“We do a lot to recognize our donors, but sponsorship is a little bit different. At a school like Northwestern State, we wouldn’t exist without our sponsors.” – Dr. Haley Taitano, Northwestern State, Associate Athletic Director for External Relations/SWA.
It was a signing day like no other at Northwestern State athletics on Thursday. The Demons athletic department held its first “Sponsor Signing Day” as a way to recognize and thank the people and companies behind some of their biggest partnerships.
“We had sponsors driving in from out of town. Some people we’ve only ‘met’ over the phone and email, so it was wonderful to see them in person and let them know how much our university appreciates their support.”
It’s a unique idea that was a collaborative effort.
“We partnered with Peak Sports and it was actually their brainchild, but we loved the idea, and it was so gratifying to have these people driving in for the event. Seeing that it was really meaningful and worth their time,” says Taitano.
This inaugural Sponsor Signing Day event replicated the same scenarios that take place around the country when student-athletes sign national letters of intent to attend the college of their choice.
“We wanted to recognize them one by one. There was a signing day table in front of our backdrop. It’s was great. Everyone was so thankful and happy, we got a lot of positive feedback.”
Taitano tells CollegeAD they have 75 sponsorships, but some aren’t local. They had about 20 or 30 for signing day, and she says it proceeded very much like a student-athlete signing day, with AD remarks and pictures. But there was also another piece to the puzzle for the day.
“Not only does it give us a chance to recognize them but it also gives our staff and coaches, who may not mingle with our sponsors on a regular basis to meet,” she explains.“That’s what the sponsors really love, they love getting to know our coaches and staff and student-athletes.”
This isn’t the first outside-of-the box idea Northwestern State has done for sponsors. Taitano says last year’s #StandUnited campaign was a big hit.
“We had a countdown to kickoff and instead of using generic football pictures on social media, we used pictures of our sponsors. We had great feedback and picked up three new sponsors from that campaign.”
She says she’s hoping to continue the Sponsor Signing Day event with similar results. Corporate partnerships are established through the Demons Unlimited Foundation, NSU Athletics’ 501(c)3 that helps offset the rising costs of scholarships, facility improvements, marketing/advertising and more.
This story first appeared in The NightCap, CollegeAD’s evening newsletter. The NightCap delivers the day’s college athletics news in simple bullet points, giving you what you need to know in just a few lines. Get The NightCap today.