the installation financial manager together with a copy of the signed sponsorship or advertising agreement. Only the Financial Management office can issue invoices. Commercial Sponsorship managers must ensure proper file documentation, including the sponsorship request from activity managers, proposals, sponsorship agreement, invoice, and after-action report. Commercial Sponsorship and Advertising personnel should build and maintain a good relationship with their partners, such as the SJA Office, Financial Management, Family and MWR Program Managers as well as other program managers with whom agreements for critical category sponsors need to be coordinated to ensure success of the sponsorship program. When soliciting sponsorship for national programs such as the Soldier Show, Operation Rising Star, Strong Bands etc. the sponsorship manager must coordinate with the IMCOM G9 Commercial Sponsorship and Advertising Program Coordinator which categories of sponsors can be solicited to avoid conflicts with national sponsorships.

Program Manager’s Role

The Program Manager is responsible for informing the Commercial Sponsorship Office of support needed for their events and programs. The program manager should budget for the events and should provide event information including dates, location, expected attendance, and sponsor benefits. For a sample Sponsorship Request Form, see Appendix N. Ideally, requests for sponsorship should be made at least 9 to 12 months prior to the event and sometimes 18 months in advance. The Program Manager also plays a vital role in ensuring the execution of sponsor benefits and providing important information for the after action report.

Contracting Office Role

To avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, NAF contracting officials will not be directly or indirectly involved in the solicitation of commercial sponsors. NAF contracting officials have no approval authority for commercial sponsorship agreements. Contracting officials may act in an advisory capacity in developing the commercial sponsorship solicitation package, and evaluation criteria, in ensuring there is no conflict with existing contracts and on deciding whether vendors are barred from doing business with the government. Contracting officials may also advise on companies currently doing business with Army MWR and new companies.

NAF Contracting must be involved if a sponsor wishes to enter into a concessionaire’s contract. Such a contract cannot be entered into through a commercial sponsorship agreement.

Staff Judge Advocate Role

All sponsorship agreements require legal review and concurrence. The SJA Office should assist the sponsorship office in developing an agreement template. SJA should also act in an advisory capacity in the areas of ethics and standards of conduct. Local SJA may forward legal questions and concerns to the IMCOM G9 SJA through their Region. Sponsorship managers should foster a good relationship with the legal office.

The SJA should be the first resource for a sponsorship or advertising manager in case of questions regarding sponsorship or advertising of events and in MWR media. It is up to the garrison SJA if they want to seek advice from the IMCOM G9 SJA.

Public Affairs Office Role

A close working relationship should be developed between the Commercial Sponsorship and Advertising Office and the Public Affairs Office (PAO.) All work involving outside media sources should be coordinated with PAO. The PAO is not required to mention a commercial sponsor’s name in its editorial text; neither is the PAO precluded from doing so. AR-360-1, Paragraph 13-2 c. Editorial contributions states: “Commercially sponsored Armed Forces Professional Entertainment Program and MWR events may be mentioned with other pertinent facts in news stories and announcements. Event titles using the name of commercial sponsors may be included if newsworthy and if the use clearly meets Army MWR needs.” A diverse promotional plan, consisting of purchased media and editorial, offers the best assurance of sponsor mention. PAOs shall not be expected to promote a company or product just because they are sponsoring an event. Their mission is to provide a communication tool for the Commander, not the sponsor or MWR activities. They can and should promote the event.

Forwarding a sponsor’s press release to the PAO is not an effective way to promote the event or activity; it will most likely not be used by the PAO. Re-writing the release to emphasize how Soldiers and Families benefit, and/or working closely with the PAO to promote how the event supports the Commander’s or Army’s mission is much more effective.

For example:

  • “This event is part of the Army’s effort to bring the Army Family Covenant to Fort Pick-a-post. John Doe, CEO of CoolStuff.com is proud to support the efforts. ….”
  • “CoolStuff.com has partnered with MWR to bring you ….”

Tying the event to existing command messaging will assist in getting buy-in and support from the Command and PAO.

Installation Management Command (IMCOM) G9 Marketing Division Role

IMCOM G9 Marketing sets the parameters for interactive solutions including but not limited to enterprise web and digital signage and offers a suite of marketing enterprise solutions designed to enhance communication strategies for garrison Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Directorates. Future solutions will be integrated and made available to garrison MWR Marketing Offices as they become available. See www.MWRBrandCentral.com for more information.

The IMCOM G9 Marketing Sponsorship and Advertising Program Manager works with sponsors and advertisers who are interested in national agreements, where garrisons will execute the sponsor/advertising benefits and receive funds after forwarding the after action reports or proof of performance to the IMCOM G9 Marketing Sponsorship and Advertising Program Manager in the agreed upon time frame. The IMCOM G9 Commercial Sponsorship and Advertising Program Manager will prepare a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for each garrison for signature that outlines the garrison’s obligations and benefits to be executed as well as the obligations of the IMCOM G9 Marketing Office. Garrison sponsorship and advertising personnel are required to respond to inquiries on prices, benefits and demographics etc. in a timely manner. Such national promotions and agreements complement the garrison sponsorship and advertising program. The garrison sponsorship/advertising managers will receive the financial credit for their participation and should report such funds in their annual income report.

IMCOM G9 Marketing coordinates the Army MWR MasterCard. Garrisons will actively market the Army MWR Credit Card at all Family and MWR point of sale locations worldwide as required by the Customer Payment Solutions credit card contract. Promotion of the Army MWR Credit Card may include onsite event marketing, take one brochure displays, internet and digital marketing. Garrisons that fail to reach the minimum amount of new accounts will forfeit the reduced merchant discount rate provided by the contract.

Guidance for Marketing the Army MWR Credit Card, including detailed information about the Army MWR Credit Card is available at http://www.mwrbrandcentral.com.

Use of Non-appropriated Funds (NAFs) in Support of Commercial Sponsorship and Advertising

Non-appropriated funds can be used, with the Commander’s approval, to support commercial sponsorship in the following ways:

  • Limited expense accounts
  • Sponsor recognition events or showcases
  • Mementos and awards

Please see complete rules for authorized and unauthorized use of non-appropriated funds in Appendix O.

Expense Accounts

Expense accounts are authorized, if approved by the FMWR Director (DFMWR) or equivalent, for the purchase of meals and nonalcoholic beverages in MWR facilities when hosting potential commercial sponsors or advertisers. Meal purchases are restricted to MWR food and beverage facilities. Expenses for alcoholic beverages are not reimbursable. Only the meal(s) for the sponsor(s) may be paid for; sponsorship and advertising personnel and other employees have to pay for their own meals. A sponsorship manager may also invite the potential sponsor to join him/her in activities at the MWR golf course, bowling center or other MWR facilities. Expense account funds must be included in the sponsorship managers operating budget for the fiscal year.

It is highly recommended to make good use of the expense account. It is industry practice in the private industry to invite potential sponsors to a meal, and MWR sponsorship managers compete with sponsorship managers in the private industry for sponsorship funds who do not have the same restrictions MWR sponsorship managers have to adhere to.

Monthly expense accounts should be limited to $150 per month. However, exceptions may be made by the DFMWR or equivalent. Expenses must be recorded in the month in which they are incurred. The expense account is authorized for official business only. Monthly dollar limitations cannot be carried forward to the next month. Annual expenditures cannot exceed amounts designated in approved budgets. Reimbursable expenses are limited to expenses for which receipts are received to include the date, nature of the expense and location, and signature by the individual claiming the expense to verify accuracy.

Expenses for membership fees, registration or attendance at Chamber of Commerce or other civic events do not fall under the expense account category but should be budgeted in the sponsorship manager’s annual operating budget.

Purchases from non-MWR facilities are only authorized if no MWR facility exists.

Sponsor Recognition

Recognition of a commercial sponsors’ contribution to the quality of life of Soldiers and Family members is important in assuring the sponsors’ continued support. Non-appropriated funds may be used for sponsor recognition events such as award luncheons, golf or recreation events, and mementos and awards. The decision to use NAF as one way of saying thank you to sponsors is at the discretion of the DFMWR and is based upon the concept of being a sound business expense. Care should be taken to prevent the perception of favored treatment. It is best if all the installations’ sponsors are recognized at an annual event or if a small awards ceremony is built into a sponsored event. Funds for such events should also be included in the sponsorship NAF operating budget.

Ethical Considerations

Because of the duties and responsibilities of the commercial sponsorship position, care should be taken to follow the rules and regulations governing ethics. Since the Commercial Sponsorship Office is continually dealing with private industry, the perception of conflict of interest and unethical behavior must be avoided at all times. If there are any questions regarding the acceptance of a gratuity or gift, check with your installation ethics counselor. The sponsorship and advertising managers must take the Ethics at Work course annually and forward the certificate to IMCOM G9 Marketing. See Appendix O for Authorized and Prohibited Use of NAFs.

Gifts and Donations to the NAFI

Gifts and donations may be accepted by the NAFI when voluntarily offered and the determination is made that acceptance is in the best interest of the Army. Gifts and donations may not be solicited. However, in response to an appropriate inquiry from a donor, needs of the NAFI may be identified. Special concessions; advertising rights; and sponsor benefits cannot be given to donors. Regulations supporting the gift program are AR 215-1; and AR 1-100.

Due to the potential conflict of interest, a sponsorship/advertising manager should never be the donation coordinator as this could lead to a conflict of interest.

Acceptance of Gifts and Gratuities

The Joint Ethics Regulation, 5 CFR, Sec. 2635.201 (et seq.) governs the personal acceptance of gifts and gratuities. The following are considered gifts and cannot be accepted: non-meal food and refreshments, cards, plaques, bank loans, items paid for by the government, or items for which you pay market value. As an exception to the gift rule, you may accept a gift from an outside source, such as a meal or promotional item, as long as the retail value does not exceed $20 per occasion and you do not accept more than $50 per year from the same source. Other exceptions can be made for the following: personal relationships; discounts/benefits; awards or degrees; outside business relations; widely attended events; social invitations; local government or civil events; and scholarships or grants. Under no circumstances can you accept a gift or gratuity from an outside source if the gift is given solely because of your position with the Army.

Financial Disclosure Form OGE 450

All sponsorship and advertising managers and their supervisors are required to file an annual Confidential Financial Disclosure Report, OGE 450. This form reports your personal financial interests and positions. It is used primarily to determine whether any actual or potential conflicts of interest exist.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

The Department of Defense (DoD) Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms defines standard operating procedure (SOP) as “a set of instructions covering those features of operations which lend themselves to a definite or standardized procedure without loss of effectiveness.” The procedure is applicable unless ordered otherwise. In simple terms, an SOP establishes the procedures for how an activity functions.

Each commercial sponsorship office should develop an SOP. The SOP should address the applicable Army and DoD regulations and guidance that govern the Commercial Sponsorship and Advertising Program but should also be installation specific. The basic premise for the document is to ensure that anyone who is in contact with the Sponsorship and Advertising Program is aware of the steps to follow in order to make the program successful.

The Commercial Sponsorship and Advertising SOP lays out the step-by-step procedures the installation Commercial Sponsorship Manager, Program Manager, and DFMWR will follow in the sponsorship arena. Every SOP should have these key elements:

  • References. The DA, IMCOM and Region policy and guidance that governs the Commercial Sponsorship and Advertising Program;
  • Introduction. A brief explanation of sponsorship and advertising or the history of sponsorship on the installation
  • Principles. The governing philosophy of the Army MWR Commercial Sponsorship and Advertising Program
  • Installation Specific Sponsorship Timeline/Procedures. Outline of the roles of each activity involved in the commercial sponsorship and advertising process
  • Management Control Procedures. The invoicing, recording, and accounting procedures of the installation Commercial Sponsorship and Advertising Program Reports. Reporting requirements of the installation, Region or IMCOM G9 Marketing.

Management Controls

Management controls are the checks and balances of the program. The Commercial Sponsorship Manager has a fiduciary responsibility to the NAFI and must take every precaution to ensure that income, goods, and services are reported properly. Following the prescribed DA and local management control policies will safeguard you as the program manager and guarantee the integrity of the sponsorship and advertising program. Management control procedures must be incorporated into the Commercial Sponsorship SOP.

Management controls should be developed locally for the receipt and disbursement of goods and services obtained through commercial sponsorship. For example, the commercial sponsorship staff would be required to sign the delivery ticket form at the time the sponsor’s product is delivered. The sponsorship staff would then issue a receipt to the MWR activity when the goods or products are given to the activity manager who oversees the program hosting the sponsored event. When accepting property obtained through sponsorship, the Logistics Branch will be notified of the property. The notification will include any serial numbers and the value of the property. The Logistics Branch will then add the property to the official installation property book. The management controls will vary from installation to installation; the preceding are examples of management controls. See Appendix P for an Organizational Inspection Program (OIP) Checklist Form.

Record keeping and Accounting Procedures

Staff members in charge of commercial sponsorship activities must keep accurate files on each sponsorship initiative. The file must contain, at minimum, the following:

  • Sponsor’s name, organization and contact information
  • Event or program sponsored
  • Solicitation documentation
  • Legal concurrence memo/form
  • Signed agreement
  • Amount of sponsor’s assistance, cash, goods, and services (retail value)
  • Copy of invoice
  • Copy of check/statement from Financial Management that cash was received
  • Installation MOAs/MOUs

Other documents that could be part of the file documentation process are:

  • Telephone/conversation records
  • Meeting notes
  • Internal MOAs/MOUs
  • Copies of thank-you letters
  • After-action report

Chapter 3: Financial Management Operating Guidance and Income Reporting

Accounting Procedures

Staff members in charge of commercial sponsorship activities must keep accurate records of all transactions to provide an audit trail for the receipt of all cash, goods, and services obtained through the sponsorship program. A separation of duties must be in place to ensure proper management controls as they relate to the receipt of monies for sponsorship. All monetary transactions must be made by check or through wire or electronic transfer. Sponsorship personnel must never receive the payment from a sponsor; payments for any sponsorship or advertising should be submitted directly to the Financial Management Division (FMD) to be deposited and credited to the proper general ledger account code for sponsorship (GLAC 553) or advertising (GLAC 557.)

If payment is received prior to an event, it is categorized as “unearned” cash and put into GLAC 267 where it remains until the event takes place. Then it is transferred to GLAC 553.

If an event takes place in the next fiscal year but payment is received during the previous fiscal year, the income will not be reported until after the event takes place (i.e., Oktoberfest is scheduled for 4 October of FY16 but payment is received on 1 September of FY15, the income will be reported in FY16).

It is recommended a sponsorship manager obtains higher cash amounts from sponsors for larger events to potentially cover sponsorship for smaller, hard to sell events. In such cases, the amount requested for the large event will be allocated to that event; the remaining amount will stay in GLAC 267 for later use for events for which no sponsorship could be obtained.

For every sponsored event involving a cash fee, an invoice documenting the dollar amount being charged must be produced. The invoice must be produced and mailed by the Financial Manager. Sponsorship and advertising managers will not issue invoices. The invoice should include the fee charged, agreement number, name of the event sponsored, and FMD address for payment. Payment should be in the form of a check or may be transmitted electronically, in such case the financial manager should provide the bank name, address, routing number and account number to which payment should be submitted. For sample invoices see Appendix Q.

Financial Management Operating Guidance

In FY01, sponsorship and advertising income reporting procedures were included in the Financial Management Operating Guidance for the first time. By then, the overall Army MWR commercial sponsorship and advertising income had grown from $600K, received during the first year that sponsorship was authorized by Army and DoD, to $3.3 M. In FY14 the total Army MWR sponsorship and advertising income was almost $16.1 M.

Sponsorship managers should assume financial responsibility and submit an annual budget for income and expenses associated with the sponsorship and advertising program.

Starting in FY16, benchmarks for sponsorship and advertising personnel have been implemented. The goal for every full-time sponsorship and/or advertising manager has to obtain cash sponsorship and/or advertising of at least 2 times their salary. For those personnel that perform sponsorship/advertising solicitation only part-time: they have to bring in at least 2 times the percentage of their salary that is spent on sponsorship duties. Example: A marketing assistant performs sponsorship duties about 25 percent of her/his duties; so 25 percent of their salary is spent on such duties. In that case, the assistant has to solicit a minimum of 50 percent of the salary. More details on this can be found in the FY16 MWR Operating Guidance/Standard Operating Procedure and FY16 IMCOM Command Guidance, which can be downloaded from the IMCOM SharePoint website. The documents can also be obtained at each garrison.

Income and Expense Reporting

Starting FY16, installations will be required to enter each of their sponsorship and advertising agreements through RecTrac once they are signed. Training will be provided prior to the start of FY16 and guidelines, provided by IMCOM G9 Marketing, will be posted on www.MWRBrandCentral.com.

Guidelines for Measurement of Sponsorship:

  • Cash Sponsorship

Cash sponsorship is reported in its full value. Measurement: 100%

  • In-kind Sponsorship (Products and Services)
  • Budgeted or Cost Avoidance Items.

These are items that are included in the program’s operating budget. Examples are trophies, entertainment, uniforms, cell phones, media or other items that the program or event manager would have to buy for the event. Cost avoidance items are not included in cash sponsorship but are in-kind items that are items that MWR would have had to buy if the sponsor had not provided them.

Measurement: 100% of cost of goods (COGS) or what the Fund would pay to purchase the item

  • Media.

Examples are newspapers, radio stations, television stations, billboards, cable companies, internet companies or other media organizations.

Measurement: 50% of stated retail or rate card value after subtracting all advertising purchased by the installation

  • Program Enhancement.

Examples are free drawing or raffle prizes and trips or items not included in the program or event budget, but that increase the perceived value of the program or event. Prizes for chance events, such as a Hole in One Golf Contest, would be categorized under program enhancement if the prize is won.

Measurement: 50% of stated retail value for any single item valued at $150 or higher

Income in the form of products and services, other than in-kind, is not documented on the financial statement, so it is important to keep precise records. If you receive cash to be given to the winner of a promotion that should be counted as in-kind, since the money is not for Family and MWR but goes to the winner.

Guidelines for Advertising are as follows:

Fee for advertising should always be cash. Measurement: 100%

In some cases, particularly if advertising is related to sponsorship, advertising income can be in- kind; in this case, the same guidelines apply as for sponsorship in-kind.

Chapter 4: Program/Event Planning

Formalizing a Systematic Approach

How do you begin to approach the actual implementation of a sponsorship strategy? To start, you must understand two important points:

  • Sponsorship works best as part of a committed and systematic plan
  • You are working on the sponsor’s timelines, not your own

The Commitment to a Systematic Plan is the First Step

The retrieval of major sponsorship funding is a long-term and ongoing project. Although there are many helpful tips and systems to use, sponsorship is more of an “art” than a “science.” Many sponsorship deals are dependent on the relationships you establish with the sponsor’s decision-makers. Although your materials may be wonderful, and your event fantastic, hundreds of thousands of worthy organizations are continuing to jump into the competition for sponsor dollars. With proper planning and scheduling you will not have to worry about the competitive marketplace because you will be reaching the sponsors at the right time with the right message.

It is necessary to make a long-term commitment to having a sponsorship development program and to get key leadership and management support at every level. This manual is full of suggestions for communication and committee structures to garner such support; but the reality is, each installation will have its own set of opportunities and challenges. Developing open lines of communication and encouraging a spirit of cooperation are the first places to start.

Understanding the Sponsor’s Planning Timelines

The second step to successful sponsorship solicitation is to understand that you are working on the sponsors’ timelines, not your own. The timeline of the sponsor depends on the point-of-entry for your request (local, regional, national) and the scope of the project (how many associated promotions or activities are included.) The timelines are also different by industry and by the budgeting time frame of the sponsor.

When do sponsors plan their sponsorship budgets? In order to determine when to approach the sponsor for their marketing dollars you should confirm their fiscal year: is it January to December or September to August? Those dates impact their planning decisions. When do they budget? There is no hard and fast rule; however, in most instances, they are planning a minimum of three months before the end of their fiscal year and, in larger and more sophisticated sponsors, they could be working one and even two years ahead to block out their major expenditures and determine the events they will support. It is your responsibility to find out when their budgeting process takes place. The easiest way? Call them and ask!

Exceptions to the General Rules

Of course, there are exceptions to every general rule, and here are a few that apply to commercial sponsorship:

  • If a sponsor really wants to become a part of your event or target the military community, they can usually find the money or in-kind products. Sponsorship funding can come from many budgets, such as advertising, community relations, and promotions. The key here is to develop, and use, your internal sponsor relationship that will make the sponsorship possible at times other than during the budget cycle. (See Chapter 5 entitled STRATEGIES for a complete list of all departments with sponsorship money)
  • Sometimes budgeted money isn’t all spent and you have an opportunity to tap into budgeted money that sponsors want to spend. Again, the key is working with the person inside the company who knows the budget status and supports your events
  • Some companies have very extensive formulas for determining the ratio of dollars spent to the value received. If your events don’t fit, you are not considered
  • Other companies have internal committees which meet on specific timetables and have policies on what is to be considered and what fits within their marketing strategies
  • In order to be successful, it is important to establish individual sponsor contacts and begin to build records on the specifics of each organization and their sponsorship policies as well as their sponsorship criteria. This information may take time to acquire, learn and understand. This is one of the major contributors to the fact that sponsorship is a long-term commitment to a systematized process

Creating Your Sponsorship Opportunities Menu

Once you are committed to continuing the process of developing and refining your sponsorship plan, it is time to develop the systems that work for your installation so you have clearly defined all the opportunities.

