Small firms can get good publicity and create valuable goodwill by sponsoring a local team, event or good cause - and it doesn't have to break the bank, as business writer Naomi Marks reports
Sponsorship is often considered the domain of big business, but there are plenty of excellent opportunities for small firms. These might include sponsoring a local sports team, art exhibition, business competition, school project or recycling initiative.
"Sponsorship is a mutually beneficial relationship between two organisations, a rights owner such as a sports club, and a fund provider - the business," explains Jackie Fast, sponsorship manager and managing director at Slingshot Sponsorship.
"While the rights owner usually benefits from goods, services or funding provided by the business, the funder can benefit in myriad ways," she says. "The return on investment won't always translate directly into pounds. But while measuring increased sales is important, benefits such as brand awareness, showcasing opportunities, customer loyalty, lead generation and goodwill all need to be considered too."