Sponsorship collective logo

The Best Question to Ask a Sponsor

by | May 3, 2022

Why you can trust Sponsorship Collective

  • The Sponsorship Collective has worked with over 1000 clients from every property type all over North America and Europe, working with properties at the $50,000 level to multi-million dollar campaigns, events and multi-year naming rights deals
  • We have published over 300 YouTube videos, written over 500,000 words on the topic and published dozens of research reports covering every topic in the world of sponsorship
  • All of our coaches and consultants have real world experience in sponsorship sales

Here’s a fun quiz for you.

Where in your sponsorship program do you think the most critical window of opportunity is?

I bet you would say it’s early in the sponsorship program, right? Like right after the discovery session or a follow-up meeting or two?

Actually, it isn’t. The most valuable sponsorship opportunity is after the event once you’ve delivered on your promised outcomes.

Are you surprised? Some of you who are reading this likely are, I’d bet. 

If my answer caught you off-guard, then today’s post is for you. I’ll talk about the must-ask question you need in your sponsorship arsenal to make a single-time sponsor into a multi-time partner.

Let’s begin!

Why You Want to Renew Your Sponsors

Listen, I understand that not every sponsorship relationship always goes well. Usually though, if the partnership was that disastrous, you have to be willing to look in the mirror and take some of the blame. 

You picked the partner, so you should have known what you’d be in for.

In more cases than not, when you wrap up with a sponsor, you’re going to have some interest in working with them again. These reasons prove why recurring sponsors are highly advantageous. 

Why You Want to Renew Your Sponsors

Easier Planning for Next Year

If this year’s event, program, or opportunity was a smashing success, then of course, you’re going to want to put on a soiree of the same nature next year. 

You’ll begin planning for that next program or event immediately after the current one wraps up. Soon enough, you’ll get to the point where you have to budget for the event and begin researching your sponsorship options.

When you already have a sponsor you can work with again, then you know that X amount of your funding is taken care of. You won’t need as many partners to bridge the financial gap, which accelerates your event planning for this second go-around. 


There’s a reason you always go to the same hairdresser or call the same corner pizza place every Friday. You know exactly what you’re going to get from them.

You don’t have to think about it, and even more importantly, you don’t have to stress about it, either. 

After partnering with a sponsor once, that same level of reliability comes into play. They helped you produce a stellar event or program last year, so you’d assume that they will be able to do the same for you this coming year. 

Happier Audiences

Did your audience love the sponsorship activations you had at your last event or opportunity? Did a good portion of your audience convert to the sponsor company?

If so, then you know they’ll be thrilled to see the same sponsor back again at your next event. A happier audience is more loyal and could spend more money, which is a win-win. 

New call-to-action

Makes Your Company Look Good

Plus, I had to slip this last perk in here, but it makes your company or organization look like a million bucks if you can retain sponsors.

Clearly, you’re doing something right if the same companies want to work with you year after year. You could even have potential prospects reach out to you if you have a roster of long-term sponsors. You never know!

The Best Question to Ask a Sponsor to Encourage Renewal

Okay, so I’m sure you’re chomping at the bit wondering what this question is that you should ask your prospects to get them to renew, right? 

I won’t keep you on pins and needles anymore.

The question is as follows: “What would we have to do as the property or rights holders to get you to agree to give us twice as much money next year and for it to be the best marketing investment you’ve made in the last five years?”

I told you, it’s bold, eh?

You wouldn’t just come right out and ask this question, of course. You’d preface it by saying that you have a rather bold question that you’d like to ask the sponsor. Then you’d ask for their permission to even query them.

When the sponsor gives you the okay, then you’d drop the question. 

Even still, with all that setup and the permission, it’s still a very brave kind of question to ask. You might not feel comfortable being so direct.

I get that. I’m asking you to trust me here, because this kind of question could be huge for your future sponsorship program.

If you find that you just can’t convince yourself to be that brazen, then you can always say something like, “I don’t want to suggest that you should give us more money or not. I just want to know, what would it take for us to be your preferred partner, for us to double our engagement, and for it to be the best thing you’ve done in five years?”

You want to present the question this way because doing so makes it very clear that you’re not just asking for twice the money but only producing the same outcome from last year. 

You’re telling the sponsor right off the bat that you’re willing to give them more benefits and more value so that their continued investment is worthwhile. 

It’s All About Timing

To further put your mind at ease, let me tell you that I don’t want you randomly picking up the phone three days after your event or program ends and asking the sponsor the question I recommended.

Instead, the question is going to come about naturally after you deliver your fulfillment report. 

I just wrote a great post with a sample fulfillment report template that I highly recommend you read if this is only your first or second sponsorship engagement. 

To serve as a quick refresher, a fulfillment report goes into detail on all the features, benefits, and outcomes of your event, opportunity, or program. You recount all the activations and assets you promised. 

Then, most importantly, you go through it one by one and discuss whether you met the objectives you promised, whether you over delivered, whether you under delivered, or whether you didn’t deliver at all. 

As I talked about in that article, sometimes you will underdeliver. If that’s the case for this particular sponsorship arrangement, then you can still ask the magic question. 

You won’t get the outcome you were hoping for, but you can still ask.

You can’t ask for twice the money if you’re not even fulfilling basic outcomes. Further, you can’t promise to do more if you aren’t taking care of what the sponsor already needs.

So then why ask? When you request double the money but without meeting objectives, this opens the door for a frank and productive conversation about where you fell short and how you can improve for next time. 

If you delivered on every objective you promised the sponsor and happened to overdeliver a lot too, now you’re in a viable position to ask for more money. You also seem credible when you promise that you can do more for the sponsor because you’ve proved yourself.

New call-to-action

Tone Is Everything

I don’t want you to be deathly serious when you pose this question to your sponsor. You want to instead keep it lighthearted and even a touch noncommittal.

And noncommittal is a good word here. You don’t have a new sponsorship proposal for the sponsor to look through. You haven’t submitted a new pitch deck. You’re just posing a question that–considering how well you’ve delivered–you’re within your right to ask.

How Will My Sponsor Respond?

I’m sure you’re very curious how a question like this is going to garner a response from a sponsor, right? What could they possibly say?

Well, I’m not your sponsor, so I can’t tell you for sure, but they will have one of two answers.

Either they’ll be interested, or they won’t be.

In both cases, I’d recommend you at least ask if you can put together a list of your assets, outcomes, and opportunities that this new working relationship could unlock. 

If the sponsor is interested, then you’d ask if you could compile a sponsorship proposal that would detail how you’ll achieve the goals you’re promising. 

This will require you to value your assets again, but you should be a pro at that by now. 

Once you can confirm that what the sponsor is asking for is worth at least double your rights fees, here’s what I like to do. I don’t charge the sponsor double.

Nope. Instead, I charge them 1 ½ times more.

They’re already willing to pay twice more. They confirmed that, so paying 1 ½ times more should be no problem.

For the reduced price, you’d ask the sponsor to sign a two-year agreement. The price of the deal wouldn’t go up over those two years.

Are you taking a bit of a financial hit? Maybe a little, but it’s nothing detrimental. 

You’re assuredly earning more from this sponsor than you were last year. Plus, you know that you have them again for the year after as well. 

Since you’re giving the sponsor such a great deal, they should, in good faith, be willing to sign on to a longer-term deal.


This one little question is one of the most powerful tools in your sponsorship sales toolbox. You do have to knuckle up and muster some courage to ask, but once you do, you can take your sponsorship relationship to the next level.

I follow this method myself for creating multi-year sales agreements and moving sponsors up the sales ladder. I hope you too can begin doing the same for your sponsorship program.