Following are the basic components covered in this section:

  • Review and Analyze Your Past Major Events
  • Reach Out to Key Installation Contacts: Creation of Procedures
  • Review and Analyze Other Installations’ Successful Events, Ideas, and Contacts
  • Creating Something New: Where to Find Ideas
  • Look at Army Special Dates

Review and Analyze Your Past Major Events

The first place to start is with your major events. The major established events are probably most valuable to sponsors because:

  • You have a track record of success to demonstrate the effectiveness of their sponsorship investment
  • You are likely to have specific details about the audience (demographics, psychographics), attendance, food and beverage consumption, and styles of marketing/coverage
  • These are the events that offer the largest attendance numbers at one time
  • These events are more likely to have greater media coverage or involvement, which has value to sponsors

To help in this process, we have created a generic Sponsorship Opportunity Audit (Post Event Report) for you to use to think through your event details, the value of the various sponsorship elements and how this value can be demonstrated to your sponsors. For a sample Sponsorship Opportunity Audit/Post Event Report, see Appendix R.

Remember, as you review your events and establish what is available for sponsorship, you must always ask the hard question, “What measurable results can I guarantee to my sponsor?” There are two critical words here:

Measurable, which implies only the tangible components of your sponsorship offerings and elements which we will discuss later.

Guarantee, which means you are positive you can produce the results.

All friendship and goodwill aside, sponsors are buying results. Their goal is to pay the lowest price for the greatest return on their investment and that fits their specific set of needs, on their timetable. You are in competition with others who think they can deliver those results better that you can. (See Chapter 5 entitled STRATEGIES for a listing of the many reasons companies get involved in sponsorship.)

Reach Out to Key Installation Contacts: Creation of Procedures

While looking at your largest events, reach out to anyone on the installation who may have either sponsorship solicitation ideas or event ideas and that need sponsorship. This process can be very personal and is based on how your installation is organized.

When reaching out to your program managers be sure to include in your cover memorandum the context in which you are writing to them. It is good to mention that the more information they provide to you the more effective you can be in the sponsorship solicitation process. Make sure you stress that every request for sponsorship funding may not get fulfilled but that the more information you have, in an accurate and timely fashion, the more reasonable it can be to assume that sponsorship will be feasible. The other reason you need as much data as possible is that there might be a process of assessing installation-wide packaging to maximize sponsorship opportunities and generate greater sponsorship dollars overall. Make sure you send this request for information no later than mid-third quarter so you have sufficient time to generate sponsorship dollars. Give your program managers regular updates on the status of their request(s) and how to interact with you on new opportunities that may come up after their request is filed. Also encourage them to keep you up-to-date on any program changes that occur during the year … events added, events modified, events removed.

Whatever you decide, the outreach and input/request procedure should be standardized and put in writing. With this policy, you can communicate the expectations of the key contacts’ roles with Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) and Memorandums of Agreement (MOA.) These documents will help keep clear communication and role definition in the sponsorship solicitation and execution process. They can also act as educational tools to inform these key contacts of the specifics of the person who is trained to do sponsorship solicitation and to stress the importance that this person is the only contact that is qualified to solicit sponsors. For a sample MOA, see Appendix S.

Review and Analyze Other Installations’ Successful Events, Ideas, and Contacts

Another place to look for input into the variety of opportunities for your own sponsorship offerings is to look at the success of other similar-size installations. Pick up the telephone and talk to your fellow sponsorship professionals to see what is working for them and how they fund their activities. Try to get copies of everything from promotional plans and after-action reports (post event reports) to sponsorship offerings. Will they be willing to go through their local contacts to help you find a sponsor contact in your area? Do they have positive sponsor feedback or testimonials that can be used in your sales materials? What mistakes have they learned from? What successes have they had? Do they have any other advice?

In return, offer to share information about your events and sponsorship activities. As always, thank the person for their support. Army MWR sponsorship professionals are a small community competing with other forces for military marketing budgets for Army MWR programs and events. Remember, our mission is to support Soldiers and their Families by promoting and contributing to quality events that meet that goal and present a positive image of MWR to our patrons. Working together cooperatively benefits everyone.

Creating Something New: Where to Find Ideas

Finally, you may want to create brand-new ideas for sponsor involvement.

There are many places to look for new ideas, including:

  • IEG, LLC (Insights, Evaluation and Guidance)

This organization serves as a resource for event managers and sponsorship directors by providing seminars, conferences, and reading materials such as:

  • Live Webinars
  • IEG Access
  • IEG Sponsorship Report
  • IEG's Guide to Sponsorship

IMCOM G9 Marketing provides all garrisons a subscription to IEG Access, which is a bundled offering of IEG’s most valuable news, insights, intelligence and contacts

Get the inside track from IEG with a year-round subscription to IEG Access. Your subscription includes:

  • News, analysis and insights from IEG Sponsorship Report
  • Practical, real-world training with a subscription to IEG Sponsorship Webinars
  • List of active sponsors across 35 categories ranging from airlines, auto and insurance to beverage, financial and telecom
  • Military Club & Hospitality Magazine
  • This magazine, published by the International Military Community Executives Association (IMCEA), features important MWR market data, location profiles, names in the news, and new product information
  • Promo Magazine - This monthly guide focuses more on point-of-sale promotions at retail, the latest industry trends, and the people behind the ideas
  • Special Events Magazine - This is a monthly publication featuring event and implementation ideas with lots of resources for buying everything from decor to cooking devices
  • Event Marketer - This industry publication focuses on experiential and activation programs that are undertaken by major sponsors. It provides not only a wealth of ideas but also includes a resource guide for contacts for sponsorship, mobile marketing tours and other sponsor contact information
  • Army Special Dates - A few special dates are celebrated in the Army including:
    • The Month of the Military Child - April
    • Memorial Day - Last Monday in May
    • Armed Forces Day - May 18
    • Army Birthday - June 14
    • Independence Day - July 4
    • Veterans Day - November 11

Your Individualized Sponsorship Program

You have done your homework and gathered all the event sponsorship possibilities available to take to sponsors. Now, you need to develop your menu of opportunities. This process includes:

  • Setting Your Measurable Goals and Objectives
  • Prioritizing the Activities and Opportunities
  • Creating an Overall Solicitation Marketing Piece that Highlights Both Single Events or Groups of Events

Setting Your Measurable Goals and Objectives

Every program needs to have specific measurable goals before you begin deciding what is in that program. Although you would love to have millions of dollars to pay for all your expenses and allow you to keep all profits generated by every event, the reality is that this is a dream, not a goal. The best plan here is to set definite goals, not only for the value of both cash and in-kind services, but for the program as a whole. Because the sponsorship needs for recurring events are always changing, these goals will grow and change accordingly. Think of the goals as your business plan and the company as the sponsorship area of that plan.

All installations will set their own goals and the specific measurements to reach these goals. Some possible areas to consider include:

Goal: To expose your installation to “x” number of potential sponsors

Measurement: Number of potential sponsors you contacted

Goal: To develop relationships with “x” number of sponsors in “x”categories

Measurement: Number of sponsor contacts with whom you have developed a business relationship

Goal: To create an extensive sponsor database that includes all sponsor contacts, sponsoring organization policies, timetables for sponsorship decisions, past Army MWR sponsoring history, and all ongoing contact information (calls, letters, e-mails, etc.)

Measurement: The accuracy of the database and the extensive record keeping for ongoing use

Goal: To provide all MWR commercial sponsorship with the latest information and sales tools for effective sponsorship sales and to broaden their Army-wide network of other sponsor professionals

Measurement: Attendance at Army MWR and other sponsorship training as well as providing publication and Internet resources (webinars, conferences, white papers, etc.)

Goal: To raise “x” in cash and in-kind sponsorship support for the installation.

Measurement: Amount raised in cash and in-kind

The reason you need such a variety of goals is because the relationship building and staff development that are so critical to financial success take time and intentional energy. It is impossible to land a sponsorship deal without a detailed plan with realistic measurable goals. Meeting non-cash goals is just as important as cash since items that MWR pays for can be offset by in-kind sponsorship.

Prioritization of Activities and Opportunities

When creating your sponsorship strategic plan you must prioritize the events and programs you are trying to have sponsored. Use the Sponsorship Request Form, (see Appendix N) to gather the information needed on events and programs desiring sponsorship. It is important to prioritize sponsorship requests for events-based on MWR’s ability to meet its needs as well as the goals of potential sponsors. Some MWR events will be more appealing to potential sponsors than others and should be featured in the annual sponsorship opportunities sales piece or individual sponsorship proposals. Many factors will play into where the sponsorship sales time and resources will be allocated. This is not a sponsorship- manager-only decision. The desires of the Command, as well as the needs of the installation MWR, must be considered. There is no right or wrong way of deciding. On some installations the FMWR Director determines the priorities for sponsorship, on others a panel is convened to determine the ranking for events and programs seeking sponsorship support. Whatever the ultimate decision, an event or program must meet the potential sponsors’ marketing goals and objectives or it will not receive sponsorship support.

How to Develop an Overall Solicitation Marketing Piece

Once you have defined the sponsorship opportunities available to sponsors, your next step is to develop the communication tools you will need to communicate your sponsorship properties and offerings to potential sponsors. Chapter 8 entitled SUCCESSFUL PROPOSALS addresses the actual writing of the sponsorship-specific proposals. At this point, your focus is on creating the basic information about the installation and your commitment to partnering with sponsors to meet their needs.

Creating the Piece

Your annual overall solicitation marketing piece is the showcase of all the sponsorship opportunities your installation has to offer. In creating this “overview,” you can list everything including smaller projects and activities as well as the larger events. The purpose of the piece is to give the overall story of the upcoming year of opportunities and to “whet the appetite” of sponsors for the specific activities.

Remember, this piece will be read by people who are outsiders to the Army and your programs, so always include the following information:

  • Name of installation
  • Location - city and state
  • Installation demographics
  • Overview of the focus of the installation, key details about the history of your Soldiers and their successes
  • General photos, maps, logos or anything else that represents the installation
  • Possible overall schedule of the year (this information dates the piece and makes it tough if you make changes;) this should be done as a separate insert
  • Highlights or pictures of your annual event(s)
  • Name (or at least staff position), address, phone, fax, and e-mail address of the sponsorship point-of-contact (POC)
  • Total list of inventory/assets (posters, flyers, banners, on-site sampling, etc.) including media partners.
  • Testimonials, comments from past sponsors

For a sample Sponsorship and Advertising Solicitation Piece, see Appendices T-1, T-2, T-3.

Using the Annual Solicitation Piece

Once you have developed your annual solicitation piece you can now use it to educate and recruit new sponsors. This does not take the place of personal relationship and partnership selling but is, rather, an education tool that makes potential sponsors aware of the many different opportunities provided by the military. You can use this piece to:

  • Give each contributing activity area extra copies to use as they promote their programs
  • Give copies to the command and key staff to showcase your sponsorship
  • efforts and to educate them on what you are selling
  • Add a letter of introduction and mail to all potential sponsor contacts with an introductory letter and invitation to meet
  • Use your solicitation piece at special event and marketing conferences as an opportunity to network and showcase your opportunities
  • Use the piece as an educational brochure and include with every specific sponsorship proposal

One of the benefits of the annual solicitation piece is that it is just another marketing opportunity for your sponsors. If you have any long-standing relationships with sponsors of particular events, you may want to feature their logo on the piece as long as the sponsor provides written consent. The sponsors will, of course, want to know how many pieces are being printed, when they are being distributed and to whom. The positive aspect of using sponsor logos is that it shows you have active sponsors, and it positions you as having a successful project. The negative aspect is that a competitive sponsor may be turned off if they think their competition has dominance of your programs. However, the positives far outweigh the negatives. You can always say to a competitor that they can be involved in other projects and, if they like, they can commit now to being on the annual solicitation piece next year.

Event Inventory … All MWR Events Are Sponsorable

Just because every event or program doesn’t fit into a sponsorship solicitation offering does not mean it is not worthwhile or even sponsorable. Often, when you develop relationships and get to really understand sponsors’ needs, you uncover possible opportunities between the company and some of your smaller programs/events. Keep the detailed worksheets of all requests ready for the sponsor match you may find. You could even create a list of “other programs/events available for sponsorship” and add that to your sales pieces or sponsorship opportunity newsletter. Don’t ever give up - just prioritize the biggest hits first to attract the sponsors and begin the relationships. Then offer the smaller things later when you “pull them off the shelf.”

General Tips on Event Creation, Planning and Implementation

At this point, you need to learn about the basics of event planning and management. The role of the sponsorship manager is to seek sponsorships for events and programs. To best serve the sponsors and the MWR activity, knowledge of event planning and implementation is helpful. No matter how great the ideas are, no sponsor will renew unless they are pleased with the end result and their return on investment (ROI.)

Use the following tips and worksheets to refine the systems the installation event team uses in planning the installation’s events and communicating these plans to key people.

Systematizing the Approach to Program Planning and Documentation

One way to save time and money is to systematize the way you approach every event or project. The basics to planning are applicable to each project, and an organized approach makes it easy to involve others in working toward common goals.

To make this planning process simple, please find attached a basic worksheet to be used as a prototype to create your own planning documents. This is a planning document and is for internal use only. This is not to be used with sponsors but rather to help you in planning your sponsorship offerings and determining which sponsors are appropriately suited for which events. For a sample Overall Planning Worksheet, see Appendix U. As you can see, this worksheet begins with the basics of:

  • Event/program name (what, when, date and time, and where)
  • Event description (overview/history)
  • Event demographics
  • Event attendance
  • Event goals with measurable objectives matched to each goal
  • Event assets (posters, flyers, banners, etc.)
  • Project management descriptions
  • Documentation of key details

Using the worksheet leads you through the planning process outlined in this chapter. As you create your own document, you will customize each section for your own installation.

Setting Measurable Goals and Objectives

Once you have developed the program overview, it is suggested that you set specific goals, each with measurable objectives. It is critical to set measurements with each goal you create because these measurements provide a guide as you develop your tactical sales plan for the project. Follow the same process as when you developed your overall sponsorship goals and objectives plan.

The event or project goals are the results you plan to deliver to your sponsor. It is important to write goals down and to communicate them clearly, because they are the building blocks of your sponsorship packages. These goals should parallel what sponsors want in the way of results and benefits. For a sample Setting Goals and Objectives Worksheet, see Appendix V.

Brainstorming the Possibilities

After the goals and measurements are set, it is time to get creative and brainstorm possible ideas. In the initial brainstorming process, there are no bad ideas. Use lots of people and get a variety of viewpoints. Write down each idea on an index card. Now go back to the goals and match each idea to a goal.

Organize all ideas into the goal it supports, and analyze the goal to see if the tactic is measurable. Under each goal, choose the best tactics - the ones that fit in your budget and can be accomplished by your staff and volunteer resources. Always keep the sponsors’ needs in mind, not yours. You will be highly successful in achieving your internal goals if you constantly focus externally on the sponsors’ goals. Again, this brainstorming and setting of goals is an internal process that leads to external sponsor opportunities. You now have the specific elements of your program. For a sample Determining Event Needs Worksheet, see Appendix QQ.

Developing the Budget

Once you have your tactics, you can create the budget for the project. It is very important to budget for every detail, even if you expect to get in-kind support. For your later evaluation, you will want to be able to see the real cost of the entire event and the full value of the sponsorships you obtain. For a sample Building a Budget Worksheet, see Appendix W.

Creating the Marketing and Promotional Plan

The marketing and promotional plan is crucial, because it contains the elements that are critical to sponsorship value. The plan might include all of the following:

  • Communications tools and marketing components
  • Creative cross promotions, both within MWR facilities and with other sponsors
  • Turn-key promotions including activation elements and/or experiential marketing opportunities

Communication Tools and Marketing Components

These elements of your sponsorship opportunities get the marketing message out to your targeted audiences about the event and how to participate. All collateral should be consistent in design and message to present an integrated message to the consumer (military Families, friends, attendees and sponsors.) These materials are important components of the sponsorship offering because they provide sponsors with visible marketing elements that create branding awareness as well as conveying their support of the military.

Such material may include, but are not limited to, the following elements:

  • Event collateral such as posters, flyers, table tents, tray liners, mailers, bill stuffers, maps, program books
  • Advertising – inclusion on print ads, inclusion on radio ads
  • On-site exposure including on-site signage, banners, point-of-purchase displays, theme decorations for events, audio announcements, credentials, name tags, name tag holders
  • Premiums (give-aways) including buttons, hats, T-shirts, jackets, coffee mugs, sunglasses, visors, etc.
  • Ticket order forms, tickets, ticket holders, back of tickets for redemption

In short, anything that provides you with an opportunity to give the sponsor exposure. All of these tools are concrete items that can be assigned values for your sponsorship proposals. When determining your sponsorship pricing each of these elements has an assigned value and those values should be used when determining the sponsorship investment.

Creative Cross Promotions within MWR and with Sponsors

Cross promotions enable you to extend the impact of your sponsorship and give the sponsors extra value. An example of a cross promotion would be if Pepsi and Hebrew National were sponsors of your event. As one of both sponsor’s benefits coupons could be distributed to any patron that purchases a Pepsi/Hebrew National product. This coupon could be redeemed at the commissary for $1 off either a twelve-pack of Pepsi product or a Hebrew National product. Cross promotions are “win-win” scenarios where both parties get something of value. You should always plan on a sponsorship “summit” whereby you call all your sponsors together to determine if there are cross-promotion opportunities between the sponsors. In today’s world the sponsors are not only interested in promotions but opportunities for experiential marketing whereby the customer can touch, see, feel and experience the product. A good source for experiential marketing ideas is EVENT MARKETER magazine.


Turn-key promotions are usually packages that are ready to go. You merely host them at your venue and add your own targeted promotions and media support. One example might be a beer company that offers a turn-key promotion for a big sporting event such as the Super Bowl. The beer sponsor might offer a package of signage, banners, games, prizes, and even the entry forms for the contests. In exchange, you agree to a minimum amount of promotion and, of course, sales of the sponsoring product or service. Like cross promotions, turn- key promotions can be a “win-win” situation as long as you meet your program goals and can follow through with the requirements of the agreements.

The Public Relations/Affairs Component

To complement the communications tools, the next step is to develop the public relations/publicity strategy to get the word out to as many people as possible. The good news is that publicity coverage is free although it takes hours of hard work and follow-through. The publicity plan includes some or all of the following:

  • Special news release letterhead with event logo, name, date(s), and POC (this may also include sponsor logos); however, don’t promote this component to your sponsors. Inclusion on the letterhead has “vanity” value, not measurable sponsorship value
  • Fact sheet with basic details, overview, and POC information
  • Press release(s) with the event details in copy form featuring ticket sale pricing and information as well as having a final paragraph, in every release, listing the sponsors supporting the event(s)
  • Feature stories on the installation and key people at the installation
  • Background on the event’s history
  • Reproducible black-and-white copy of the event logo which should be available in electronic format as well as being downloadable (with a password) from the event website
  • Folder or container to hold the materials, and envelopes to mail the folder
  • Cover letter stating general installation and commitment to sponsorship materials developed in the overall planning process
  • Black-and-white photographs of event performers, site, or other details; again these should be available in electronic format
  • Business cards of POC

These materials should be organized into press kits and sent to the key contacts who determine coverage in local newspapers, magazines, radio, Internet and television. Be sure you have the correct contact (and contact name spelling) at each media outlet. Also, find out how they want to receive the material. In today’s world they may want it by e-mail, fax or even CD. Many press kits are now produced on CD and even thumb drives. Also, assign a follow-up contact to each person to ensure the information was received and to answer any questions. These follow-up calls can also be a time to offer on-site press credentials and to meet celebrities and special guests. You could offer interviews with installation leadership or opportunities for special features. In addition to printed press material, you should be preparing PSA’s (Public Service Announcements) for radio and television. The electronic media should get the same attention to detail as to contact information, how they wish to be contacted and other relevant data as the printed media. Contact with outside media sources should be coordinated with the installation Public Affairs Office (PAO.) For a sample Event News Release, see Appendix X.

The Media Plan


As part of your overall event planning, you will want to create a media plan. Without media sponsors promoting your event and having media available to your sponsors as part of your offering, you may need to buy TV, radio, and/or print. Make sure you include the Internet in your media plan … installation MWR commercial website, military.com, armytimes.com, or local media websites etc. You might also consider buying outdoor advertising such as billboards.As with any of the media planning, keep in mind that you need to include your sponsors in all these marketing elements. Radio tags, television tags, inclusion in all the print releases and Internet exposure are all part of a company’s branding strategy and are important components of your sponsorship offerings.

In planning media, there are three keys to remember:

  • The promotional window (time frame for marketing)
  • Timing
  • The Promotional Window

The promotional window is the period of time that you actively promote the event. Depending on the circumstances, such as advanced ticket sales, discount couponing, and special promotions, this is usually concentrated in a two to four week period. The idea behind the promotional window is to place as much advertising as your budget allows into the time to drive your goals (such as ticket sales and attendance.) Of course, if the media want to be sponsors you won’t have to pay for the media as they will be getting sponsorship value and you will be receiving media inventory for use to promote your event as well as offering inclusion in that media as a bonus benefit to your sponsors.


Timing of the planning and buying of media differs with the type. Here are some helpful hints:


Buying print media differs according to the type of publication. Magazines, for example, usually have a larger lead time, sometimes two to three months ahead of the published date. Newspaper ads can be placed closer to the event, but usually they need one week for placement. As far as magazines are concerned, if you are looking for editorial coverage, the lead time can be as long as six months. For both, newspapers and magazines, call and get the annual editorial calendars to see what topics are being covered and when the deadlines are for those topics. If you want the newspaper to do a special section for your event, i.e. Armed Forces Day, you should meet with them in the last quarter of the year. Discuss having a special section, offer to provide all editorial, let them sell the advertising (making sure they clear with you who these advertisers will be), and let them have bonus distribution of that special section at your event. That negotiation should be with the Publisher or Special Sections Editor. When negotiating for a Special Section, start working with the newspaper(s) in the 4th Quarter of the calendar year.


