A Beginner's Guide to Social Media Sponsorship for K-12 Athletics

Keaton McAuliffe
Keaton McAuliffe

Whether you're a social media rookie or a seasoned pro, you've probably heard the term "social media sponsorship." And if you're a K-12 Athletic Director or Coach, you've probably assumed that the concept of social media sponsorship doesn't apply to you or your department.

But I'm here to tell you that it does apply to you (and in a BIG way). If you take advantage of social media sponsorship, you can raise thousands of dollars for your teams and athletes.

Take it from Green Level High School AD and Gipper user Colin Fegeley, who pays for his yearly Gipper subscription in full just by sponsoring his social media posts.


Sound like something you want to try? This step-by-step guide will walk you through how you can start a social media sponsorship program in a few easy steps.

What is Social Media Sponsorship?

First, though, let's make sure we know what social media sponsorship really means for you. 

Chances are, you or your department are running some sort of sponsorship program already. If you have banners advertising local businesses on your gym walls, that's sponsorship. If you have ads in your game day programs, that's sponsorship. If you put business logos up on your digital scoreboard during games, that's sponsorship. 

School gym banners
Social media sponsorship is just the practice of moving those banners or ads from the real estate of your gym to your social media channels.  

In other words, sponsorship is just fundraising (which we know you already do)! But it's actually one of the easiest forms of fundraising available to you (WAY easier than organizing a bake sale or trying to squeeze one more banner on your gym wall). 

What Does Social Media Sponsorship Look Like for Athletic Departments?

So maybe you get the concept, but what does that really look like? Can it be that simple?

It can! Social media sponsorship is as easy as adding a business's logo to your social media graphics. And this can be any social media graphic, from game days to athletes of the week to final scores. 

Here are some examples: 

How Can You Start a Social Media Sponsorship Program?

Sure, starting a brand new program from scratch always seems like a lot of effort. But the good news is, the hard part of social media sponsorship isn't even that hard! Here are four steps you can take to get a sponsorship program off the ground at your program.

1. Identify Potential Sponsors

There are a few ways to identify businesses or companies that might be interested in sponsorship.

First, start with who you're already partnered with! Take stock of the sponsors who have bought banners in your gym, space on your game day programs, or ads on your digital scoreboard. Chances are if they're already partnered with you, they'll be open to trying something new.

Take a walk around town — literally or virtually! Local and small businesses are prime for school and team sponsorships. They often don't have the budget or resources for large-scale marketing that chain stores or corporate organizations do. Plus, their target market is your fans, which makes a sponsorship with you all the more valuable. 

Finally, leverage existing relationships with parents, staff, local town administrators, and other community members. If you have a strong, tight-knit community, you'll likely be able to find connections with local business owners. Maybe their kids even go to your school or play for your teams! Start asking around, and have some conversations with parents. Find out where they take their kids for ice cream after games or where they buy sandwiches for the team before away events. 

Pro tip: Have the sponsors come to you! Post a call for sponsors on social with a graphic! 


2. Identify Opportunities for Sponsorship

This is just a fancy way of asking: what content do you post on social media regularly? 

Take 30 seconds to think about the types of content you post every week, maybe multiple times a week. Content like: 

  • Game days
  • Score updates
  • Final scores
  • Player of the week
  • Coach of the week

The list goes on and on. All of these posts are great opportunities for sponsors: they're posted regularly and therefore get a ton of exposure. 

3. Create Sponsorship Packages

This step is optional, but can help you start thinking through how you'd like to approach potential business partners. 

Sponsorship packages offer local businesses varying levels of exposure through your channels (digital, social, physical) at varying prices. 

For example, let's say you are "selling" a banner space in your gym. You might price that at $500 for the year. 

But, you might also want to offer banner space in your gym plus sponsored gameday posts on social. For that combination, you might charge more like $800-$1000 for the year.

You can "package" together multiple exposure opportunities for local businesses. The more exposure they get, the more you can charge! 

Screen Shot 2023-10-20 at 9.18.10 AM

Pro tip: When you're starting to build out packages, pay attention to your analytics on social — the number of impressions you get on your game day posts, etc. Those numbers can help you justify higher prices for sponsorship.

Let's say you post an average of five game day posts a week, and each gets an average of 1,000 impressions (or views). That's 5,000 eyeballs on a sponsor logo every week (way more than you can guarantee on a gym wall banner). Charge a higher price for more guaranteed views. 

4. Create & Execute

You've arrived at the fun part! Once you have sponsors lined up and packages purchased, the heavy lifting is over. Now, it's time to do one thing: get posting! 

Gipper makes it extremely easy to create sponsored posts. How easy, exactly? Just watch:

Pro tip: Use tools like our Schedule for Later feature. That way, you can create all of your sponsored posts in one go if you want. And once you have these designs saved, the hard work is already done. Open up your saved sponsored posts, change the event or score info, and send it on out. No starting from scratch necessary. 

The key to getting started with social media sponsorship is to keep it simple and start small. Partner with one local business for a season and see how it goes. Pick a type of post to sponsor and keep track of impressions. At the end of the season, review how the posts performed and ask your corporate partner how they felt the season went for them. Use that experiment as a blueprint for expanding or developing a robust social media sponsorship program! 

Want some extra help or advice? Meet with the Gipper team! We're happy to share our expertise and provide you with more examples of how ADs and athletic admins across the country are taking advantage of social media sponsorship. 

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