Before selecting an organisation to sponsor, ask yourself what you want to achieve with your sponsorship and how much money and time you are willing to give. You also need to factor in how much money you will spend to gain the maximum benefit from your sponsorship. Often, exploiting the sponsorship will cost you as much, if not more, than the initial investment.
Sometimes you can become a sponsor by donating your time or a product rather than giving money. For example, a designer might give an organisation free design services for a specified number of hours in exchange for sponsorship. Or a speaker might give an organisation some copies of their CD or book.
Make sure you select a company or organisation that reflects your values and supports your branding so your business will benefit from the images and associations attached to them. Also ask yourself whether there are any risks associated with this partnership and what impact those risks could have on your image.
For example, if you sponsor a football team and they go on a drunken rampage through the local school, would this affect your image?