The term used in radio is a “buy” which is a scheduled run of a pre-recorded ad which can be 15, 30 or 60 seconds in length. When buying radio, be sure to stress the times you want to be on the air; don’t let them give you “run-of- schedule” because you will end up in the midnight to 6 am slot or on Sunday! Stations usually have a target market (rock ‘n’ roll, country western, alternative, classical, etc.) with a particular demographic, so choose a vehicle that offers the audience you (and your sponsors) are trying to reach. The station may want to be a sponsor because of their desire to affiliate with your event and the marketing value associated of with being associated with the military. When negotiating for radio, meet with the Station Manager or NTR (Non-Traditional Revenue) director. If they want to be a sponsor, negotiate for radio spots that you can then use with your sponsors. Make sure you have an agreement, ask for a schedule, and always request a monthly affidavit of performance as proof that the spots (with your sponsor’s names) ran on the air. When negotiating for NTR start working with the station(s) in the 4th Quarter of the calendar year.


Television can be considered as a viable media outlet to promote MWR events that are open to the general public. There are three types of television: Network, Local and Cable. TV works similarly to radio. TV buys are generally placed with 10, 15 or 30 second pre-taped spots airing for a specified period of time. TV sales agents can also help you target your audience and select times when the commercial should be run. Most broadcast stations have a wide variety of programming available for you to match to your targeted audience. Cable stations are more specific, usually catering to one particular demographic. Local stations are more amenable to offering special “deals.” Like radio, they are interested in non-traditional revenue (NTR.) Your local TV contact would be the General Manager. The contact in cable is the Government Relations Manager and they start their annual budgeting in the 4th Quarter of the calendar year. With cable you can often get half cash, half trade which then gives you revenue as well as spots to promote your event (and your sponsors).

MWR Social Media

Social Media can be used to promote sponsored MWR events by mentioning the sponsor name(s) in the content of the message.Advertising should not be placed on social media.

Guidelines for Web and Social Media are currently being developed and posted as soon as possible. In Appendix SS you can find information on how to generate revenue with social media.

Enterprise Web

Garrisons may sell commercial advertising on the garrison portion of the ArmyMWR.com Enterprise Web.There are several ad formats available: Two (2) medium square ads at 300 x 250 (every page) and 3 small rectangular ads at 180 x 150 (every page). These ads are scalable for smartphones and tablets. Garrisons may sell 80 percent of the medium square ad space; IMCOM G9 Marketing will sell 20 percent of the two medium square ad spaces. See Appendix RR. For pricing please see Chapter 6 – Sponsorship Investment.

Digital Signage

The HQ, IMCOM G9, Marketing and Interactive Solutions, Digital Signage platform provides an opportunity to generate advertising and commercial sponsorship revenue for garrisons and HQ, IMCOM G9.Marketing and Interactive Solutions has developed ad sizes price guidance. See Appendix RR and Chapter 6.

Guidelines are currently being developed.

Creating the Action Plan

Now that you have all of the details, the next critical activity is to formalize an action plan. The action plan gives each activity a goal date and an assignment as to who will complete the action. The action plan is usually organized in chronological order by month, week, and day. On the day of the event, you many choose to go by hour and use the action plan as the beginning to your event script. The key is to communicate every action item and the critical dates for each activity. For a sample Action Plan, see Appendix Y.

Confirming Roles and Assignments

In preparing the action plan, you should create assignments for staff, volunteers, and other people on the installation. One of the most important jobs is to communicate these specific duties and the expectations of timelines, budgets, and reporting systems to all those involved in your project. One idea you might want to try is to group similar activities into “job descriptions” or “role descriptions.” In this process, list all of the activities you need the staff person to do and the dates that are the key deadlines. This document can become an MOU or MOA, if needed, as one of your procedures. For a sample Job Description Worksheet, see Appendix Z.

Internal Communications Plan

There are a number of people, internally and externally, who will need to have timely updates on your planning process. As you involve sponsors, they need to feel like they are “in-the-know.” In addition the staff, committee, and volunteers all need to know the progress.

There are many ways to communicate, including:

  • Themed update sheets or mini-newsletters
  • Themed fax sheets
  • Weekly e-mail communications
  • Basic communication record forms
  • Action lists with assignments
  • Basic meeting minutes or memos

Choose the style and format that fits your needs. For a sample Communications Record see Appendix AA.

Tips on Project Management

Everyone has their own style of project management. Here are some tips that might be helpful to add to your own management plan:

  • Set all meetings at the beginning of the planning process. Try to stay at the same time and same place
  • Keep meetings to one hour. Always have an agenda, and keep all action steps on an action list or other document
  • Listen and learn from staff, especially those with experience on your event. Value their advice
  • Distribute notes/action lists quickly
  • Hold people responsible for their commitments; if it’s not done, don’t get angry but, rather, ask for the plan to meet the goal
  • Bring refreshments to make meetings more fun
  • Increase meeting frequency as you near the event
  • One week prior to the event, do a walk through, making note of changes, opportunities, problems
  • One day before the event, hold a final briefing for all staff, volunteers and vendors. At this meeting walk through every on-site detail, anticipate the worst scenarios and plan for them. (The vendors – unless they are already on site – don’t need to be included in this walk through)

The Secrets of Scripting

The script is the document that covers all event details from setup through completion. The more complete the scripts, the more controlled your on-site management can be. To create a script:

  • State the event name, date, place, and times
  • Begin with the names of every key contact including addresses, business phone, fax, car phone, home phone, and e-mail addresses
  • Create a timeline beginning with setup. Organize a format that is easy to read that includes time, individual responsibilities, activity, and notes
  • Record all details, even if they are at the same time
  • Script all the way through cleanup
  • Attach site maps, radio assignments, entertainment schedules, and other important information
  • Have a crisis communications plan in place with one single contact and plan of action

Distribute scripts to all committee, staff, volunteers, and vendors as needed. At your final briefing, walk through the scripts. Answer questions and be confident that everyone understands their role and responsibilities.

“At-the-Event” Tips

The event is where everything comes together and where Murphy’s Law is in action - whatever can go wrong sometimes will!

Here are some tips for producing the event:

  • Manage by walking around. Visit your volunteers. Check your security. Talk to the vendors. Talk to your sponsors. Get a first-hand look
  • Use bold signage that is easy to read. Keep signs up high: mark rest rooms, volunteer headquarters, and ticket booths
  • Provide refreshments for staff and volunteers. Have plenty of water and a first- aid kit with aspirin, band aids, and the basics on hand
  • Never forget communications; radios really help. In addition, as with information listed above, have everyone carry their cell phones with them so they have both radio and cell phone contact/capability
  • Be extra nice to volunteers; they are the backbone of special events
  • Never assume anything! Check every detail. What you think you said may not have been heard or was heard with the listening filter turned on. Write it all down.

Documentation of Results for Evaluation

Although the event is crazy with plenty to do, it is critical to document key details along the way. Documentation is important when you evaluate the project to see if you reached your goals. Documentation helps you understand the timing of the project, so you can plan for project growth. It is much simpler to keep track of things when they happen, and the process is easy if you add it into your overall system.

Items to keep for documentation include:

  • Timing and sales figures for ticket sales
  • Copy of all press releases and the publicity they generate
  • Names and contacts of all vendors; notes on their quality and results
  • Event script, maps, and attachments
  • Photographs of point-of-sale displays, banners, promotional signs, etc., etc.
  • Copies of all collateral materials (take slides or photographs to keep for files)
  • Photographs of event site, all setups, sponsor recognition, VIP area, signage, and activities
  • Committee job or role descriptions; organization of project team
  • Feedback from sponsors, staff, and volunteers (see Chapter 11: After-Action Reports for details and examples)

Through careful documentation, you can best track the true success of your hard work and efforts, and build on these successes for future projects. Appoint a volunteer or staff member to observe and record specific information, i.e. number of times the sponsor is mentioned.

Chapter 5: Strategies for Obtaining Commercial Sponsorship

Confirming Your Specific Event Goals and Deliverable Results

To begin the process of actually acquiring sponsors, as stated earlier, you need to start with an understanding and documentation of the specific event goals and the measurable results you know you can provide. The Overall Planning Worksheet, referred to in Chapter 4 and located in Appendix U, walks you through the process of answering key questions.

The key to success is to understand what sponsors want and then to provide them with the most cost-effective, efficient and creative ways to reach their business goals.

Defining Success and Specific Measurement Systems

There are two important concepts to consider in the planning stages of seeking sponsors:

  • Defining success
  • Establishing the measurement systems

Once you have established the goals and overall measurements, take a moment to discuss with your event team their definition of “success.” We all know that people “translate” words, concepts and ideas in different ways. It is amazing how many people can look at the same event and see different agendas and priorities. The time to understand everyone’s considerations is in the beginning of the planning process, before sponsors are invited to participate. Everyone must be in concurrence on the definition of the event’s success.

Call your team members together and have them write down, on a piece of paper, what they believe the event goals are and how these goals will be measured. Next, ask them to define the qualities of “success.” Ask questions such as “What does it look like?” and “What types of comments/feedback do we hear?” What do we want to hear?” Ask them to list what the event can, and cannot, do. Collect the input and work through the process of comparing all the responses. You will probably be surprised at the variety of answers. Discuss all the input with your event team and get concurrence on what measurements will be used and the results expected. Be sure to obtain the command’s input for the same questions so you are sure they are on the same track with the entire event and management team.

All companies have measurements for success. Three of them are ROI (Return on Investment), ROE (Return on Equity) and ROO (Return on Objectives.) Each of these is measurable and is important to the sponsors.

First, ROI. When you have completed an event you will provide your sponsors with a post-event evaluation that demonstrates the measured marketing value of their participation in your events. (See Chapter 10 for instructions on how to prepare this report.)

Second, ROE. This is a measurement employed by sponsors after they have been working with an organization for at least three years. After that period of time the sponsor has an “equity” position in the event and people attending the event expect that sponsor to return. If you have a sponsor that has been with you for more than three years, you should always discuss their equity position with the military.

Third, ROO. This is when you measure the return on the objectives. For example, credit card companies have certain measurements, whether it is number of applications, number of inquiries or number of conversions, by which they measure events. Find out from your sponsors what their objectives are and then help them achieve those objectives. One word of caution … don’t let them set you up for failure by establishing objectives that would be unreasonable to reach. For example, if they tell you they want to increase market share by 10% that is an impossible goal to reach. Major soft drink manufacturers are happy with a .1% increase so 10% is impossible.

When sponsors can see that you understand your events are business tools to help them reach their company goals, they are more likely to get involved with your project.

Only promise what you can absolutely guarantee you can produce. Never over promise … you may get them to sign up for one year but then you lose them forever.

How Companies Decide What to Sponsor

The following are typical sponsorship criteria. Sponsors use them as a guide to designing their own matrix for sponsorship selection – adding, deleting and refining points to dovetail with your specific event(s.) This will help you understand what potential sponsors generally are seeking.

Image Compatibility

  • Does the property offer the imagery we are trying to establish?
  • Is it a lifestyle with which we want to be associated?
  • Is the property bigger than any sponsor or will it be possible to impose our brand’s personality on the sponsorship?
  • Are the co-sponsors companies with which we want to be associated?

Audience Composition

  • Who are the property’s core audience and what are the group’s buying habits?
  • Does the audience feel a strong sense of ownership/identification with the property or is it a more casual relationship?
  • What is the extended reach of the property? On-site spectators? TV viewers? Year-round members?
  • What geographic market(s) does it impact?

Attracting the Exchange and Commissary Vendors as Potential Sponsors

  • Can we offer vendors a tie-in at the Exchange and the Commissary that increases sales?
  • Can we create multiple in-store promotions with co-sponsors?
  • Can we integrate the sponsorship into our existing promotional campaigns?
  • What is the property’s promotional time frame…Is it relevant year-round, each season or just once?
  • Are there opportunities for product sampling and display?


  • Is the property appealing – in a positive way – to the media?
  • Can it draw broadcast and print coverage?
  • Can we get our presence recognized?
  • Can the property attract a network or cable TV broadcast?
  • Will our signage show up on the TV broadcast?
  • Are the areas of category exclusivity offered broad enough?
  • Can we take a position with all properties within the entire sector, thereby locking out all competition, or will the expense or existing deals prohibit this?
  • Is the property already saturated with sponsors?
  • Is it already identified with another company in our field?
  • What are the opportunities for ambush? For example, will we be the category exclusive advertiser on the TV broadcast?

Product showcase

  • Can our product be worn/used while participants compete/perform?
  • Is our product key to the successful staging of the event?
  • Does the property lend credibility to our product with hard-core fans, insiders and the media?

Ability to Impact Consumer Sales

  • Can we design promotions around our activity that directly involve product purchase?
  • Does the hospitality component have strong appeal to our key clients?
  • Can the sponsorship gain additional distribution outlets for our products?
  • What is the value of on-site rights?
  • Does the sponsorship give our marketing pitch a relevant point of difference?
  • Does the property deliver a wider audience than we need? Are we paying for more than we need, such as elaborate VIP hospitality?
  • What is the relationship between the cost of sponsorship and the value received?
  • How does the sponsorship cost compare with that of similar properties?
  • Could we achieve the same results more cost-effectively through other media?
  • Do we have the budget to promote our involvement properly?
  • Does the property lend itself to measurement?
  • Does it conduct regular surveys or tracking studies on which we could piggyback?

Continuity/Ability to Extend

  • Does the sponsorship have the potential to be long term?
  • Is it something that we can build on?
  • Can we roll it out to other markets?
  • Does the property contain spin-off opportunities?

Ease of Administration

  • Are we buying into a logistical nightmare?
  • Can organizers deliver what they promise?
  • Do we have the support/approval of internal management?
  • Is the promoter responsive to sponsor needs?
  • Does the promoter have a credible track record?
  • Will the promoter work with us to capitalize on the sponsorship, e.g., by initiating cross-promotions?

Typical Sponsorship Rights and Benefits

Rights vary with scope of property and level of sponsorship purchased. Typical rights and benefits granted by a property to a sponsor are:

  • Official sponsor designation
  • Category exclusivity
  • Right to use marks and logo in advertising and promotions
  • ID in property’s media buy
  • ID in promotional and collateral materials
  • Complimentary as in program book
  • On-site product sampling
  • Exhibit/display space
  • On-site product sales (when applicable)
  • VIP invitations
  • Ticket allocation
  • Discount on additional tickets
  • On-site signage
  • Access to mailing list
  • Discount on merchandise
  • Title to proprietary event within larger event
  • Public-address announcements
  • Right of First Refusal to purchase ad time on event telecast (when applicable)
  • Renewal option
  • Opportunity to survey audience

Sponsors like “Opportunities,” Not Defined Roles

One last but very important comment to consider before you develop sponsorship materials for your sponsor partners is to remember that sponsors like “opportunities” whereby they can customize their sponsorship and have flexibility in structuring their relationship with you. Rigid packages --- gold, silver, bronze – with specific assets under each category do not work in today’s sponsorship world.

The world of sponsorship marketing continues to explode with growth. The good news is that now, more than ever before, companies of all shapes and sizes are open to investing in sponsorships to meet their goals. The bad news is that hundreds of thousands of event planners and producers are asking companies of all shapes and sizes for their resources. Every non-profit organization, every sporting event, every community event is looking for sponsors. The competition is stiff and we have to offer flexibility and diversity to be competitive for the sponsorship dollars.

The traditional approach to sponsorship has been to write a package asking for what you needed with specific assets assigned to specific categories. This was a process that had the military’s interests at heart, not the sponsor’s.

When you put the sponsor’s goals first, you have improved the feasibility of getting that sponsor to work with you. In Appendix BB you will find an Asset Inventory/Pricing Checklist that you will use to help your sponsors customize their involvement with you. In Chapter 5 – Benefits, you will learn how to use this list and in Chapter 6 – Pricing, you will learn how to assign values to the benefits selected by the sponsor. This process will help your sponsors customize the elements they want into a sponsorship that is mutually beneficial.

Here are some of the reasons companies get involved in sponsorship:

  • Increase sales
  • Corporate hospitality
  • Introduce a new product
  • Expand use of current products
  • Sampling
  • Employee incentives
  • Customer incentives
  • Trade incentives
  • Product branding
  • Differentiation from the competition
  • Association with a particular lifestyle
  • Heighten visibility
  • Shape consumer attitudes
  • Entertainment
  • Want to do business with the military

Building Overall Event Equity

Command Support and Involvement

As you begin soliciting sponsorship you will learn that some sponsors want to build relationships with installation leadership. It is then critical to your planning to define the level of support you can count on and what that “support” really means.

Understand the following issues:

  • Who in the top leadership actually will, and should, be involved in the project?
  • Will they be active in events such as announcing the event and sponsors? Will they personally sign sponsor acknowledgement/invitation letters? Are they comfortable with their role?
  • Have key people been invited to be involved early in the process?
  • Who is available and scheduled to attend and participate in the actual event?
  • What are their specific roles? Are they willing to spend time with the sponsors on-site? Will they be in the VIP hospitality area?

These answers are all critical in putting together your sponsorship offerings and promises to your sponsors.

Retail Opportunities with DeCA and the Exchange

It is important to bring the MWR retail partners the Exchange and DeCA into the event early in the sponsorship planning phase. Companies are trying to sell more products, and sponsorship is one of many ways to achieve their goals. If guaranteed display space in the exchange or commissary can be offered to potential sponsors, the value of the sponsorship of your event or program increases. Local the Exchange and commissary managers have some latitude in determining the display space of their stores. Factors that can influence the local managers and prevent them from assisting are mandated national buys, small stores or display areas, product not currently carried in the store, and competing product lines with guaranteed display space. By developing a close working relationship with your the Exchange and commissary manager, these problems can be overcome. A significant portion of MWR funding comes from the revenue generated by the Exchange. Bringing off-post retailers on-post to advertise their services, through sponsorship, adversely affects potential sales and MWR funding. Remember, you must coordinate with the Exchange on your sponsorship initiatives to prevent conflict with existing the Exchange agreements.

Category or Product/Service Exclusivity

Another valuable sponsor opportunity is to offer product/service exclusivity. Exclusivity can be offered as part of the sponsorship menu of benefits. However, during the solicitation process, you must contact more than one company (a minimum of three is preferred) in each category. This gives each company an equal chance to compete for sponsorship of your event or program.

Product/service exclusivity most directly integrates the sponsor’s product or service into an event and the host organization. Exclusive in this case refers to the one product in a category that is offered and promoted to the attendees exclusive of any others in that particular category.

An example of exclusivity that is very valuable to a sponsor is the brand of soft drink offered at an event. On a hot sunny day, the exclusive sponsoring soft drink company will easily sell and sample all their available products, thus building brand loyalty and/or acquiring new customers. A word of caution: many of the soft drink companies have multiple brands. Don’t let them tie you up with category exclusivity for the overall brand name which would mean exclusivity for all sub brands under that name. For example, Pepsi-Cola has Tropicana juices, Mountain Dew, Sierra Mist, etc. Those are all different categories under the Pepsi-Cola name and should be sold separately for category exclusivity. Always check how many products are under the corporate name to ensure that you are not being short changed in the area of exclusivity.

Packaging with Advertising

Sponsors are looking for the maximum value for their investment. One way to add value is to include installation marketing and advertising activities in the overall offering. Include such benefits as advertising space in the local MWR newsletter, on electronic signboards, or in a flyer rack at the ITR office or other MWR facilities. These should all be listed on your asset inventory checklist that the sponsors use to customize their sponsorship. These components increase the value of your sponsorship offerings. It also introduces your sponsor to the full range of advertising opportunities available on your installation.

Regional Cross Promotions and Advertising

Another asset that is valuable to sponsors is cross promotions that can bring additional advertising and exposure for your event and sponsors. These offerings are all determined by the timing of your event and the relationships you have with other contacts who can work with you toward common goals. For example, there may be another installation close to yours that will work on a cooperative basis with you. Or, your potential sponsor may want to include their relationship with you in their advertising and marketing efforts. Or, as stated earlier, when you have your sponsorship summit and bring all the sponsors into one room, you will be able to determine if the sponsors can cross promote with each other for additional leverage of their sponsorships. One word of caution: never promise anything you can’t deliver or that hasn’t been solidified before your meeting with the sponsor.

The Other “Stuff”

As stated before, in Appendix BB you will find the event Asset Inventory/Pricing Checklist that will include all of the elements discussed earlier and those that will be discussed in detail in Chapter 5 - Benefits. How you establish a value for those benefits will be discussed in Chapter 6 - Pricing. You cannot start preparing sponsorship opportunities until you have gone through the benefit and assets list and determined the marketing value (pricing) of those elements.

Creating Levels of Sponsorship

Once you have all the potential package pieces, it is time to put together the various generic sponsorship sales packages that only you see. These “packages” will be designed by your sponsors and the assets they list as being important to their sponsorship success. The following definitions are to help you define those offerings. You should always sell opportunities, but frame those opportunities in levels of involvement. The following are definitions of sponsorship levels that would be relevant to your potential sponsorship partners.

Title Sponsorship Level

The top level of sponsorship is usually called the title sponsor. This is the level that is associated with the entire event and whose name is tied to the event title, i.e., the Bud Light Army Concert Tour. This is the level reserved for the sponsor who has the greatest cash involvement. A sponsor can have a title of a specific event or even entitle a series or, in rare instances, the entire year’s activities.

