Many small business owners will tell you the seeds of their entrepreneurial spirit were planted during the years they spent playing youth sports. For these folks, the soft skills they learned on the field — confidence, fortitude, the willingness to make mistakes and take risks in order to improve — would serve as the foundation for their business goals.
It’s no wonder that, in an effort to connect to their local communities, many small businesses owners look to sponsor those same youth sports teams.
Doing so not only provides a way to give back and support programs you benefited from, but it also makes good business sense.
If you’ve considered doing so but haven’t yet, here are five reasons why you should sponsor a local youth sports team.
- Philanthropy. While you probably won’t be remembered as a second Carnegie, sponsoring does not go unrecognized. Your financial support has a direct impact on the local community by helping to defer the costs associated with youth sports, giving more kids the opportunity to participate regardless of their financial situation.
- It’s great marketing. It’s been said that word-of-mouth advertising is the best kind. With the name of your business on the backs of a dozen or so jerseys, you’ll be sure to win some positive recognition. Parents love to talk about the sports their kids play, and when they do, the name of your business will likely be mentioned.
- Visibility in the community. Sponsorship offers a great way to differentiate yourself from the competition. The majority of Americans would prefer to patronize local businesses, and seeing your name as you take on an active and supportive role in the community can be a boon for your business.
- Potential tax breaks. Many youth sports organizations are classified as non-profits. You should check with your company’s accountant before making a decision, but sponsoring a team might be classified as a charitable donation — meaning you’ll pay a little less to Uncle Sam this year.
- Big return on dollars spent. Decades ago, major companies figured out how lucrative it was to sponsor athletes. There’s a reason why multi-national corporations will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their name on a race car. The return on the investment is huge. While only a few Fortune 500s can sponsor a NASCAR driver, a small local business can get a proportionally similar return by sponsoring a local team.
If you’re not able to directly sponsor a team, there are other ways to support youth sports in your community. For instance, you can donate products or services to a raffle or provide space to host a fundraiser. However you do it, it’s a great opportunity to give back to the community and grow your business.