Working in new media development, Rosston Meyer has had years experience providing creative marketing services for various industries. His sharp business acumen led him to found Sponsorist.com, a sponsorship marketplace that facilitates sponsorship transactions between two parties. Rosston’s experience in the nonprofit sector helped add a charity component to Sponsorist.
Sponsorist offers a simple platform that allows individuals, companies, and non-profits to support each other through sales of sponsorship. A portion of the funding amount goes to the user that listed the item, and a portion always goes to a non-profit that they selected.
MO: Where did your idea for Sponsorist come from? How did your experience and background contribute to the development of the company?
Rosston: The idea for Sponsorist originally came while I was working at a large nonprofit organization in Boca Raton, FL. It seemed that everything was named or sponsored, not just buildings and conference rooms but even hallways as well! That is when I first noticed that there is a huge opportunity to help people find sponsors for whatever their interests are. The Sponsorist platform allows anyone to be a part of the sponsorship process and businesses to help get the recognition that they want.
As I was looking at new business ideas to explore, creating Sponsorist seemed like the best choice due to its reach and market size. Creating a platform that lets anyone buy and sell sponsorships, and is easy to understand became my main goal.
MO: How does Sponsorist work?
Rosston: When someone creates a listing on Sponsorist, they list details about whatever it is they are looking for sponsorship for (the who, what, why, where, and when) as well as their sponsorship levels, which are available for anyone to purchase or sponsor. They also select a charity to receive a portion of each sale that is made through the listing. This percentage and charity is chosen from Sponsorist’s growing nonprofit directory when creating the listing.
Users then share their listing through email and social networks, reaching as many potential sponsors as possible. Sponsors can pick whatever sponsorship option best suits their needs, and they then purchase the sponsorship. We connect them with the person that they’ve sponsored in order to get whatever collateral materials are needed to complete the sponsorship (for example, a logo needed for a banner at an event). Once the sponsorship is verified, funds are sent to the user that was sponsored, and whatever amount was selected to go to charity is sent to them as a donation.
MO: What trends have you noticed in sponsorship since you first launched last year?
Rosston: Sponsorship really reaches so many groups of people: event organizers, sports athletes and teams, community groups and individuals; as well as the brands and companies that are looking to sponsor them. I have seen that there are sponsorship opportunities literally everywhere; on both the national and local level, hitting almost every demographic and geographic area. The site has been most successful with event sponsorships, although Sponsorist is currently focusing on sports and community sponsorships local to South Florida.
MO: What has your marketing strategy looked like so far? How have you been attracting non-profit organizations to your site?
Rosston: Sponsorist’s marketing strategy has been a mix of social media, personal sales/outreach, online advertising, and word-of-mouth. The response to the site has been overwhelmingly great so far, and people from all over the country looking for sponsorship in various categories are currently listed on the site.
Attracting nonprofits to the site has been relatively easy, as it is a no-brainer for them to sign-up and become partners with users creating listings. Most of the nonprofits local to South Florida that we have reached out to have signed up, as well as some national charities that had pre-existing relationships or were requested by some users. One of the goals is to get these nonprofits to list their own fundraisers on the site, further connecting nonprofits and sponsors through the platform.
MO: Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit?
Rosston: I was working as a web developer for a few years, and then quit to work on my own in 2008. My consulting business has grown over the years, eventually leading me to pursue other ventures on the side, such as a niche invitation design site, medical directory, and other ideas. Once the concept of Sponsorist came into my mind, it has taken priority over everything else and became my main priority.
MO: If I could grant you one business related wish right now, what would you ask for?
Rosston: 1,000,000 users
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