Sponsors at this level get the maximum value you can develop from all of your possibilities, and are always mentioned in the promotional media. It is always desirable to sell the title sponsorship first so you can anchor the event funding and create the key planning team members. However, it is not always possible to get these sponsors first, as the selling cycle for the major investors is longer than those investments that cost less. As with any sponsor, work with the title sponsor in defining their objectives and determining what values they wish to receive from their sponsorship of MWR events.

Presenting Sponsorship Level

The presenting sponsor is just one step below Title Sponsorship and usually comes after the name of the event; for example, Army Days celebration presented by(name of sponsor.) Although this level of participation still represents a major cash contribution on the part of the sponsors, it carries slightly fewer benefits because the investment is slightly less. As with any of the participation levels, work with the sponsors on defining what they hope to achieve through their partnership with you.

Host and Supporting Sponsorship Levels

These sponsors offer cash and/or in-kind support and receive fewer assets (benefits) than the major sponsors. However, their investment is also less. Again, these levels are determined by the sponsor’s selection of items from the checklist in Appendix BB. The host might be the second level under the presenting sponsor, with the supporting sponsor having the lowest level of sponsorship investment as well as least amount of advertising and promotional support.

Sub-activities within an Event

Looking for ways to involve more sponsors without cutting the value of the basic sponsors? One idea is to identify sub-activities or theme areas inside the event. Look for areas or activities that bring together a certain type of attendee or that are focused on an activity that could fit a sponsor’s goals. For example:

Event: Festival with games, food, arts, crafts, and entertainment

Sub-areas for sponsorship could be as follows:

Area: Kids activity area

Possible Sponsor Category: Toys, games, cereal companies

Area: Entertainment Stages

Possible Sponsor Category: Radio station

Area: Clean-up area

Possible Sponsor Category: Paper towels, waste management

Area: Sports Activities

Possible Sponsor Category: Sporting goods products, e.g. Nike, Wilson

Be creative in this process and see what you can develop. Remember to always maximize the sponsor benefit and produce measurable results for the sponsor.

Documenting Your Target Market

Sponsors look to promotions and events to be effective tools in reaching their company goals. As sponsors approach an event opportunity, they know their current customer mix and want to find events that help them reach those customers. In helping sponsors reach their customers, you must know the details of your target market. Of course, it is the military and their Families; however, for community events it could be the community at large. Within both “communities” – the military and the outside attendees – you need to know the following about the attendees and participants:

  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Attendance numbers

When matching your sponsors' criteria for customers, keep these three elements in mind. Keep in mind, as well, that there are times a sponsor wants to expand beyond their basic criteria to reach those customers on either side of their core in order to enable them to have greater market share. That information is something you will discover when talking with the sponsor and helping them customize their participation in your events.

Demographics are the statistical study of human populations especially with reference to size and density, distribution and vital statistics.

Demographic segmentation breaks down the market by characteristics relating to the consumer:

  • Age with breakdown of categories
  • Income
  • Gender
  • Occupation (in the case of the military, rank or grade)
  • Education level
  • Marital status
  • Number of children
  • Status (active duty/reservists/retirees/civilians)
  • Own a car(s)
  • Own their home/rent
  • Race
  • For Army-specific demographics visit http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/demographics.asp.For a complete list of all the elements in the U.S. census statistics go to http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/index.html and click on your state location.

Once you have the statistics on your particular location, match them to the generic statistics for your region. See if your installation has parallel demographics or do you have a greater number of people within a certain category (younger people, greater number of children, etc.) With the military you have a distinct “edge” when selling sponsorships because of our country’s trust and respect of the military in today’s world.

Psychographics are defined as the statistical study of the human population with reference to mental life/activity and behavior. Psychographic studies break down the market according to behavioral characteristics of consumers, including:

  • Activities
  • Interests
  • Opinions

Included in AIO (Activities, Interests, Opinions) are beliefs, interests, and attitudes. It also demonstrates that two 25 year old Caucasian males (those would be the demographics) drive two entirely different cars, eat different foods and have different tastes in music (those are the psychographics.) Attendance and usage information from MWR facilities should be able to provide insight into developing a psychographic profile of your events.

Expected Attendance or Participation

It is the actual number of people who attend (or you expect to attend) your event. It is best when you have a track record or event history upon which to base this estimate. If this is a first-time event, you will have to guess what the attendance will be. The best way to do this is to look at similar events and draw a comparison.

Some Helpful Hints on Determining Crowd Size Include the Following:

  • Be sure to establish someone responsible for estimating the actual size. This should be a source credible to sponsors and includes police or other officials
  • Create a tracking system for counting such as saving ticket stubs or counting at each entrance gate
  • Never over promise attendance; if you do not know what the attendance was and have no record of numbers, use words like “expected” or give a range
  • Research other similar events and look at their numbers to gauge your potential draw

Lastly, ask your vendors. They will be able to estimate the crowd by the amount of merchandise and/or food that was sold.

Finding Potential Sponsors

Although it seems like any company in the world could be a sponsor, there are some characteristics that make a “suspect” more of a “prospect.”

Where to Begin

You can start by asking the following questions:

  • Who do we currently have relationships with? Who has sponsored something at this installation before
  • Who has targeted the Army for business? What specific products and services did they sell to us
  • Are there any national agreements that affect this sponsor
  • What leads do we have from the Exchange or the other people on the installation? Has anyone ever approached us to discuss on-post opportunities
  • Does the advertising POC have advertisers who could benefit from sponsorship and expanding their marketing dollars? Could they be approached to add events to their strategy
  • What are the most used products and services on the installation? What is hot and could want more exposure? What is brand new or upcoming
  • What companies are geographically located near us that have a presence in the civilian community? Who sponsors events outside of the installation

Of course, the easiest place to start is with those sponsors who are already involved and have been successful in the Army market. If you don’t know the contact, make sure someone introduces you to the right person for renewing that sponsorship and even expanding it to other areas.

Research, Research, Research

The next place to go to find sponsors is to do your homework. Once you have determined what products or services would be a good fit for the events (offering value to sponsors while, at the same time, achieving the event’s goals), start looking for key contacts within each sponsor organization.

Research can take many forms, from reading local newspapers to cutting out ads of events and promotions to researching the companies on the Internet. Here are just some of the places to start looking for sponsors:

  • Post newspapers
  • American Logistics Association Member Directory
  • Army Times
  • Million Dollar Directory
  • Standard and Poor’s Register
  • PROMO Magazine
  • Event Marketer
  • BrandWeek
  • AdWeek
  • Advertising Age
  • Team Marketing Report Sports Sponsor Factbook
  • EPM Entertainment Marketing Source Book
  • Local directories including Chamber of Commerce, service clubs, etc.
  • The Internet

The more time you spend on research, with better knowledge of who to contact, the more successful you will be with your sponsorship sales.

Matching the Correct Contact to the Program or Event

Your key to success in establishing sponsorship partners is finding the contact that has responsibility for your level of involvement and your geographic area. However, if you have done your research properly you will have identified a contact that has the ability to “steer” you in the right direction. Do not be intimidated by the fact that the company you are calling on is a Fortune 1000, 500 or even 100. They need your events in order to be successful at their marketing. There is so much advertising clutter in today’s world that smart marketers are turning to event marketing as a way to reach their target customers.

Also, because of the dramatic growth of money being spent on sponsorship, there are a number of places to find this money. (Current estimates of money being spent on sponsorship range from $15.1 billion to $57.5 billion! globally.) Following are all the different corporate departments that have sponsorship dollars:

  • Office of the President
  • Vice President of …
  • Human Resources
  • Public Relations
  • Multicultural Marketing
  • Brand Management
  • Sales
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Product Management
  • Partnership Marketing
  • Military Marketing
  • Sponsorship
  • Brand Managers
  • Product Managers
  • Military Marketing

In other words, there is more than one "pot" of money to be spent on sponsorship. Many of the resources listed previously will provide you with these names as well as their telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. You can ask if they are the right person to talk to or should you be speaking with someone else. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to ensure you get the correct decision maker.

When reading the various trade publications, look for personnel changes at the top: new President, new Marketing Director, etc. This indicates there may be a change in direction for sponsorship. Watch, too, for headlines on changes in sponsorship. If someone has recently cancelled a sponsorship they have money available and are eligible for your programs.

Also, if one department turns you down, there are many more available to you. Each department has a different set of marketing objectives and your event (or events) may be a good match for their needs.

Strategic Selling: The Importance of Relationship Building

As with anything in sales, the more contacts and relationships you have, the more successful you will be in sponsorship development. No matter how great your events are, or how valuable the offering, you must get the chance to be considered, and that piece is the cornerstone to your success.

Tips on Networking

One way to build these relationships before going in for the sale is to intentionally attend functions and join groups where you might meet these contacts. If you keep in mind that both parties are working toward meeting mutually beneficial goals, this is not a “hard sell” but rather establishing a relationship in order to be able to follow up with a sales presentation.

Here are some tips for networking and meeting new people:

  • Always carry plenty of business cards but don’t carry brochures or other “sales” material. You can provide that when you have the opportunity to meet
  • Work the room. Look at people and extend your hand to shake. Introduce yourself as “name” from “Installation.” Don’t worry about your title or what you do. Ask them what they do and demonstrate a genuine interest. Make sure you get their name right
  • Ask questions so the new contacts talk about themselves. Listen attentively and acknowledge interest in them. Look for areas of mutual interest
  • At the end of the conversation, ask them if you may have their business card, and offer them yours

There is a great book by Susan Roane entitled How to Work a Room, a must-read for anyone in sales.

While the conversation is fresh in your mind, write “cheat notes” on the back of the business cards that you get at this meeting. Write down things or people you have in common as well as anything from the contact’s comments that you need to remember. Be sure to date the business card and write down the place where you met.

If this is a good contact for sponsorship, write a personal note to the person and offer a free tour of the installation or tickets to your next event. Remember, your goal is to build relationships so you can have a conversation with them to discuss how the military can help them achieve their marketing objectives.

Creating Working Partnerships

The most successful sponsorships are partnerships between you and the sponsoring company. When planning an event, bring in returning sponsors for a brainstorming session. Let them participate in the event design and offer suggestions on how to make it more attractive to sponsoring organizations. Not all their ideas must be implemented but make changes where you can. This builds the feeling of ownership that a sponsor has for a property. The more you give, the more you get. The more you communicate the partnership philosophy, the more successful your sponsorships will be.

Educating Sponsors on Military Opportunities

Remember, it might take some educating to explain to potential first-time sponsors the value of the military community and the captive audience you have at your activities and events. Do not assume anything, from general knowledge of the status of the Army to the specifics of what you do on your installation.

Create a general fact sheet on your installation to use with your sponsorship materials. Include the basics such as:

  • Installation official name
  • Population demographics including rank
  • Specialties or focus areas
  • Interesting awards, participation, or other facts
  • Names and rank/grade of top leadership
  • Names and dates of major programs
  • Sponsorship POC with phone, fax and e-mail

Systems for Management, Documentation and Evaluation

Anything you promise a sponsor becomes a business contract. All sponsorships should have a written agreement to which both parties have affixed their signatures. These agreements hold the sponsors to the support you need as well as forcing you to fulfill every promise. As you are working through the process of negotiating deals, make sure you incorporate a measurement process.

Determine, before the event, measurement values. It is very hard to reconstruct the facts after the event. The documentation of all the important facts takes an organized plan. Create a system, from the beginning, to track all details of your sponsorship program. With today’s computer systems, this is easy. One of the easiest ways is to do an Excel spread sheet with two columns … what was promised and what was delivered.

In addition, you should have a coded database of all the people you meet. Again, there are a number of sales management programs including ACT! and Sales Force. However, even a simple Outlook program can help you keep accurate records of your contacts. You can then record each time you interact with the sponsor as well as the details of the conversation. You can also establish “tickler” files that will help you with your sales and event follow through and follow-up. Always keep your sponsors informed of what you are doing. With the simplicity of today’s e-mail, you can send them weekly updates with a minimum of time and effort. Make sure they see creative materials (pdf format works great) and all the public relations activity. The more they see the more they realize the value they are receiving from their partnership with you.

Internal Command Communications

Last, but certainly not least, let your command know about your focus on professional sponsorship development and the critical time it takes to develop relationships that lead to sales. Consider producing quarterly executive summaries of the progress you are making and the targets of your search. Continue to encourage your whole team to network and build relationships. When managing your overall database (to which each member of your team should be able to have input) code by staff name. Again, the goal is to involve all of the installation resources in helping to meet the sponsorship program goals.

Chapter 6: Providing Sponsorship Benefits

Providing Sponsor Benefits

As stated in Chapter 4 - Strategies of this manual, you have a long list of reasons why companies get involved in sponsorship. You will need to look at your assets, both tangible and intangible, to determine how your potential sponsors can benefit from their relationship with your installation.

Organizing Your Benefits Program

Tangible Benefits

What do you have to offer that will benefit sponsors? Here, first, is a list of tangible assets that translate into different marketing benefits for the sponsor:

  • Banners
  • Radio/TV/Print
  • Table tents
  • Posters/flyers
  • Program books
  • Brochures
  • Billboards
  • Tickets
  • Inserts placed in MWR mailings
  • On-site sampling
  • Audio announcements
  • Product displays/sales
  • Hospitality
  • On-stage presence
  • Cross promotions
  • Digital Signage
  • Website
  • Social Media
  • VIP treatment … viewing, meet and greet, parking

This is just a start. You can customize this list based on the many assets offered at your installation. Tangible benefits are easy to evaluate and attach a value to as they are something you can see, feel, smell, or hear.

Intangible Assets

Second, here is a list of intangible assets that translate into different marketing benefits for the sponsor:

  • Prestige of property
  • Recognition of name
  • Market impact
  • Community acceptance
  • Audience interest/loyalty
  • Audience compatibility with sponsor’s needs
  • Category exclusivity
  • Protection from ambush
  • Protection from sponsor clutter
  • Co-sponsor networking opportunities
  • Sales opportunities
  • Creating goodwill to impact brand loyalty
  • Exposure to Army leadership
  • Positioning to the civilian market
  • Impacting of specific results in the narrow military segment

These tangible and intangible assets are the composition of your sponsorship offerings. In Chapter 6 – Pricing, you will be provided with some formulas to help you compute the value of the different sponsorship offerings.

One thing to note is that valuing sponsorships is not a science. Tangibles are easier to evaluate than intangibles. No single rule applies across the board as to what sponsors consider of value to them. Many times sponsors have multiple activities running at the same time in the marketplace. For example, the results caused by paid advertising in the civilian market may not be distinguishable from the impact of your event sponsorship, as it too reaches into the surrounding civilian market. Again, the sales strategy of the menu of opportunities generated from sponsorships is essential; so that sponsors can choose the elements that they value the most.

Within the listing of intangible benefits, these last four are of particular importance when selling Army MWR sponsorships.

Creating Goodwill to Impact Brand Loyalty

How do you measure goodwill? How do “friends” of the Army benefit from the measurable results of product and service sales? Without the money to do extensive benchmarking of Army market pre-involvement attitudes and preferences, this intangible result is best covered by meeting the action tactics agreed to by the sponsor.

For example, say you are working with a long distance telecommunications company:

Sponsor Goal: To create a relationship building goodwill with the installation population to encourage use of their long distance phone service.

Action Tactic: Offer a promotion featuring “free long distance calls home over the holidays” where a sponsor provides this service to benefit the installation’s Soldiers and Families.

Although “goodwill” is hard to measure, the effectiveness of the promotion can be measured through:

  • The completion of the promised activity
  • The number of participants in the activity
  • The impressions created in the promotion of the special activity
  • Any free publicity generated by the activity

Exposure to Army Leadership

Again, this intangible benefit can be assigned action tactics to ensure that you have used your best efforts to reach the sponsor’s goals. This area of exposure to leadership and the tangible results of such exposure are related to full and open communications with leadership through the entire sponsorship program development. Army Leadership must recognize that sponsors highly value interaction with the command at kick-off press conferences, receptions and on- site VIP hospitality functions. Coordinate with installation leadership well in advance to ensure their willingness to participate in sponsor-related functions.

Remember, under-promise and over-deliver such participation so sponsors are not disappointed.

Positioning to the Civilian Market

Some sponsors might seek involvement with the Army as their expression of “the right thing to do to support America.” Although you cannot sell this association as part of your sponsorship offerings, sponsors do have the opportunity to use the news of their support of Army projects in their company’s public relations outside the installation.

Impacting the Distinct Military Market

Army MWR sponsorships afford companies the opportunity to directly targets the military market through retail tie-ins at the Exchange and DeCa.

Sponsors involved in MWR programs that realize the potential for sales in military communities can cause substantial impact on your audiences. In cooperation with the Exchange and Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), you can develop displays, sales, promotions, and couponing opportunities to drive specific product sales. With your installation media, you can complement your promotions with maximum coverage, thus impacting the greatest percentage of your population.

The value of the military market and the effectiveness of a sponsorship are unique to each sponsor. This is why, especially with small or new events without a track record, it is important to keep this as an intangible, rather than a guaranteed benefit.

Pre-event Tactics

Pre-event tactics are tangible assets that offer points of exposure before the actual event begins. This is an extremely valuable area because this is when you do your publicity, ticket sales, cross promotions, and advertising. Without strong results in the pre-event activities, you may not achieve the event results you desire. Pre-event tactics that are valued by sponsors include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Logo recognition on collateral material
  • Brand or product exclusivity
  • Positive publicity
  • Point-of-sale merchandising and promotions
  • Advertising
  • Cross promotions
  • Exposure at MWR activities
  • Signage: Banners and Marquees

Logo Recognition on Collateral Materials

Sponsors at your highest levels are buying the maximum exposure to the marketplace in the closest association with the event. One way this is achieved and easily communicated to the consumers is by actual use of the sponsor logo on all collateral materials.

Collateral materials are the pieces that promote the event and include, but are not limited to:

  • Posters, flyers, on-site programs, brochures, and other printed materials including table tents and tray liners
  • Tickets, coupons, point-of-sale displays
  • T-shirts, hats, cups, mugs
  • Banners, street signs, and stage backdrops

Some key points to remember when using the sponsor’s logo on collateral materials include:

Be sure you have the correct logo and the specific rules to the way it is used. Sponsors are very particular about positioning, logo size, and color. Get the PMS color system numbers to ensure you match colors correctly. Discuss and document to the sponsors if the logo needs to be used in black and white or in another color due to the theme colors of the event. Let sponsors decide the color choices so they are happy with the results.

Remember to relate the size of the logo to the level of the sponsorship. Top sponsors get the top size, and like-level sponsors get the same size. This is a bit tricky with sizes and shapes of logos, so be careful here

Be sure the logo is readable at the size it is used. You might want to include sponsor “mention,” not “use of logo” in your sponsorship packages, so you have the freedom to use the printed sponsor name which can fit in a smaller space and probably can be any color. Whenever possible, make it your policy to have the sponsor sign off on the proof or layout of their logo usage. This stops any misunderstandings before they happen

Keep track of every item that is used and the specific numbers of each item. This quantity can be valued as the number of impressions for the sponsor.

Brand or Product Exclusivity

In the civilian community, title or presenting sponsors oftentimes get the value of being the exclusive brand or product in their category. This means, as stated earlier in this document, that only one brand of soft drink would be sold if the soft drink company was the event sponsor. Because only one brand of soft drink is sold by MWR or by vendors under contract with MWR, the event will generate sales and possibly sampling opportunities. This exclusivity ensures actual product exposure and connection to the audience.

What is the value of “exclusivity?” Again, this value is a bit intangible in the aspect of not knowing the final results until after the event; there are usually no systems in place to track how brand sampling or exposure affects the long-term choices of consumers. You also can rarely isolate the exposure of only your event from any other exposure, unless it’s a totally new product/service offered solely at your event.

The value, then, of exclusivity is first looked at from the angle of the sponsor’s goals. Exclusivity positions the sponsor as dominant and creates a market leadership perception. Next, look to the potential for bottom-line results in sales and sampling. How many consumers will be reached? What impressions can the event and associated promotions make that general advertising cannot? What type of relationships will the prominence of this brand in the event create for the brand sales force? How will it help the brand sales force agree to more sponsorship support in the military marketplace? Can you measure the lifetime value of the customer who has tried the sample and become a regular user of the product?

Usually exclusivity is not assigned a hard number, but is the right given to top- level sponsors to protect their investment in the event. It is the intangible event value that lays the groundwork for the very tangible results of sampling and sales. When we get to pricing you will see that you can charge double the value of the total sponsorship for the right to have category exclusivity.

Positive Publicity

Publicity is defined as an act or device designed to attract public attention. One value usually promised in conjunction with sponsorship of the event is the association of the positive event publicity to the sponsoring organization. But publicity is tough to guarantee because it is the news story behind the involvement, not the promotional copy for the sponsor.

Here are some ideas for generating close connections of the projects with the sponsor and laying the groundwork to associate the sponsor with the positive publicity generated by the event:

  • If you have a title or presenting sponsor, always use the sponsor’s name the same way in affiliation with the event. For example: “Fort Benning’s Independence Day Festival presented by sponsor”
  • Create a special theme news release letterhead featuring the sponsor’s logo and event name or logo
  • Have the sponsoring organization send out news advisories to their established media contacts to tell the same story you are telling. Sponsors can use their letterhead which is recognizable to their media outlets, many of whom are advertisers who get special attention
  • Host a kick-off press conference with a news angle such as a celebrity tie-in which focuses attention on the sponsor and their positive role. This kick-off might involve Army leadership
  • Use quotes from the sponsor in event press releases and be sure to mention the sponsor in all follow-up conversations

Be sure that all installation media understand the importance of high sponsor visibility and positive association in their coverage

Point-of-Sale Merchandising and Promotions

In the Army, all pre-event, point-of-sale merchandising and promotions are arranged in conjunction with the Exchange and DeCA. It is critical to begin the planning process with the exchange and commissary managers well before any sponsorship packages include such promises.

