Nobody likes to “sell” the farm, and you especially want all logos and products displayed through sponsorships or partnerships to fit in with the branding of the farm.
A great place to start for a small farm, Saunders says, is to begin with the companies and products you already use as a potential sponsor. This could be everything from anything you rent – sound equipment, tents, port-a-johns, generators – to the gravel companies who fix up your roads, electricians, etc.
“Go to your existing suppliers and say ‘Would you like to sponsor us? I can put a party on for your employees and families for $500 to $1000 and take that off my bill,’” he says. “It’s not going to cost you that much to put it on and you’ll save a little bit of money, and it’s the beginning of a relationship.”
For a midsized farm with some relationships already established, Saunders recommends moving from bartering to an exchange of service. A business could sponsor your hayrides, jumping pillow or barrel train.
“Get them to be a part of some of the smaller things and once you move to the bigger facilities, that’s when you get the cash sponsorships, and the season sponsorships, community partner, whatever level you want to create it at. Work your way up going from a few hundred bucks to a few thousand dollars,” he says.
For the large farms who might think they’ve maxed out their opportunities, Saunders says there’s always room to do more. Here’s where you can leverage your size by having a marketing firm help out.
“The larger facilities, if you don’t have time to do this sort of thing, employ someone to do it for you. Go to a local marketing firm and employ them – say ‘I’ll give you $1,000 for every sponsor you bring in or for $5,000 you become my marketing partner and help me get sponsors,” he says.