There are no absolute rules on the value of merchandising and promotions. The value depends on all types of factors, including:

  • How often would the product or service be highlighted with a sponsorship involvement
  • How much market share does the brand already have with the installation?
  • Where does the market brand compare to its competition
  • Is this a new or existing product? If existing, is this a continuation of a brand strategy or re-introduction/update of an existing product
  • What type of advertising budget is already invested to target sales from the military community
  • Does the sponsor have the ability/resources to provide extra displays or promotions to complement the sponsored event? They should be providing an additional budget equal to at least double their sponsorship investment to do point-of-purchase, promotional giveaways, booth design and production, etc.
  • What would the investment be if the sponsor had to purchase these product displays and other elements listed above if they were not a sponsor
  • How much exposure of the brand’s logo will these promotions and merchandising provide? These numbers can be derived from story traffic, size of display, length of promotion and the collateral materials used to support that activity
  • Do the sponsor’s objectives extend beyond branding and sales? If so, what are they? Be sure they explain to you what they hope to achieve

As you can see, there are as many questions as answers in assigning hard numbers to the retail-related opportunities. Work with the exchange and commissary managers to determine your estimates and valuations.

Advertising is a medium that is traditionally measured by cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) for print, ratings for radio and television, and unique visitors for the Internet. These numbers offer you an opportunity to assign concrete value estimates to your sponsorship offerings. Each medium uses the following for measurement:

  • Television – viewership ratings
  • Radio – listener ratings
  • Print (newspapers, magazines) – circulation (impressions)
  • Web advertising – unique visitors to the site

There are services that check the estimated viewership, listenership and circulation. These figures can be used to calculate gross impressions, numbers that are valuable to your sponsors. Gross impressions tell them how many times their logo was seen by the general public.

Advertising tends to be one-dimensional. You see it or hear it but you don’t experience it. Events are multi-dimensional – you taste them, smell them, hear them, see them and touch them. Advertising can be more effective, then, by adding events to “extend” the impact of the advertising dollars. In fact, if you have successfully negotiated an advertising campaign, at no charge to the installation, in return for advertising you can use with your potential sponsors, you could approach the sponsors about re-allocating their sponsor dollars to your event and, in addition, getting advertising that supports the event and the brand.

For example:

An automobile dealer wants to introduce a new line of sport utility vehicles targeted to sell to men ages 21-34.

Event sponsorship: By sponsoring an installation event, the car dealer has the opportunity to bring vehicles to the event site and actually let people sit in the car, smell it, hear the stereo, and even test drive the vehicle. Through the sponsorship of the event, you have provided them with print advertising in which their connection with the event can be incorporated and that would drive people to the event to try the test drive. In addition, with your radio and TV assets, you will be able to tag them on your event commercials with an invitation to test drive the car at the event. The event gets strong promotion and the participating dealer gets strong promotion.

Additional tactics: The sponsor would then register anyone who test drives the vehicle for prizes in addition to offering a coupon with $500 (or whatever dollar amount they feel is reasonable) off the purchase of the car for a limited time after the event. Keep in mind that neither financing terms nor sales can be discussed on the installation.

The value of the advertising is the retail value that would have been paid by the sponsor if they were just buying media. To determine the value of these sponsorship elements contact your local media and have them give you their local rate cards. Once you know the retail value, and have your media partners in place (radio, TV, print, Internet) you have the foundation for determining the value of the media component of your sponsorship offerings.

Cross Promotions

An important part of event marketing is the organization of cross promotions of the sponsors and the event. This tactic is most valuable with the participation of media partners who are contracted to include the event sponsors in all promotions.

In advertising, the buyers control the entire message and can dominate the space with their agenda. In cross promotions, the sponsor’s presence fits into the context of the promotion of the event and often of other major sponsors. The exposure for the sponsor is that as an event sponsor, not solely for their advertising or product-specific message.

When you value cross promotional media, start with the retail value of the media sponsorship. If you structure the media sponsorship properly, you can guarantee your sponsors a minimum amount of exposure over a defined time period. Use the retail value of what it would cost to buy the media in your overall sponsorship value estimates.

Exposure at MWR Venues and Activities

Exposure is exposure, and exposure of any type builds the number of overall impressions that have value. Therefore, it is valuable to include with your sponsorship offerings the range of opportunities present at MWR events and activities.

One way to incorporate this element into each offering is to standardize the opportunities on-post to promote sponsored activities and the number of impressions this promotion can generate each quarter or each month. For example:

Fort Bragg MWR operates Sports USA which is a hub of activity that draws high monthly attendance figures on a consistent basis

Each month Fort Bragg MWR could designate an area that promotes the installation’s events and their sponsors to the people of the Sports USA

Fort Bragg MWR might have numerous other sites on post with heavy traffic that can be estimated and that have space to promote events

In addition to space inside buildings, Fort Bragg MWR has other opportunities such as events, outdoor display spaces, and bulletin boards

The entire package of exposures can be grouped together under the area of MWR venues and activities to generate additional impressions for the sponsors

Signage:Banners and Marquees

Signage brings sponsor value from exposure and the positioning and awareness such exposure brings. Signage includes communication on a large scale in media such as banners, electronic signs, and inflatables.

Again, because signage is commonly sold, you can find the sponsorship value by beginning with the retail price a sponsor would pay to purchase the same space and duration. This price is based on the combination of positioning, readability in day and night settings, traffic count near the signage, and patrons’ ability to recall the message. The people selling these assets can give you their impressions numbers and the value of those impressions. Value and cost are not synonymous. From a sponsorship perspective, the important number is value.

At-the-event Tactics

Major top-level sponsors generally get exposure from the planning stage through post-event activities. Other smaller-level sponsors only receive value at the event. Following are some event components that can add sponsor value to your offerings:

  • Event program advertising
  • Couponing
  • Sampling and selling
  • Consumer research
  • Public address/audio announcements
  • VIP hospitality for employees, customers, executives
  • Experiential/activation opportunities
  • Networking with military officials

As you look at specific events you will find other cross marketing/promotional opportunities within the events themselves that have value to your sponsors.

Event Program Advertising

One publication the event producer usually controls is the program that is given to event attendees and sponsors. The program is a valuable piece to your sponsors because it is under your control and you can deliver the exact sponsor message you wish. Some of the components of an event program that are valuable to sponsors are as follows:

  • Distribution: How many copies will be distributed to whom and when as well as where? (An idea, let your local newspaper produce the program, including handling the sales of advertising, and you control the editorial content as well as having them give you a certain amount of space for your sponsors’ ads)?
  • Level of exposure: How will the sponsors be highlighted? Can they have inside front or back, outside back, or the center spread?
  • Is the program free or for sale? Is there pre-event distribution via direct mail or another way to maximize exposure? Will the sponsor be publicly thanked in the program by Army leadership?
  • Will there be editorial content where the sponsors can recommend their products and/or services?
  • What is the production quality of the program? What type of paper stock and inks? Is it color or black and white?

You can create advertising rates for an event program similar to those of a traditional print publication. Take into consideration the number of copies, the form of delivery to the audience, the life of the piece (how long will it be around), the audience and the design rates valuing the special positions. You can contact publications of similar size and distribution to determine competitive rates.

These rates can then be incorporated into the valuations of your sponsorships.


A sponsor involved in an event can use coupons to drive product sales, both at the event and after. At the event, participants and spectators might get coupons specifically pointing out product benefits and telling them how to immediately purchase. The coupon could further drive sales by offering a gift with purchase or an activity in which to participate at the event site. Coupons drive the participants/spectators back to the retail outlets for a special purchase offering.

Coupons can be printed and/or coded which allows for tracking back to your event and documenting the effectiveness of the activity. The new business directly generated by you and your activities is extremely valuable to the sponsor, both for validation of the investment and for future participation. As the event grows, it is important to find tactics that increase the marketing impact for sponsors. Again, all retail deals must begin with your Exchange and commissary managers and must work into their current agreements and ability for tracking.

Sampling and Selling

Sampling and selling are two opportunities that are important for sponsors at events. As mentioned in the previous section, many times a sponsor’s goal is to promote product sales at the event to recoup (or at least offset) their sponsorship investment. A sponsor’s products may only be sold by the NAFI or through a concessionaire’s contract.

If the sponsor has new products or wants to conduct some consumer research on either a new or existing product, they may be interested in doing product sampling at the event. Sampling usually involves a much smaller portion size than would be sold, and hopefully does not cut into your profits from product sales.

Some tips about sampling are as follows:

  • Designate specific areas for product sampling, separate from sales, so the customers do not confuse free products from paid products at the concession stands
  • Use bold and easy-to-read signage in the sampling area, with any qualifiers such as age, number of samples per person and so on clearly spelled out
  • Consider if you will need an incentive to encourage sampling, such as a giveaway or a valuable coupon. Will the free samples alone drive the desired amount of traffic or will you need something to enhance participation
  • Plan ahead if there will be more than merely giving the product away for a free trial. Will there be customer interviews? Who will conduct the research?
  • What tools or support will they need from you?
  • Determine, at the beginning, the sponsor’s specific expectations and the roles each of you will play. Again, under promise and over deliver

In today’s world, the concept of sampling is just one element of experiential marketing whereby the consumer interacts with the product. In the case of sampling, they could taste something, riding something, or using any of the other senses to have an actual experience with the product.

Consumer Research

Research in conjunction with the product/service sampling is an interesting way to involve customers by experiencing a product and capturing their immediate reactions. Even without sampling, an event can be the perfect venue for a sponsor to capture general consumer research.

There are many ways to capture consumer’s opinions from the friendly interviewer with a clipboard to the high-tech, automated interactive kiosks. Again, sponsors will know what type of research they value and the mechanism by which they perform that research. A note of caution here: be wary of sponsors who want “roaming” rights as they can become intrusive and have a negative effect on the event.

If you want to provide research for your sponsors or for yourself, there are companies who specialize in professionally gathering and measuring this data. You might also check with your peers in the Army MWR Commercial Sponsorship offices to learn from their experiences with research.

Public Address/Audio Announcements

Another element valuable to sponsors are audio announcements during the event. These public address announcements direct event attendees to the sponsor’s area and reinforce the awareness that a specific company is involved in the event as a major sponsor. Sponsors want the maximum exposure possible during events. You can give them this exposure by using announcements at planned intervals to drive specific activity (for example: “Be sure to visit booth #32 with …”) or continue to build general awareness (one way is to play the radio commercials that have sponsor tags). Again, the value here is in impressions at the site and sponsor awareness. The verbal impressions created by the event complement the visual presence to make a powerful mix.

VIP Hospitality for Employees, Customers, Executives

On-site is where the sponsors and the sponsors’ guests can get true VIP treatment. Again, this is an area that you can control what you offer and provide what you promise. VIP hospitality may include the following elements:

  • Special parking privileges near the site
  • Commemorative credentials to give access to VIP areas
  • Opportunity to meet and take photos with celebrities
  • Access to a special area, sometimes under a tent, to receive complimentary food and beverages during the event
  • Special VIP gift packages with giveaways or sponsor products
  • Special priority seating for the actual event

Many times sponsors will use their opportunities for VIP hospitality at events to pass on to their clients, sales staffs or employees. The key is to make the sponsors and their guests feel very special and gain additional return on their sponsorship investment.

Experiential/Activation Opportunities

This is a “hands on” activity such as the earlier example for auto sponsors whereby a potential buyer can sit in the car and “experience” ownership. Or, the potential buyer can take a test drive to see how the car feels. Activation ties into sales whereby you can, for example, sign up for a credit card and it is immediately useable. Today’s sophisticated buyer is not happy with just a marketing message; he/she wants to feel it, see it, touch it, smell it, and be a part of it before making a purchase decision.

Networking with Military Officials

Many times your sponsorship will be valuable strictly because it provides access to Senior Army Leadership. This could be through VIP aspects of the sponsorship, “meet and greet” opportunities, workshops, award ceremonies, meal functions (breakfast with the General, lunch at the Officers’ Club with the commanding officers, dinner with …), and other activities that provide for a closer opportunity to establish a business relationship with the Army.

After-the-Event Tactics

After the event, there are other elements that sponsor value. Some of them are as follows:

  • Right of First Refusal for the following year
  • Mementos and recognition items (certificate of participation, plaque, etc.)
  • Army publications publicity
  • Positive feedback
  • A “thank you”/recognition event

Right of First Refusal

One of the major sponsor benefits is to be involved with an event more than one year. This provides them with an equity position and gives them a positive Return on Equity (ROE.) See Chapter 5 - Strategies. On annual events you should always offer your sponsors Right of First Refusal for the following year’s sponsorship and it can be for the same investment of the previous year or there can be an incremental increase if they wish to increase the benefits and access to additional to assets. This option usually has a cut-off date for sponsor commitment that is fairly close to the completion of the event to protect your event from sponsors holding onto their category until the last minute and then not renewing. The usual length of time for exercising the Right of First Refusal is within 60 days after the completion of the event. This way, if the sponsor does not renew, you have time to get another sponsor.

The more popular an event, the more valuable the sponsorship rights are and the more likely you will get a favorable response to the Right of First Refusal and the sponsor will renew.

Rights of First Refusal (or longer term agreements) are offered to top-level sponsors to encourage the development of long-term plans and commitments for mutual success.

Mementos And Recognition Items (Certificate Of Participation, Plaque, Etc.)

Other items that sponsors enjoy as extras are collectable mementos and special items of recognition. Mementos can be tangibles such as signed CDs from your entertainers or event posters autographed by the celebrities. Recognition items can be framed letters from your Commanding General, certificates of appreciation/recognition signed by the Commanding General, installation coins, or other military memorabilia. These thank-you items enhance your ability to continue your sponsor relationships and are not items that you include when showing sponsorship value to your sponsors.

Army Publications Publicity

After the event, sponsors enjoy the extensive coverage that can be provided by installation publications. This coverage can be valuable as part of your asset offerings if you can pre-determine the extent of the coverage and the value that coverage has in the installation media. This coverage offers your sponsors extended value to their participation in your event and enhance their marketing efforts.

Positive Word-of-Mouth Advertising

Another benefit of successful sponsorship is the positive word-of-mouth advertising for the sponsors and their products and/or services. Word-of-mouth is an intangible result that is demonstrated later through product sales.

A “Thank You”/Recognition Event

Another way to thank your sponsors is to have a sponsor appreciation event, where they are recognized. This can be a breakfast, lunch, dinner or simple “thank you” reception. It is an opportunity for your Commanding Officer to recognize their value to your installation and for the various sponsors to have another networking opportunity with each other. It is at this event you can present your sponsors with their certificates of recognition or other mementos.

Documentation and Measurement

The entire sponsorship process depends on setting specific goals with measurements assigned to each of these goals. In addition to the value of the event and participation in it, additional value transpires when sponsor goals are met and the results documented.

Discussing values, goals and results with your sponsors helps them to be realistic in their expectations. Look at goals that are tangible and those that are intangible. How will you measure results? What are their expectations? What are yours? Don’t set unrealistic goals that cannot be achieved. For example, if a sponsor wants to see a 100% increase in sales, which is an impossible goal. Be familiar with industry statistics and goal setting to determine a realistic result from the sponsor’s participation in your event.

Be sure to spell out the goals in your letter of agreement/contract and include a complete list of all tangible and intangible assets that have been promised to the sponsor. When the event is over, make sure that those same tangible and intangible assets are included in your After-Action Report. Quite often, when an event is over, the sponsors may have forgotten all the value they received from their participation. The After-Action Report is a reinforcement of the value they sponsors received from their participation.

Do Sponsors Renew?

Sponsors renew their relationships when they believe they have achieved a Return on Investment (ROI.) They need to know that the deal was worth their time and money. ROI is achieved when sponsors have reached their goals that were set for the sponsorship, as mentioned previously. The normal ROI is three to one in measured marketing value.

Following are marketers’ top reasons for renewing event sponsorships:

  • Property fulfills contractual obligations and the event met their expectations;
  • The sponsorship fee is reasonable
  • The media coverage was good and was diverse
  • The sponsor was treated with respect and integrity
  • The signage was effective and was delivered as promised
  • The event had attendance as promised
  • The event audience met the sponsor’s demographic and psychographic requirements
  • The sponsor had an opportunity to increase sales
  • Affiliation with other sponsors was positive and beneficial
  • The cross-promotion with other sponsors was effective The sponsor had positive feedback from guests/employees
  • The VIP elements were successful
  • Shipment and delivery of material was easily done
  • On-site sampling was effective
  • Sponsor had a successful experiential marketing opportunity
  • The event staff was courteous and agreement elements delivered as promised
  • Event coordinator was easily accessible at all times for questions, changes, on-site issues
  • Event wrap up was completed in a timely and organized manner

Notice, in the list of reasons for renewal, how important the fulfillment of contractual obligations is to the sponsor!Most of it comes down to the basic of delivering on your promises and making sure that all agreement elements are delivered as promised. If you can give the sponsor just a little something extra … under-promise and over-deliver, you have a satisfied sponsor that will return year after year.

If you are just starting out with sponsors, here are some of the most common reasons marketers sponsor events:

  • Increase sales
  • Increase awareness of company or product name
  • Identification with a particular lifestyle
  • Differentiate product from competitors
  • Enhance commitment to community or ethnic group
  • Entertain key clients; business-to-business marketing
  • Merchandising opportunities
  • Shape or reinforce the public’s perception of a product’s attributes
  • Impact the bottom line

If you keep these ideas in mind when calling on sponsors, it will help you be more effective at partnering with them.

Chapter 7: Sponsorship Investment (Pricing)

General Pricing Theory: Trading Value for Value

As stated in Chapter 1, a commercial sponsorship is an investment (a fee paid to MWR for an event or property), in cash and/or in-kind, in return for access to the exploitable commercial potential, such as public recognition, branding or advertising opportunities, associated with that property, event, promotion, etc.

In Army MWR commercial sponsorship, you are exchanging the value of your events and opportunities for the value you need, such as cash, products, or other resources. The key here is to understand all the marketing and branding opportunities available to a sponsor through your property and then to assign values to these opportunities, both tangible and intangible. Then, after considering the big picture of the event and its impact, group the assets to form your overall offerings. One of the current methods of developing sponsorship offerings is to show your potential sponsor an event inventory checklist that then allows them to select just what is important to them and customize their sponsorship to meet their specific needs. (See Event Benefits Checklist at Appendix DD)

Pricing: There Are No Absolute Rules

Pricing is probably the most challenging part of the sponsorship profession because there are no specific rules; however, there are some guidelines that will help you determine the value of your different sponsorship opportunities. The guidelines are based on industry averages of cost per thousand impressions and will be covered shortly in valuing your tangible assets. Once you have established a pricing structure, there are some specific factors that affect pricing which include:

  • The overall economy in your local area
  • Reputation and track record of the commercial sponsorship professionals with whom you are negotiating
  • Your reputation in the local community
  • Previous track record of your events
  • Track record of previous sponsor involvement (who, when, what event)
  • Timing and level of professionalism of your sponsorship solicitation
  • General understanding, by sponsors, of the great opportunities within the military marketplace
  • What your local market sponsor is currently paying for similar events
  • Category exclusivity
  • Protection from sponsor clutter
  • Fair pricing for all sponsor participants
  • Protection from ambush

In the following section you are provided with a chronological system to use to organize your sponsorship offerings. When doing your pricing, you start with the tangible assets, which are easy to assign values to, and then add in the intangibles for the final offerings. For a sample Pricing Worksheet that will give you a format for listing and pricing your assets, see Appendix EE.

Start With Overall Considerations

Begin your pricing system by recording the basic event information and a few key overall factors that affect your value. These are the basic facts of your event(s):

  • Name of event
  • Date of event
  • Location of event
  • Attendance history
  • Type of audience demographics/psychographics (men, women, children, rank or grade, etc.)
  • Year event founded
  • POC name, phone, fax
  • Generic marketing opportunities (radio, TV, print, signage, etc.)
  • Generic participation ideas (hospitality, sampling, research, etc.)

This information should easily fit onto a one page fact sheet.

Valuing Your Tangible Assets

Each element of your event has value to someone, and your task is to determine the value of each of these assets. This section contains suggestions on how to develop a pricing plan according to what is happening in your own marketplace. The numbers used in the various sections are based on industry standards. Once you have your pricing elements completed for the various levels of participation, you will have to factor in what is happening in your own marketplace. You will need to research what the market will bear and is supporting for similar-sized events and activities. There are basically two ways to price tangible elements:

  • Face Value
  • Gross Impressions

There is also an intangible way of pricing sponsorships (perceived value to the sponsor.) This will be covered later in this chapter.

Face Value

Face value is merely the price a sponsor would pay if they had to purchase the item directly. Here are examples of face value pricing:

  • Tickets to the event (face value of each ticket X the number of tickets)
  • Program ad (the ad rate price for the size of the sponsor’s ad) TV, radio and print (the ad rate price for the sponsor’s ad or commercial)
  • Inclusion with other sponsors in print ads (10% of the ad rate price for the ad)
  • Inclusion with other sponsors in radio commercials (10% of the ad rate price for the commercial)
  • Parking (the price charged for parking at the event)
  • Booth space at the event (rate card)
  • Hospitality (the price per person for food and beverage and other incidentals ordered by the sponsor)

Hospitality, besides having tangible value, also has intangible benefits because there is no opportunity to purchase access to the VIP area so it has a more exclusive status (thus higher dollar investment) than the other elements that have face value.

Gross Impressions

Gross impressions began in the advertising world where it was fairly easy to measure impressions by viewers or readership. Gross impression pricing is based on the number of impressions that particular asset offers to the sponsor. An impression is when a person is reached by the sponsor’s message, whether seeing a logo, hearing brand name, reading a story in the paper, receiving a sample or taking a test ride. The value is affected by the impact of the element, the duration of the exposure and the return to the sponsor.

Determining Estimated Values per Impression

The values of each event feature are measured on a cost per thousand (referred to as CPM.) Editor’s note: the ‘M’ is the Roman numeral for 1,000. The CPM model refers to advertising bought on the basis of impression. This is in contrast to the various types of pay-for-performance advertising, whereby payment is only triggered by a mutually agreed upon activity (i.e. click-through, registration, sale.)

The total price paid in a CPM deal is calculated by dividing the gross impressions by 1,000 and then multiplying the CPM rate by the number of CPM units. For example, one million impressions at $10 CPM equal a $10,000 total price.

Step one: 1,000,000 ÷1,000 = 1,000 units

Step two: 1,000 units X $10 CPM = $10,000 total price

The amount paid per impression is calculated by dividing the CPM by 1000. For example, a $10 CPM equals $.01 per impression.

The value of pricing ranges from the low end of $10 CPM to $100 CPM. Following are the current CPM prices used for sponsorship pricing:

Posters: $35 CPM. In order to determine impressions, take the estimated number of people who will see one poster in one day and multiply that number by the number of posters displayed. Next, multiply that number by the number of days the posters are visible and you have the total impressions. For example, one poster will be seen by 100 people in one day; over 14 days that number is 1,400. If you have 100 posters the total impressions are 140,000. At a CPM of $35, the measured marketing value of those posters to the sponsor is $4,900

Flyers: $50 CPM. These are flyers given to individuals. In this instance you just follow the formula. For example, if you print 10,000 flyers the value to the sponsor is $500 (10,000 ÷ 1,000 X $50 = $500)

Banners before the event: $1.50 CPM. If these are in a traffic area, find out from your local Department of Transportation what the average traffic volume is in one day and then multiply that by the number of days the banner is visible. Multiply that volume by the total traffic, using the CPM formula. Editor’s note: If you want to find out what a reasonable CPM would be for your local market, call a local billboard company, give them the details of your traffic and ask them what a reasonable CPM would be for your market.

Back of tickets for sponsor product redemption or contest: $75 CPM. Just take the total number of tickets printed and use the CPM formula

Restaurant table tents: $75 CPM. In order to determine the total number of impressions you have to estimate how many people will see one table tent in one day and follow the formula as presented for posters. Don’t forget to take into consideration that each table tent will have an average of two people looking at it each time someone sits at that table or bar so be careful and don’t underestimate the number of impressions. For example, if a restaurant only had 50 people in one day and there were 50 restaurants, the total number of people in one day who would see a table tent would be 2,500. Multiply that by the number of exposure days (10) and you would be 25,000 impressions for a value of $1,875.

On-site event signage: $100 CPM. Take the attendance and the number of banners into consideration. If you have an attendance of 1,000 and there are three banners, the potential impressions would be 3,000 which, using the formula, would have a value of $300 to your sponsor

Merchandise/giveaways: $20 CPM. This is very difficult to estimate because impressions occur at the event. However, how long does that merchandise/giveaway have exposure to people? Look in your closet at some of the T-shirts you have had for 10 years with sponsor’s names on them! That is a terrific lifetime value for a sponsorship investment

Point-of-sale merchandising and promotion: $75 CPM. Use the same formula as for posters when determining visibility and impact. The CPM on this is higher as the exposure per person is for a longer period of time and when they are in a more receptive mood to get the message

  • Internet: $1.50 CPM. This is one of the tougher ones to value as there are different ways to identify “visitors” to your website. However, if you have 1,000,000 visitors the value to the sponsor is $1,500
  • Value of PR (that has sponsors’ names): $10 CPM
  • Sampling opportunity/couponing: $150 CPM. If your attendance is estimated to be 10,000 the value to the sponsor would be $1,500

Using these formulas you can now put them on the Pricing Worksheet. Record the asset, the estimated quantity, the estimated value per thousand impressions, and number of impressions and then calculate the total value for the sponsor.

You will use these numbers to help you when customizing a sponsorship or developing a sponsorship offering. One word of caution: have a limited number of sponsorship categories with the following ones suggested:

  • Title
  • Presenting
  • Supporting
  • Contributing
  • Area specific (stage, children’s corner, etc.)

You can always develop others that are sponsor specific but these are good basic ones with which to begin.

The rest of this chapter will provide you with some helpful hints you can use when refining your sponsorship and provide you with value terminology you can use when soliciting sponsors.

Asset Values Expanded

Positive Publicity

There are several acceptable ways to do this but the most cost efficient is just to base on number of impressions. The impression number for newspapers and magazines is the actual circulation; for radio and TV, it is ratings. When we get to category exclusivity this becomes much more important as the sponsor is the only person in their category and if they are title they are mentioned much more often than any other category.

Point-of-sale Merchandising and Promotions

Look at the pricing elements on the previous pages which give you an idea of measurement. Factor in the number of weeks displayed at the traffic at each of the location. Again, high traffic is high value and larger logo prominence on the display is of more value to the sponsor. Similar level sponsors must have similar- sized logos.

To be fair with these values, begin with the retail cost to buy the advertising. The advertising seller has already determined the value by figuring the reach and frequency. You can translate this value into gross impressions for the sponsor. The value per impression is usually an industry standard in traditional advertising, so it is easier to track.

Internet/Web Advertising

Offer your sponsors a hyperlink on your website as well as logo exposure on the event promotion page. Make sure that the hyperlink to the sponsor allows your Internet visitor to return to your website. Have a press room page on your site where all event releases are posted so the sponsors can see they are getting exposure for their investment.

IMCOM G9 Marketing has developed a pricing structure for the garrison pages of the enterprise web as follows:

  • Two (2) medium sized square ads (300 x 250) are available on each garrison page. The garrison marketing offices each may sell 8 ads; IMCOM G9 Marketing will sell 2 ads.
  • Three (3) small sized rectangular ads (180 x 150) on every page. These ad spaces are only sold by the garrisons.

The CPM rate for the enterprise web is $10 per thousand.

All ads are scalable for smartphones and tablets.

A pricing tool can be found at Appendix TT.

Digital Signage

Garrisons may sell advertising on the digital signage network. Currently the advertising ratio on the digital signage is as follows:

  • 50% advertising is sold by IMCOM G9 Marketing
  • 40% advertising may be sold by garrisons
  • 10% of the digital signage is reserved for command messages and PSAs promoting Army campaigns.

The CPM rate for digital signage is $8 per thousand.

Details on sizes and file formats can be found at Appendix RR. A guide to digital signage is also located at www.mwrbrandcentral for download.

Social Media

How are you tapping into the new media? This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, podcasts and blogs. These media should be incorporated into your sponsor marketing efforts because it reaches a younger (under 35) demographic.

Advertising should not be sold on social media. You can, however, incorporate sponsor names in content about MWR events and promotions and use this as a bonus benefit for sponsors. There is no price associated to doing so. See Appendix SS on how to generate revenue without placing actual ads on your social media.

Exposure at MWR Venues and Activities

Look at the impact of the activity and the exposure of the sponsor to gauge an impression value. Then look at attendance and traffic to find gross impressions. Keep in mind that, in addition to being a tangible asset, association with the Army is an intangible asset that cannot be measured by impressions but rather by emotional impact and moral support for our troops and our country.

Signage: Banners and Marquees

Look at the size, positioning and frequency to gauge the impact of the piece. Then, as stated earlier, multiply the impressions based on the CPM formula listed earlier.

Logo Recognition on Collateral Material

This includes posters, flyers, table tents, payroll stuffers and other print material.

Here you track not only the number printed and distributed but the number of people that see each piece. For example, as stated earlier, posters placed for a duration of weeks on a busy city street will have hundreds (if not thousands) of impressions, whereas a poster on the internal bulletin board of the activity center on post will have a very limited viewing by the center’s users.

Event Program Advertising

The event program, in addition to being a sponsor benefit, is a revenue source. The value of this will be established early in the planning process as you look at the event program as a revenue source. Rates are set by page size, placement, use of color or bleeds, and distribution. (See glossary for definition of bleed.)

As stated in the section on pricing, you can estimate the gross impressions for these elements when you look at distribution. Of course, before an event it is hard to determine how many will be distributed so you have to do a guesstimate. There is an argument that can be made for face value pricing if there is a fee for the sponsor to buy the opportunity to do product sampling or distribution of a coupon.


This is one of the most valuable assets a sponsor can have. Through on-site visibility the potential customer spends more time than a 30 or 60 second commercial can give to a sponsor. It is a total message surround with opportunities for sampling, couponing, or experiencing the product or service. Impact comes from size, positioning, use of color, use of sound, smell and other elements that touch the senses. You may need to help your sponsors with their on-site activities to ensure that they receive maximum value from participation. If they have a booth and just sit there both of you lose!

This is easy to measure, after the fact, by what was sold! However, before the event you have to make a guesstimate as what will sell and for how much in order to determine value. These impressions, as with on-site visibility, are much more valuable because they are more sensory and involve the attendees in the product, thus making a more lasting impression, beginning a relationship, and/or affecting a buying decision. Face value (i.e. booth space rate) only applies if a sponsor only purchases the right to sell at your event. Again, you may have to train them as to how to be most effective in their selling efforts. Don’t let them sit behind a table reading a book!

Consumer Research

This is another element that is difficult to measure as the results are contingent on method of approach, delivery and if there are incentives to participate. You want to determine early in the planning process these elements in order to determine the value of the research. As today’s consumer becomes more and more sophisticated, research can be impossible to undertake unless there is an incentive (money, a trip, freebies, etc.) to participate. In addition, it has to be simple to administer and not time-consuming. Again, you may have to help your sponsor craft their survey in order for it to be effective.

Public Address Announcements

Public Address (PA) announcements are so easy and call the attendees’ attention to the sponsor and their participation. They can be read live or can be pre-recorded advertisements. The live readings allow the announcer to change the message regularly so the visitors to the event don’t get bored with the same message. It also offers the sponsor to have special offerings during the day that are announced through the PA.

VIP Hospitality and Associated Perks

The face value is the ticket, catering, giveaways and percentage of the overhead. The intangible part that adds value is that access is only available to people with VIP passes. This also allows sponsors to mingle with military officials and establish relationships with them in a social setting.

Giveaways (Premiums, Promotions)

If giveaways are free and promotions for the sponsors, then it is based on the number of pieces distributed. You might also look at the value of the item to the attendee to see if the “gift” will be retained and perceived as having value. If the gift is a valuable or collectable gift (autographed CD from performers, autographed event poster, etc.) then the value is “priceless”, which is the face value plus the intangible of the collectible or commemorative status.

Army MWR Publications Publicity

Again, like general publicity, you can refer to the advertising rates in Army MWR publications as a place to start. Look at impact (a headline versus a mention), circulation, and possible pass-along readership for impressions.

Brand or Product Exclusivity

Exclusivity has value because it closely aligns the sponsor with the event. If the sponsor has a consumer product sold at the event, exclusivity may mean big sales or sampling. Exclusivity can be more valuable by adding couponing and database development via a sweepstakes or contest. The value of exclusivity is higher with the more competitive companies (beer, soda, telecommunications, etc...) Exclusivity exacts a higher sponsorship investment since it blocks you from approaching other companies in the same category.

Right of First Refusal

The Right of First Refusal value depends on the success of the event as well as the measurable results produced for the sponsor. It allows a sponsor to capitalize on a successful event and gives you, the event producer, a renewal (or not) in a timely fashion.

Special Mementos and Recognition Items

The commemorative and one-of-a-kind collectable gifts are not included in your pricing strategy. These gifts you underwrite as part of the sponsor/relationship building program. They are, of course, meant to be treasured and “priceless” due to the positive memories of success and fun.

Positive Word-of-mouth Advertising

How do you measure this? It’s impossible. However, you might capture some of the comments in exit interviews or post-event marketing research. You could even run a post-event article in the Army MWR publication and/or Army MWR commercial website and ask people for their feedback. Then, in turn, survey results can be incorporated into the after action report. A word of caution here. Sometimes people have bad memories and, for example, remember that AT&T was a sponsor even though it was Verizon! Tread lightly here.

Packaging Intangible Benefits

Intangible benefits are elements that do not have traditional measurement tools. This is an area where you could bundle all the extras and give the entire group one overall value. Or, looking at the following list, maybe there are some that are more important than others to specific sponsors. Let them tell you! Here is a partial listing of intangible sponsorship benefits:

  • Prestige of property and association with the Army
  • Reputation of the event
  • Length of time with event (ROE)
  • Market impact of the event
  • Community acceptance of the event
  • Audience interest/loyalty
  • Audience compatibility with sponsor’s needs
  • Category exclusivity
  • Protection from ambush
  • Protection from sponsor clutter
  • Co-sponsor networking opportunities with both other sponsors and Army senior leadership
  • Sales opportunities

There could be more … the sponsors will let you know. The valuation on this is almost done on a dart board because there are no hard and fast rules on how to estimate the worth of these elements.

Final Advice on Pricing

As discussed earlier, if you allow the sponsor to customize his/her sponsorship you will have to know your number values by heart because you will be doing this valuation during a sales call. You will have established, in your head, fair market value for simple categories such as title, presenting, supporting, etc. The VALUE of the sponsorship should be two times the sponsor investment. This way, if they say “I can get this cheaper or that cheaper’” you can respond by saying “Yes, but you cannot get ALL these elements any cheaper.” Be prepared to negotiate and be prepared to respond to the sponsor in a way that is in keeping with the local market. You may have a sponsorship that is WORTH $10,000 but you won’t be able to get more than $7,500. Take it!

In Appendix FF you will find a pricing worksheet that will help you determine the value of your sponsorship offerings based on CPM. You will also find a template developed from IEG pricing strategies at Appendix UU.

Chapter 8: Successful Proposals

Strategic Proposals: Selling the Opportunities and Possibilities

This chapter explores some formats of sponsorship proposals. As discussed in previous chapters, your goal is to showcase the unique opportunities associated with Army MWR commercial sponsorships and your willingness to customize the opportunities to meet sponsor goals. Please keep in mind that you should not send a proposal until you have established a connection with the correct person at the potential sponsoring organization. If you buy a mailing list, write a letter, send a “package” and then pray that something happens, nothing will. In today’s world, sponsorships (like all sales opportunities) are built on trusted relationships and sending something “cold” will be counterproductive to your efforts and you will waste time and money with nothing to show in return.

As you have seen throughout this book, this chapter includes helpful hints for each topic area. In Appendix GG you will find several sample proposals. However, feel free to customize to suit your style and that of your potential sponsor.

Beginning with the Basics

The basic components of a sponsorship proposal should include:

  • Cover letter of introduction
  • Fact sheet about the installation and sponsorship in general
  • Specific event opportunity overview
  • Additional installation and/or event marketing materials
  • All these materials should be put into a presentation folder.

Cover Letters with Style

The cover letter is the invitation to discover the unique opportunities available through MWR sponsorships. As an invitation, the language should be “inviting” with action verbs and an exciting tone. The letter should always be personalized to the appropriate contact that is the decision-maker for your level of request.

Remember to mention your ability to customize the packages.

The cover letter you send with your sponsorship proposal can often make the difference between getting your sponsorship offering read and receiving a nice “thanks but no thanks” letter. What makes the difference between a “good” sponsorship letter and a “bad” one? The same things that make the difference between a “good” sales letter and a “bad” one.

In the past, when preparing sponsorship offering, people took great care to outline the various sponsorship elements and the benefits they provided. They carefully packaged the media, hospitality, sales promotion, signage and on-site offerings to provide a fair and equitable opportunity, whether title sponsorship or one of the supporting sponsorship deals. Then, they researched the potential market to determine which sponsors would be most qualified to participate; which ones had audience and marketing needs that were parallel to those of the sponsorship offering. In short, they did their homework.

Then, they quickly wrote a generic cover letter that allowed for customization through mail merge. This mailing was then followed by a series of telephone calls to the people who received the sponsorship offerings to determine their interest. If the cover letter was poorly written, and the potential sponsors had not been pre-qualified before the mailing, there was low interest/response to the mailing. Next time, apply the following principles of good sales letter writing and you will see a difference in the response!

Rule # 1

Make sure you have the proper spelling of the person’s name, title, and company as well as a correct address. If you have to call and confirm this information before mailing, do so. (You should have determined this during your pre- qualification call.)

Rule # 2

Eliminate as many references to “I”, “me” or “my” as possible. Here’s an example of a terrible paragraph:

“I would like to have an opportunity to sit down and show you why my event is so important. I’ve worked on this for over 5 years and I need to have at least 10 sponsors who will give me $100,000 so I can have a successful event.”

Six times in one paragraph ... not good!

Rule # 3

Make sure your letter is benefits oriented. The benefits orientation must be custom tailored. Don’t make the following mistake:

“Title Sponsorship of $100,000 for XYZ Event offers your organization exclusive rights to distribute the product of your choice.”

Instead, take time to know your potential sponsor. The above paragraph would be written differently for each sponsor with specific elements itemized. For example, assume that XYZ Event is looking for a carbonated beverage sponsor. Further, let’s assume the targeted carbonated beverage sponsors are Pepsi- Cola, RC Cola and Dr. Pepper/Seven Up. Each of these companies has a different marketing strategy and need. The above paragraph would be written as follows for each of these potential sponsors:


“As title sponsor of the XYZ Event, Coca-Cola would continue their dominance of the XYZ market as well as enjoying exclusive pouring rights at the XYZ Event. With event attendance estimated at(number of attendees) and the audience primarily consisting of young men and women ages 18-35, you have an ideal opportunity to get exposure for(specific name of product.)”

RC Cola

“As title sponsor of XYZ Event, RC Cola would be presented with the opportunity to have exclusive beverage rights at an event that attracts your competition’s primary market. Between in-store promotions, product sales, signage and sampling opportunities, XYZ Event offers RC Cola an opportunity to dramatically impact sales.”

Dr. Pepper/Seven Up

“XYZ Event offers Dr. Pepper/Seven Up an opportunity to market to their target audience ... young men and women ages 18-35 ... plus have the bonus opportunity of trade promotions. Title sponsorship would give Dr. Pepper/Seven Up exclusive pouring rights for Schweppes Ginger Ale as well as signage, trade hospitality, and new-product sampling.”

As you can see, specific benefits as they relate to the specific company are provided in the cover letter.


Army MWR currently has an Army-wide contract for fountain sodas with Pepsi-Cola.

Rule #4

Never make a statement that is general in nature and that cannot be substantiated by solid facts. For example:

“The response to the event has been terrific and the support by other sponsors is overwhelming. All the media are excited about participating in XYZ Event.”

This is fluff. Rather, this same paragraph could be written as follows:

“The initial mailing to 100 sponsors has provided us with at least 20 major companies who are interested in some level of participation in XYZ Event. These sponsors include such well-known names as…… and……. In addition,…….newspaper,……. radio station and…….TV will be providing extensive coverage of XYZ Event. All of this has a positive impact by generating more interest in a greater attendance at XYZ Event. Through your sponsorship of this event, you too will benefit from this exposure and attendance.”

Rule #5

Always state when you will follow up with them; never make it their responsibility to call you. For example:

“Thanks for your interest and I look forward to hearing from you.” Rather, word the final paragraph this way:

“Thanks for taking time to read this proposal and seeing how XYZ Event offers (name of company) a viable lifestyle marketing opportunity. I will call you the week of (date) to discuss the feasibility of our meeting to discuss this further.”

You should put as much effort into your cover letter as you do the whole proposal. Research your sponsors: find out what their marketing strategies are and what products are logical choices for your event sponsorship. Understand their marketing needs and tailor your letter to satisfy their needs. Eliminate I/me/my from your focus ... begin to think in terms of “you” and have a strong benefits orientation. Don’t think this letter can be written quickly. It might take 3 or 4 hours to craft a good letter that will create interest in your event, inspire the reader to go through the proposal, and generate a desire to discuss it further.

That time will be well invested if you are successful in generating sponsorship dollars for your event.

The major don’t? Don’t make up a form letter, buy a mailing list, use mail merge and send out the letter with the name dropped into the various blanks…you won’t get any response and it’s a waste of time and money!

Here are a dozen powerful (and effective) phrases that should be used in your cover letters. Use as needed and where valid!

  • Measurable response
  • Qualified media coverage
  • Diverse, integrated marketing opportunities
  • Improve market share
  • Targeted marketing messages
  • Database marketing opportunities
  • Generous hospitality components
  • Increase product exposure
  • Enhance existing marketing efforts
  • Develop qualified sales leads
  • Solidify client relationships
  • Increase sales!

If you follow these basic rules when writing a cover letter, you will increase your sponsorship selling success rate dramatically. The balance of this chapter discusses specific elements of the cover letter.

Brief Overview of the Program

The key word here is brief. Your letter should entice, engage and excite the reader to want to know more. Don’t outline the entire program in your letter. Make the sponsor want to hear more by providing a brief, action-oriented overview.

Reference to Specific Enclosures

After the overview, make the review process simple by referencing the enclosures in the sponsorship packet. This is a chance to be sure there is no confusion on the part of the potential sponsor and to quickly lead them to the most important materials. When preparing your offerings, keep in mind that in sponsorship solicitation more is not better! Many sponsors do not have the personnel or staff time to read through lots of paperwork. It is best to try the “opportunity overview” style to catch their initial attention, then to offer more extensive information if they are interested. Remember, you need to stress the benefits to the potential sponsor with a “soft sell” style. Always reinforce the ability to customize the packages to meet the sponsor’s specific needs.

Request for Action and Follow-up Plan

Finally, in order to finish the cover letter, ask for a specific action from the potential sponsor. This action is likely to be in the form of “Please review the enclosed information” and/or “Please consider how sponsoring x can work for company name.” Do not assume that the prospect will automatically review the materials. ASK! Then address the specific plan for follow-up by you or your staff.

For example:

“Please review this exciting opportunity to bring the July 4th celebration to Fort Campbell. I will call you next week to answer any of your questions and set a time to explore the possibilities.”

In this follow-up step, include a thank-you to the prospect in advance for their consideration. For a sample Cover Letter, see Appendix HH.

Don’t Ever Forget...

Here are a few things that you should never forget when compiling your cover letter:

  • Introduce yourself and mention any referrals
  • Make the opening sentence an attention-getter
  • Never have any misspelled words! Go beyond Spell Check
  • Make sure you have spelled the contact’s name, title and company properly
  • Use the formal sir names of Mr., Mrs., or Ms. unless you have a close relationship with the sponsorship contact. Remember to always be very professional, because sponsorship packets are likely passed to many people for review
  • Be sure you have a well-centered document in a type style and size that is easy to read; paragraphs should be short and to the point
  • Be sure that the enclosed documents you reference really are enclosed; double-check to be sure everything matches

Don’t send the letter if you don’t have the right contact and have not established some sort of communication with the receiver. It will be a waste of your time, energy and money.

Fact Sheets Highlight Overall Details

In the sponsorship solicitation process, you must assume that the prospects know nothing about your installation or Army commercial sponsorships. Even if your initial contact has worked with you before, the package may be passed on to others that do not share the same understanding.

To educate potential sponsors, create and use an overall installation fact sheet. This could be an overall solicitation marketing piece, as mentioned in Chapter 3. The piece should include the following:

  • Name of installation
  • Location, city, and state
  • Profile the focus of the installation, including the primary mission, key details about your history, your Soldiers, and their successes (population, sex, ages)
  • General photos, maps, or logos that represent the installation
  • Size of exchange and commissary (if applicable)
  • Name of at least staff position, address, phone, fax, e-mail, cell phone of the sponsorship point-of-contact (POC)
  • Possible overall schedule for the year
  • Highlights or pictures of your annual event(s)
  • Possible name of commander or top leadership
  • Possible comments from other past satisfied sponsors (be sure to get their permission first;) use quotes or examples of results via your sponsorship programs

The purpose of this fact sheet is to give an executive summary of the installation and its professional sponsorship program.

The Event Sales Piece: Opportunity Overviews

The opportunity overview is the actual sponsorship sales piece. Think of it as the executive summary of the menu of possibilities that a sponsor can work with you to customize into their final package.

The Strategy behind the Format

The key in this piece is to make it simple for a sponsor to quickly read the summary and determine the potential benefits to their organization. This simple format is based on the fact that in the highly competitive sponsorship world, contacts do not have the time or staff to review lengthy proposals. The opportunity overview format respects the potential sponsor’s valuable time and delivers the maximum impact for the event package.

Key Components

The key components of the opportunity overview include:

  • Name of program/event, date(s), place, event logo
  • Sponsorship opportunity ranges
  • General event history/overview
  • Listing of marketing and promotion elements available
  • Army MWR commercial sponsorship POC with address, phone, fax

It is great if this opportunity overview can fit in one easy-to-read page. The goal is to stress the potential array of benefits and communicate the interest in customizing the package.

For a sample Opportunity Overview, see Appendix II.

Creative Sponsorship Proposal Packaging

Once you have all the elements, it is time to put the creative package together to catch the sponsor’s attention. The goal here is to showcase your professionalism and the quality not only of the event but the entire professional commercial sponsorship effort. Packages can be loose elements in a folder or envelope or bound documents under a cover. The size and scope of the proposals will dictate the format that is easiest to read and understand. One word of caution: if you put in too much material they won’t read it.

Remember in the initial solicitation, more is not better! Do not scare potential sponsors with too much “stuff.” Stick to the possibilities and stress benefits • benefits • benefits!

Creative sponsorship proposals can contain the following elements:

  • Covers, photographs, and graphics
  • Previous publicity but only those PR clippings that contain sponsors’ names
  • Past sponsor feedback
  • Sample past event collateral materials

Covers, Photographs, and Graphics

If you choose to bind the proposal, then start with a cover. Include a logo or color photograph to illustrate the event. Stay consistent throughout your presentation in typeface and styles of graphics. Remember, this is the first impression! Also remember that sponsors are looking at each piece to evaluate if they can tie their company name and product/service to you. In the presentation of your event, every detail counts.

If you choose, you could include color photographs in the proposal. However, keep them at a minimum and only include “money shots” (pictures with lots of people!)When using photos, here are some tips:

  • Be sure the photograph quality is excellent.
  • Really look at the photos to notice if all of the elements are what you want the sponsor to see; note the cleanliness, look of the site, audience size, other sponsor participation, and so on.
  • With today’s digital technology, there are no excuses for bad photos (and, don’t use color photocopies!)

Previous Publicity and Sponsor Feedback Quotes

Let others tell your story! If you have had wonderful publicity or past-sponsor quotes about their success with the Army MWR commercial sponsorship, you might want to include this in your package. Choose one or two of the best examples and put them at the back of the proposal. Work the sponsor quotes in graphically on the cover or overview pages. Offer sponsor references but be sure to get permission first.

Sample Collateral Materials

Don’t overpower your potential sponsor with too much material.You want to save those materials for your face to face meeting. However, you can include one or two samples to illustrate how that potential sponsor’s brand will be featured and to highlight the quality of materials produced.Hold back multiple examples of DVDs, large programs and posters until you have your meeting.

You can mention these examples within your presentation but don’t send them.

Chapter 9: Solicitation/Sale


Once you have done all your research (see Chapter 4) you are ready to start prospecting, matching sponsors to the events. Although this sounds like an easy process, the selling step’s success is directly related to the groundwork and efforts that have come before it.As stressed throughout this publication, sponsorship targeting and sales begin with ongoing sponsorship relationship building.

Cold Calls

The key to successful cold calling is your ability to reach the decision-maker. If you cannot get the appointment and get in the door to have a face-to-face conversation, you’re not going to be successful. In sales, nothing happens until you establish a relationship which means you have to pick up the phone. In Chapter 4 you have the resources and are provided with the various categories of buyers. Within the many directories that are provided to you there are also contact names, telephone numbers, sometimes even e-mail addresses. Use them! (Don’t use e-mail, though, as your first point of contact.It’s too easy to delete and you’ve wasted your time!)Pick up the telephone and start “dialing for dollars.” (A great book for Cold Calling is by Stephan Schiffman COLD CALLING TECHNIQUES (THAT REALLY WORK!)

When doing cold calling, you must establish rapport within the first 15 seconds or you will lose the listener’s interest. Introduce yourself, who you work for and immediately ask if they have heard of (fill in your base or the event.) If yes, say “great” and continue on. If no, give a brief (note: BRIEF) overview of the event or base. Then, ask permission to ask three questions:

  • Are you interested in improving your bottom line
  • Are you interested in tapping into the powerful military market
  • Are you (and then this question ties into the research you have done on the company)

Only ask questions that can have a “yes” answer so you can continue with the call.

At this point, if they have answered yes, they are “in the mood” to see you. Try to set an appointment. They may ask you to send something which you can do … however, just send a one page fact sheet. Ask if they want it via e-mail or facsimile but get both addresses. Once you have sent it immediately follow up to make sure they got it and to set an appointment time to meet. If they can’t meet with you in person see if they can set up a telephone conference call where you can go over the sponsorship opportunities with them. When possible, post your sponsorship highlights on your website and use that as your marketing presentation.

When cold calling, you may run into gatekeepers or other “screeners.” Be friendly and ask for help from the support staff and lower-level assistants on how to contact the decision maker. Never demand a meeting or be too pushy. Just ask for the correct path to send a professional presentation and call to request 15 minutes to discuss the possibilities and how the Army market can meet their business goals. Get them involved so they become your inside salesperson.

Developing Sponsor Master Files

As you collect names and contacts from your networking, organize them into an overall sponsor master file which can be in two forms:

  • Electronic database
  • Hard file

Electronic Database

A sponsor database can be used not only for sponsorship solicitation but as a mailing list for quarterly updates or a tracking system for all contacts. You should be developing this database during your research (data from Chapters 4 and 7.) There are a number of sales management programs including ACT and Sales Source; however, any contact management program will work. This will allow you to easily access information on each sponsorship contact: name, title, company, previous Army MWR sponsorship history, date of initial contact, and a summary of all conversations as well as follow up activity.

In addition to the basic data on your sponsor contact, you will want to record personal information such as birthdays, names of spouses and children, and hobbies. This allows you to have a personal point of reference when speaking with a potential sponsor.

Hard Files

A sponsor hard file is the place to keep all back up materials associated with the sponsor. This is the place to keep the clippings from military and civilian magazines, the company annual report, up-to-date logos, and the agreements for each deal that you do. As your professional programs grow, these hard files provide you with a place to see what has worked in previous deals and what the sponsor has chosen before to prioritize or value. Many times artwork is oversized and needs storage in a large flat file. Large items can also be captured on DVDs to save space and retain the quality.

Tailoring Your Sponsorship Proposals

Effective targeting of sponsors requires an understanding of the potential sponsor’s “hot buttons” and the ability to demonstrate how your property fulfills those needs.

Retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, Safeway, CVS etc. should not be solicited as sponsors for Army MWR events as they are competitors of the Ecxchange and the commissary. Exchange and commissary displays are benefits that your potential sponsors highly value.

Coordinate with the Exchange and the commissaries to determine what you can offer to your sponsors: shelf space, in-store displays, in-store announcements etc. Build good working relationships with your Exchange and DeCA retail professionals to maximize the cooperation for the sponsor. Stress that sponsorship is a win-win for everyone, particularly the Soldiers and their Families.

Packaged Goods

This category covers the hundreds of products sold on base through the exchange and commissary including food, beverages, household supplies and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. Shelf space is a key issue for package goods marketers and the competition is intense for your retailer’s attention. Generate value in your sponsorship proposals with the elements of shelf space and displays. Special enter-to-win contests at such displays can add more value and drive consumers specifically to the product area.

Auto Makers and Dealers


Marketers of high ticket items like cars and trucks want consumer trials connected to sales. Because these products cannot be sold on the installation, any sales activity such as discussions regarding financing options, etc., can only take place at the dealership. On-post test drives and static displays are permitted with proper approval. Exchange has primacy for car sales in OCONUS. Therefore, any potential sponsors from the car manufacturer/dealer category must be approved by the Exchange.

Service Companies

Service companies use sponsorships to differentiate themselves from their competition. So many services sound the same in advertising that it is the possible trial-by-fire at an event or the promotional offer that moves a consumer to purchase. Although your existing telecommunications’ contracts limit your sponsor sources, you can look for other services for the installation population. Event sponsorships position the sponsoring companies to do business with your specific population. Financial planning, mobile telephone service, iPod-like products, wireless communications and insurance companies are examples of companies now specifically targeting the military population. Take care to enter into agreements only with reputable companies. Once again, it is important to coordinate with Exchange.

Local Hometown Companies

When approaching a company in the local community, incorporate the following additional benefits into your offerings:

  • Sponsorship demonstrates to the entire community that the sponsoring organization supports the installation and its population
  • Employees of the local company can get special ticket deals or can volunteer to get involved in the fun parts of the event

These are local quality-of-life issues that are important to local sponsors.


The media has assets that work well for you and your sponsors. You get the commercial airtime and have the right to add your sponsors’ names. This promotes the event and your sponsors. Conversely, the big issue in today’s media is giving “added value” to their advertisers. This added value can be defined as the ability to participate in your events and promotions.

Be sure to clearly define the rules for participation. Have an agreement that delineates what can (and cannot) be done and rules for sponsors. Work with your media sponsors as partners and see if they can sell some of your sponsorships to their advertisers as an extension of their marketing efforts.

Preparing for the Meeting

You have made the call; you’ve sent the one page fact sheet; you have the appointment. Now what? Here is a checklist of pre-meeting activities or actions that should be confirmed before going to the meeting:

  • When you made the appointment you made sure you were meeting with the decision maker. See if anyone knows the decision maker; Google him/her on the Internet; try to get some in-depth information about your buyer. This will help you prepare the materials for the sales process as you will have an idea of who he/she is and what they like. A good source for information is the “Press Room” tab, if it is a major company, since many companies file their press releases on the Internet and they are readily accessible. Editor’s note: This is just another way to find the name of the real decision maker!Send a written e-mail confirmation for the meeting to the person with whom you have the appointment
  • Review your files! Make sure you understand the sponsor’s business as well as your understanding of what you are selling. Go through a mental rehearsal, matching their needs to the assets of your event(s)
  • Prepare “show and tell” but not too much. Remember, they are making time for you so you want to be cognizant of that time and not overwhelm them with too much. Based on the above, select the marketing elements that best support your partnership strategy with them
  • Have an agenda but be ready to change it at will. Depending upon the personality type of your prospect and the time available, make sure you get the most important and salient points in during the first 15 minutes so that if there has to be a change in the time you have made the necessary points
  • Re-confirm the day before (via telephone or e-mail)

It’s time for the show! Here are a few tips to consider when you are going to, and are at, the sponsorship sales meeting.

Be on Time

The number one rule for making that positive first impression is to always be on time or even early. NEVER BE LATE. If, for some reason outside your control, you are going to be late make a call and apologize for the inconvenience. Ask if the meeting needs to be re-scheduled. Be sensitive to the sponsor’s schedule

Have a Positive Attitude

Your overall attitude is another factor in the sponsorship sales success. The goal is to show your flexibility and professionalism. Be passionate and energetic about what you are doing. Stay away from any negative thoughts. The minute you have a negative thought that is conveyed to your buyer and you have created a negative environment. Remember, you have selected this sponsor to be a part of your program; you have matched their needs with the assets of your event and they are well suited; you are just there to pick up the check! (That last part helps have a positive attitude!)

Dress for Success

Dress for success by matching the style of your prospect. This will take some investigation if you have never met this person. Don’t wear a suit if the environment is informal; conversely, don’t come in khakis and an open shirt if the environment is more formal. You want to match the prospect’s style to establish a level of comfort.

Study the Room

The minute you come in the door of the person’s office look around. Check and see what books they are reading, what is hanging on the wall, do they have pictures of their family or the fish they caught, what degrees do they have, are there any trophies. In short, try to see what can be used as a warm-up opening line to establish a rapport that is beyond the sales process. Use these visual hints to open the conversation. Don’t dwell on a long conversation, though, as you have a limited time for the appointment. Use the basic opener to “bond” with the potential buyer.

A very formal empty office often reflects a more conservative personality and one who wants to get “down to business” quickly.

Ask Questions

Same sales trainer says “The person that asks the questions leads the interview.” Questioning (without interrogating!) the buyer demonstrates interest and certainly gives you the information you need to proceed with the partnership marketing effort. If you don’t understand what they said, say so! Also, repeat back their answers to the questions to ensure that both of you understand what was said.

Take Copious Notes

You can’t remember everything. Ask them for permission to take notes and then be meticulous in capturing their information. You will need this when you are giving them feedback on how your event(s) will have value to them and help them achieve their marketing objectives. A progress report can be used for note-taking. For a sample Progress Report, see Appendix JJ. You can also use this form in conjunction with the action plan to record the next steps for everyone involved. For a sample Action Plan see Appendix Y.

Closing the Sale

At the end of the discussion it is time to ask for the sale. You can simply say “Does it look like we will be working together?”WAIT for the answer. If they say “no,” please respond with “You probably have a good reason for saying that. May I ask what it is?” WAIT for the answer.

There are a number of objections but here are some of the more common:

  • We have no money. (Use the statement “Let’s set that aside for a moment. If money weren’t an issue, would we be working together?” If they say yes, you have a sale. You just have to set up a payment plan)
  • Our budget is already set. (This is your fault. You didn’t go in soon enough. Remember, you should be approaching sponsors by the 2nd quarter of the current year for next year’s events)
  • We don’t want to support the military.(You should have found this out in the exploratory telephone call. However, you could say “You probably have a good reason for saying that. May I ask what it is?” Then, WAIT for the answer)
  • We already give to so many local organizations. (“That is wonderful and I’m sure they appreciate that. The Army, through our MWR program, provides Soldiers and Families with programs that offer you an opportunity to tap into a very loyal, dedicated market. We would love to have you be a part of this growing Family of Army partners”)
  • That’s too much money. (“Not a problem; what had you planned on investing?” Then, be quiet and listen. Let them give you a hint as to their budget. A second hint? Whatever they tell you they probably could double that amount)

Be prepared to deal with objections in a gracious, “you have a right to say that,” manner. Don’t argue …it is counterproductive to your efforts. You won’t get everyone to say yes; however, if you have done your homework before calling on the prospect, you should be able to close one out of every two people you see. Even if they say “no,” now they could change their mind in subsequent years.

Never give up

Assuming they say “yes”, reiterate the agreement elements and tell them you will send them a draft, outlining all the sponsor benefits that you have mutually determined. Ask the sponsor to review it in draft form before finalizing the agreement.

Ongoing Relationship Building

The minute they say “yes,” go back to your office and draft the agreement. Send it via e-mail or facsimile with a request that they review it, provide feedback and return it to you for final processing. Once you have their comments, finalize the agreement, have legal approve it and send it to the sponsor for signature. Be sure to include an invoice specifying payment due date!

If they have said “no,” be sure to send a thank you letter and ask if you may contact them again for future opportunities. Start a file of “contacts to be invited to events” and include them in that file. Invite them to future events. They could eventually become a partner with you!

Without sponsors we wouldn’t have events! Recognizing that, let’s look at what we can do to keep sponsors happy with their participation and to make sure they renew for future events.

Of course, when you enter into a sponsorship arrangement you will have a legally binding agreement. Within that agreement will be spelled out the various elements that comprise the sponsorship package. The more detailed this listing can be, the easier it is for sponsors and event producers alike to manage the sponsorship.

Once you have the complete listing of sponsorship benefits, make sure the sponsoring organization assigns someone from that company to follow through on these benefits. Don’t let sponsors hand you a check and take a “hands-off” approach to their participation. If you do, you are doomed to failure.

In addition to providing sponsorship dollars, the sponsoring organization should attempt to integrate their sponsorship into their other marketing efforts to enhance their participation. This means including the event representative in the marketing planning process as well as involving other departments within the sponsoring organization. All the players should become familiar with the terms of sponsorship to prevent any misunderstandings or miscommunications. Make sure both the event and the sponsoring organization have assigned a single contact who is responsible for the sponsorship management and implementation.

Working together, go through the agreement and make up the complete list of sponsorship benefits into a checklist that you can work from when organizing and producing the event. Then, stick to that list to ensure full execution of all benefits promised. For example, if the sponsor is promised four 3’ x 10’ banners, and the locations have been specifically designated, don’t cut corners and only put up three or make them a different size.

Chapter 10: Account Management/Servicing the Sponsor

Account Management/ Servicing the Sponsor

Without your event, there would be nothing to sponsor. However, without the sponsor’s dollars, you wouldn’t have an event. In this chicken/egg scenario, let’s take the sponsor’s side and talk about the importance of sponsorship and the client servicing aspects of sponsorship.

When negotiating with your sponsors, always keep them informed of what is happening. The more they are involved in the process, the more interested they become in your program/event. The greater the involvement, the greater the commitment.

Once your sponsor has agreed to some level of participation, make sure both parties understand who is doing what and for how much. Put it in writing and outline it in great detail - there is nothing worse than making an assumption that something will be taken care of and finding out, too late, that it has been neglected. Once it is in writing, have both sides sign and acknowledge that, indeed, this is what has been agreed upon and is to be adhered to.

Logo Treatment

When incorporating a corporate sponsor’s logo into your promotional material, make sure you have a copy of their graphics standards manual so you know what can and cannot be done with the logo.The graphic standards manual will tell you where to place the logo, which PMS colors to use, its placement in relation to other logos, where and when the logo can and cannot be used, etc. Don’t make any assumptions about corporate logos. Huge sums of money have been invested in the standards and you are expected to honor the criteria established for the treatment of that logo. A very large sponsorship can be lost over what you might perceive to be a simple misinterpretation of the corporate logo. To the sponsoring organization, the logo is sacred -- treat it accordingly. Make sure all graphics material that contains the corporate logo(s) is approved by the sponsoring organization(s.) With today’s technology, that’s easy. Just fax or e- mail the material to them; get a signature, and have it returned to you.


Include the sponsor in your planning meetings, add them to your memo distribution list, and make sure they receive all press mailings, advisories and notices. When you start receiving media reports of coverage, make copies for the sponsors and mail to them.

Event Day Liaison

During the event, assign someone to be directly responsive to the sponsor’s wishes and needs. Make sure this is a willing, energetic and tactful representative who has been totally apprised of their particular sponsor’s benefits and is qualified to solve any problems that might arise. The attention a sponsor receives from you or the person assigned to that sponsor plays a big role in considerations regarding renewal of the sponsorship.

During the event setup, make sure your sponsor on-site liaison comes to the site and approves location and placement, as stated in the agreement, of the various elements … banners, signs, hospitality, etc. If, for some extraordinary reason, that person is not available, take photos to include in the post-event report. As expressed earlier, ideally, the sponsor will have assigned both an internal liaison as well as an on-site sponsor representative who attends the event and makes sure the sponsor's rights and benefits are provided by the event.


What problems? Something as simple as the assigned priority parking spot has been taken by someone else; the food for the hospitality tent has not arrived on time; the correct number of tickets to the event have not been given to the sponsor; one of the banners is missing; on-site signage has been placed incorrectly; the sponsor’s name is mispronounced in the audio announcement/commercial, etc. Those of you who have been involved in sponsorship can certainly add your own items to this list.

Dealing with the Unexpected

What about the rights the sponsor thinks should be his/hers? Be prepared to deal with the unexpected by having a senior event person available as an onsite resource to the sponsor. Make sure problems are solved quickly, quietly and amicably. For example, the sponsor benefit they are asking for may not be part of the agreement; however the sponsor is your customer and the customer is always right. Take efforts to resolve the debatable point in a way that is mutually agreeable. If you have to, err on the side of the sponsor. The payback will be terrific, as the sponsors will remember the event in a positive manner, which will certainly contribute to their desire to renew.

Photos, Photos, and More Photos

Make sure you take plenty of pictures of the event. This includes crowd shots, pictures of celebrities, and various activities. Always take pictures of each sponsor as you will need those photos for your post-event report. In addition, collect sufficient collateral - ticket stubs, program books, flyers, etc. – to include in the post-event report.

Post Event Report (After-action Reports)

Then, when the event is over, provide your sponsor(s) with a full report on the event, making sure you include all those elements previously agreed upon. After each one, recap how those benefits were met (and, in many cases, exceeded) by the event and its management. Provide the sponsor with a written and visual diary of the event with attendance figures, event highlights and actual exposure all tied together into an event summary that documents the sponsor’s involvement and benefits. This should be provided to the client no later than 30 days after the event.

Selling the sponsorship is merely the first step. Implementation, the execution of the many details of the sponsorship program, is the most important step. In fact, poor implementation will result in an unhappy sponsor who will probably not return to the next event. Conversely, if all involved pay attention to the details and implementation runs smoothly, the sponsor will probably continue his/her affiliation with your event.

Chapter 11: After-Action Reports/ Post-Event Report

Event Evaluation

Marketing Manager’s Report

The marketing manager’s report is essential in creating the after-action report. Providing a list of publicity that was generated from your event is very important to the sponsors and for recruiting new sponsors in the future. Most sponsors greatly value publicity, and this added value in their sponsorship agreement can be the deciding factor for sponsoring future events with your installation. They are interested ONLY in the releases that contained their names. You are better off if you provide them with copies of the actual clippings. It is one thing to show them the releases; it is another to show them the actual printed piece that contains their name.

This report should include:

  • All news releases that were sent out - Not all media will publicize your sponsors, even if they are in your news releases. If you include your releases in the Marketing Report when you create the after-action report, you will be able to show the sponsors you included them in your publicity pieces, even if the media edited them out
  • All print publicity, including all newsletters, newspapers, magazine articles, and other printed materials including advertising, flyers, table tents, programs, and so on
  • All radio promotions, including PSAs you sent out, a copy of spot or commercial on tape (if available), and a listing of airtime from the radio station(s) if possible
  • All television promotions, including a copy of the spots or commercials and a dub of all news coverage about event on local, regional, or national stations

For a sample Marketing Manager’s Report, see Appendix KK.

Sponsorship Manager’s Report

As the sponsorship manager, you need to summarize the event as it pertains to sponsors. This report should include:

  • Overview of sponsors
  • Who were the sponsors? What was their agreement? What happened on-site?
  • Sponsors’ major goals and objectives
  • Measurements of each goal’s success
  • Summary of results
  • Conclusions and recommendations. Include information received from the internal evaluation forms

For a sample Sponsorship Manager’s Report, see Appendix LL.

Event Evaluation – Sponsors

It is important to gather information from all sponsors involved with your event. External evaluation can also help your event grow and help you develop areas that need improvements. It is important to show your sponsors that they have invested in an event that cares about their opinions and wants to make the event enjoyable for all groups involved.

For a sample External Evaluation Form, see Appendix MM.

After you collect these evaluation forms from your sponsors, it is time to arrange the wrap-up meeting and present them with the after-action report.

Creating the After-action Report/Post-Event Report

The after-action report is an executive summary of the results of your event and is to be shared with your sponsors, members of your event team, and key installation staff. This report will force you to boil down all the event details into the key results and conclusions, thus highlighting your use of the event as a device to meet your goals and objectives.

The most important thing to sponsors is Return on Investment (ROI.) Was your event worth their investment? The after-action report will help them make that decision. This is done by showing them goals were met or exceeded as well as the measured marketing value of all the elements in the program. Use the CPM numbers in the pricing chapter to evaluate the true value of the sponsorship. Remember, you can’t put a dollar value on intangibles but you can reiterate those values verbally.

The Layout

The report should begin with a title page featuring the logo, name, and date of the event. The title page might also note “A Final Report Prepared by (your name).”

Next, depending on the complexity of the project, the report might have a table of contents preceded by the report’s statement of purpose.

After the introductory pages are in place, it is time to create the main portion of the report. This section should summarize the event. If you created a program manager’s report (see Appendix NN for a sample), you are already finished with the bulk of the after-action report.

The contents might include:

  • Overview
  • Major goals and objectives
  • Methods and approaches to reach goals
  • Summary of results
  • Conclusions and recommendations

The appendix might include:

  • Full committee roster (if any)
  • Overall budget: Projected and actual
  • Incremental sales realized through the Exchange/commissary displays if available
  • Amount of sponsor product sold by MWR at the event, e.g. soda, beer
  • Overview of sponsorship (the sponsorship manager’s report)
  • Recap of media coverage (the marketing manager’s report)
  • Photographic documentation of event and all sponsor displays
  • Letters of feedback (if any)

Keep Things Concise

It is important to keep the report short and to the point to encourage key people to actually read your materials. Use phrases and bullets whenever possible, and outline information instead of using long paragraphs. Sponsors want to know the key details and will not read drawn-out explanations. Remember, they are just making sure the event was worth their investment.

Binding the Report

You should choose a professional way to hold the report together. Stapling pieces of paper together is not an option. Ideas might be a three-ring binder, a folder or professional binding system, such as velo-binding, spiral binding, or professional saddle stitching. You could even produce a DVD! Remember to consider the ease of use and choose a system that fits your report size and format. Be sure the system is durable, professional, and adds to the positive impact of your report.

Cover Memo

The sponsorship manager should send a cover memo with this report that explains that the document is a recap of the strategy and activities involved in the process. Memos should be personalized for each key contact and should state that the sponsorship manager is available for follow-up discussions or to answer questions.

For a sample of After Action Report elements, see Appendix OO-1 and Appendix OO-2

The Wrap-up Meeting

Now that the project is completed, it’s time to meet individually with each sponsor. Now is the time to review your goals and objectives and see how your sponsorship strategies worked. Depending on the size of the project and the complexity of each sponsorship, you can prepare an evaluation agenda to guide your group to a meaningful discussion.

Begin with the Goals and Objectives

At the top of your evaluation agenda, begin by repeating the sponsors’ goals and objectives for the event and the specific measurements you targeted. It is critical to review these details with the sponsors so everyone is reminded why sponsors chose to get involved with the event in the first place.

Follow with a Concise Agenda

After repeating your key goals, list the agenda for the meeting. Again, you could spend time recapping each piece of the event, but the specific purpose of this meeting is to evaluate important results and think about natural changes and development.

Your agenda might begin with a welcome and presentation of the thank-you items. The discussion should be structured, not disjointed and digress in five different directions. One way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to go through the event chronologically. Walk through the event in order including:

  • The planning process
  • On-site implementation
  • Follow-up process
  • Show video, pictures, and other audio-visual presentation methods.

Set a Time Limit

Remember, the purpose of the meeting is to discuss how you as a team, event producer, and event sponsor, met your goals and objectives, and how to specifically improve your results next time. Keep the discussion on a predetermined timetable and do not get too bogged down in any one area.

Produce Final Meeting Minutes

After this session, be sure to recap the details during the final meeting minutes and send them to all participants. Again, include your key results from other areas of the event. The sponsor will appreciate your help in recording these ideas.

Thank You's

This section is dedicated to the theory that thank-you letters are worth thousands of dollars to the future of your event. The golden rule is: thank all sponsors - big and small! Diagram the plan for thank-you letters so you can be sure all of your key people are covered. List all sponsors - big and small, monetary and in-kind. A small sponsor this year could be a huge sponsor in the future, if treated nicely. Use your event or command letterhead on these letters and try to get them out within two weeks after the event.

As the event producer/manager, you should personally thank all sponsors. If there was an honorary chairperson and celebrity host or Army official involved, they also may want to thank the sponsors. A thank-you note from the Commanding General on star stationary is also appropriate. There can never be too many thank-you notes sent to a sponsor. The two types of thank-you notes are:

  • Informal (phone calls and personal notes)
  • Formal (official letters, photos, and mementos)

For a sample Thank-you Letter, see Appendix PP.

Informal Thank-you Notes

Remember to call each key person by name and make personalized comments about his or her individual success, as well as their organization’s on-site presence at the event. This phone call should be made a few days after the event and often is a great opportunity to set up the wrap-up meeting time and location.

Formal Thank You Notes

Formal thank-you letters can be as easy as an official letter or card thanking the sponsor for their involvement, but the unique thank your acknowledgements are the ones they will always remember. A star note or certificate of appreciation from your commander is an inexpensive yet effective way to thank your sponsors. Listed here are some ideas for a unique and memorable thank-you gift.

A T-shirt, jacket, coffee cup, or other imprinted item might be the perfect gift for your sponsors. Again, by using the event logo and/or name, date and a personalized name truly identifies the volunteer with the project, sharing the ownership and association. There might be items left over from your event such as posters or sportswear that can be customized, or maybe one of your vendors will help you create something really special.

Photographs Make Great Gifts

A lovely framed photograph of the event with a caption of “Thanks” might be the perfect gift for your key sponsors. The event photograph will have special meaning to key players and will be a nice addition to their home or office. A shot of their actual on-site involvement or photos of the sponsor POC with key event celebrities is an even better memento for a job well done.

Sponsor Appreciation/Recognition

One of the nicest ways to thank your sponsors is to have a post-event sponsor party. It can be breakfast, lunch, wine and cheese … some special celebration that gives recognition to all your sponsors and allows them to “hob nob” with the military brass. Make sure you have a photographer on hand so the pictures can go into the Army publications as well as sending them to the local media with a photo caption that highlight the value of those sponsors to your event.


Use the recognition event and after-market report to reinforce the value of working with the military and to continue their sponsorship of your events. Renewal is easy if you have provided the sponsors with the value they expected (and just a little more!)

Chapter 12: Appendices

Appendix A Department of Defense Instruction1015.10, Enc. 11 and 12

Appendix B Army Regulation 215-1, Chapter 11; MWR Events definition

Appendix C Policy Memorandum Army Ten Miler

Appendix D Policy Memorandum Army Birthday Ball

Appendix E Policy Memorandum Commercial Sponsorship Policy

Appendix F Listing of Websites to Policies

Appendix G Designation Memorandum Template

Appendix H Commercial Sponsorship Agreement Template

Appendix I Commercial Advertising Agreement Template

Appendix J Agreement Addendum Template

Appendix K Policy Memorandum Off-Post Financial Institutions

Appendix L Annexes A and B to OPORD 15-014: Educational Institution Request for Access to Army Installation/Activity and Educational Disclosure/Checklist

Appendix M IMCOM Operations Order OPORD 15-014 Access to Army Installations by Educational Institutions/FRAGO – Annex C

Appendix N Sponsorship Request Form

Appendix O Authorized and Prohibited Use of NAFs

Appendix P Organizational Inspection Program (OIP) Checklist

Appendix Q Sample Invoice

Appendix R Sponsorship Opportunity Audit/Post Event Report

Appendix S Sample Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)

Appendix T Sponsorship/Advertising Solicitation Pieces (T-1, T-2, T-3)

Appendix U Overall Planning Worksheet

Appendix V Setting Goals and Objectives

Appendix W Building a Budget Worksheet

Appendix X Events News Release

Appendix Y Sample Action Plan

Appendix Z Job Description Worksheet

Appendix AA Communication Record

Appendix BB Asset Inventory/Pricing Checklist

Appendix DD Events Benefits Checklist

Appendix EE Pricing Worksheet

Appendix FF IEG Pricing Workbook

Appendix GG Sample Proposals (GG-1, GG-2a, GG-2b, GG-3)

Appendix HH Sample Cover Letter/E-mail

Appendix II Opportunity Overview

Appendix JJ Sample Progress Report

Appendix KK Sample Marketing Manager’s Report

Appendix LL Sample Sponsorship Manager’s Report

Appendix MM External Evaluation Form

Appendix NN Sample Program Manager’s Report

Appendix OO Sample After Action Report Elements (OO1, OO2)

Appendix PP Sample Thank You Letter

Appendix QQ Determining Events Needs Worksheet

Appendix RR Advertising Specifications

Appendix SS Generating revenue with Social Media

Appendix TT Pricing Tool (Calculator) TT-1, TT-2


Additional Templates/Forms/Tools:

Appendix CC Sample Opt-In Form

Appendix UU Command/Program Manager Sponsorship Presentation Template

Appendix VV USO MOU with DOD

Appendix WW Sample SOP

Appendix XX FY16 Operating Guidance (Marketing)

Appendix YY Tax Documentation (tax deduction for sponsorship)

Appendix ZZ FY16 MWR SOP - Marketing

Appendix AAA Sponsorship Process Model

Appendix BBB IMCOM Enterprise Web - Frequently Asked Questions

Appendix CCC MWR Events Regulation

Appendix DDD Personal Commercial Solicitation versus Commercial Sponsorship

Appendix EEE Financial Education First Command Letter

Chapter 13: Glossary of Terms


AAFES - Now The Exchange - Army and Air Force Exchange Service; proponent for the Army and Air Force exchanges. They provide dividend of their sales to Army MWR and the other services

Activation – A sponsorship opportunity whereby the sponsor is permitted to engage the attendees with a register to win or couponing program that will activate the purchase of the product.

Advertisement - Public notice or announcement.

Agreement - A legally binding contract

Attendance - Individuals present at your event or promotion


Benchmarking - Looking at set of average standards to use as a loose measurement

Bill stuffers - Small printed materials that can be included in bill statements or paychecks

Bleed – A printing term that refers to printing that goes beyond the edge of the sheet after trimming. The bleed is the part on the side of your document that gives the printer that small amount of space to move around paper and design inconsistencies.

Brainstorming - The process of creating and documenting ideas from multiple people.


Chronological - Order of occurrence

Circulation - Distribution of materials such as newspapers, newsletters and so on Collateral materials - Promotional materials including flyers, tickets, posters, and point-of-sale pieces

Commercial sponsorship - A monetary and/or in-kind fee paid to you, as an event manager/producer, in return for access to the exploitable commercial potential, such as public recognition or advertising promotions, associated with that property, event or promotion

Commissary - Military grocery store

Communication record - Record kept of any exchange of information, ideas, and details

Copious - Exacting with attention to detail; plentiful

Coupon - Detachable slip of paper giving entitlement to payment of interest or to some service

Cover Letter - An introduction letter that accompanies sponsorship proposals

Credentials - Letter or tag establishing the authority of the bearer

Cross promotions - Separate activities that promote each other for the good of both participants

Customization - Changing a base package to accommodate specific sponsor goals


Database - Information captured in a computer and organized by like traits

DeCA - Defense Commissary Agency; proponent for commissaries

Demographics - The statistical study of human population, especially with reference to size and density, distribution, and vital statistics. Demographic segmentation breaks down the market by characteristics related to the consumer including age, income, sex, occupation (rank), education level, marital status, and active duty/reservists/retirees/civilian

DoD - Department of Defense.

Donations - See Gifts and donations


Electronic signboard - Moving lighted signage that is programmed with custom messages

Equity - Fairness and justice. Exchange - Military department store

Exclusivity - Not shared with any others; sole source available at an event

Experiential – Experiential marketing gives customers an opportunity to engage and interact with brands, products, and services in sensory ways (touch, feel, smell). (Example: Test driving a car).


Fact sheet - One- or two-page overview of key information from the project/event

Fax sheet - Page used for transmission via facsimile machine.

Flyer - Widely-distributed handbill, small poster, and so on


Gatekeeper - Person or items that get in the way from obtaining a desired contact

Gifts and donations - Gifts and donations may not be solicited, and acceptance or refusal is based on the need of the intended program. Contrary to commercial sponsorship, there is no advertising or promotional exposure for the donor.

Goodwill - Positive feeling or association that is generated by an event and may be transferred to a sponsor

Gross impression - Total viewing number of a logo or name; determined by attendance reach and other factors


Hard file - Paper file of documents and samples


Impressions - An effect produced by the feelings or senses

Incentives - Something that serves as a stimulus to action by appealing to selfinterest

In-kind - Products or services that are donated in addition to or in lieu of cash

Intangible sponsor benefits - Sponsor benefits that not easily measured by standard means


Listenership - Audience who hears communication (for example the number of people listening to a certain radio station)

Logo - A graphic symbol/mark identifying an event or organization


Measurable - Notable, significant; capable of being measured or compared

Media outlet - The type of media chosen to support the event (TV, radio, print, billboards)

Menu of opportunities - The listing of possible components of a sponsorship package

Methodology - Principle or practice of orderly thought or procedure applied to a particular branch of learning

MOA - Memorandum of Agreement; memorandums that define general areas of conditional agreement between two or more parties — what one party does depends on what the other party does (for example, one party agrees to provide support if the other party provides the materials). MOAs that establish responsibilities for providing recurring reimbursable support should be supplemented with support agreements that define the support, basis for reimbursement for each category of support, the billing/payment process, and other terms conditions of the agreement

MOU - Memorandum of Understanding; memorandums that define general areas of understanding between two or more parties; explains what each party plans to do; however, what each party does is not dependent on what the other party does (for example, does not require reimbursement or other support from receiver)

Murphy’s Law - The observation that whatever can go wrong, will


Networking - The process of making business contacts

News release - A bulletin prepared by the public relations department, announcing an event/activity to the press

Nonappropriated funds - Cash and other assets received from sources other than congressional appropriations. NAFs are government funds used for the collective benefit of those who generate them. These funds are separate from funds that are recorded in the books of the Treasurer of the United States

NTR – Non Traditional Revenue (radio’s name for sponsorship).


Opportunity overview - The brief listing of opportunities available in the sponsorship package


Packaging - Combination of items considered as a unit

Pitch - Practice talk or appeal intended to influence or persuade; a sponsorship sales presentation

PMS color systems - Printing industry standard system for color matching

POC - Point of contact at an organization

Point-of-sale merchandising - Promotional materials used at a retail location to associate the product with the event

Possibility selling - Style of communicating to the potential sponsor the possible options for an event

Premium - Object or service that’s offered for free as an inducement to buy something

Prioritization - Establishing an order of importance based on urgency or need

Private organizations - A self-sustaining entity operating on an Army installation by individuals acting outside any official capacity as officers, employees, or agents of the federal government or its instrumentalities. It may be incorporated or unincorporated, but must have the written consent of the installation commander or higher authority to operate on the installation (AR 210-22).

Product exclusivity - The contracted benefit that allows one brand of product/service at an event

Promotional window - The amount of time focused on promoting and marketing an event and associated activities

Psychographics - The statistical study of human population, especially with reference to mental life and behavior. Psychographic studies break down the market according to behavioral characteristics of consumers, including opinions, attitudes, beliefs, activities, and interests

Public service announcement (PSA) - Promotional spot in radio/ television to promote a non-profit organization or event

Publicity - Information/awareness that is generated from your event in print, television, and /or radio


Right of First Refusal - Opportunity offered in a sponsorship contract to sponsor at the same level the next time, year etc.


Site map - Map of a location or event

Script - The detailed timeline of all details of a project. Signage - Flyers, signs, or banners

Solicitation - A petition or persuasion document; the sponsorship sales package

Solicited sponsorship - Response to sponsorship opportunities requested by the Army

Sponsor master files - Paper files including sponsor records, logos, and other information

Sponsorship feedback - Questions sponsors answer to give opinions after an event

Sponsorship proposals - Written documents offering sponsorship opportunities

Sponsorship solicitation piece - Communications piece included in a sponsorship proposal

Sub-activities - Smaller activities or events inside a larger event

Systematic approach - Methodical or planned system to reach stated goals


Table tents - Printed double-sided promotional materials usually folded and used on tables

Tactics - The specific action steps to meet a stated goal

Tagging advertising - Adding your event message to advertising that’s currently running

Tangible sponsor benefits - Benefits measurable by traditional means such as advertising, tickets, and giveaways

Target audience - Persons/objects of effort or attention; the group targeted to receive the message

The Exchange - see AAFES

Tray liner - Printed promotional material usually used with plastic trays in a food service environment


Unsolicited sponsorship - Sponsorship proposals sent to the Army without the request by staff


Venue - Location or place of event

Viewership - The audience that sees communication (such as a television station); measured by number or households


Word-of-mouth advertising - Positive comments made to friends or associates about an activity or event, possibly including sponsor involvement

A big THANK YOU goes to everyone who contributed to this edition of the Desk Reference; there are too many to list them all separately.

Input and review was provided by installations and the following IMCOM G9 divisions

  • Marketing & Interactive Solutions
  • NAF Contracting
  • Financial Management
  • Public Affairs
  • SJA

Special thanks go to Sylvia Allen of Allen Consulting who wrote the initial industry section of this book.

POC: Gabriele Drechsel

IMCOM G9 Family & MWR Marketing & Interactive Solutions

Garrison Support, Policy & Training

2450 Connell Road

JB Fort Sam Houston, TX 78324-7664


(210) 466-1860

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