Anyone who has been long enough in the business of event management knows that solid sponsorship equals big bucks. Finding sponsors for events may seem like a Herculean task. However, you have the leverage that big companies want – access to a targeted audience!
Sending out event sponsorship proposals is similar to sending out your resume. You are going to hear back from some, be rejected by some, and get ghosted by others! Nevertheless, once you have figured out the perfect strategy, it will be much easier to convert possible sponsors for an event.
Why Do You Need an Event Sponsorship
You may wonder that if finding event sponsorship is so tedious, then why bother in the first place? Before drawing such a conclusion, here are a few convincing advantages for sending event sponsorship requests:
- Having the financial backing of a sponsor offsets the cost of the event (which could even make the event free for all in some instances!)
- The low ticket prices resulting from the sponsorship will help appeal to a wider audience
- The shared promotion of the event carried out by your event marketing team and the sponsor’s marketing team offers an overwhelming turnout
- If you are a nascent brand, association with a well-established sponsor can help in building audience trust and enforces legitimacy of the event
- Opens up the avenue for partnering with the sponsors even upon conclusion of the event.
Ways to Find and Convert Sponsors for Events
Now that you know upsides of sponsorships, here are a few classic ways to get sponsors for events that you host:
Design an Event Fit for Sponsors
Before you begin approaching the sponsors, the first thing that you ought to do is put yourself in their shoes. Just like you would perform a background check on a business that you are working with, sponsors do the same. Hence, the absolute first thing that you need to do is develop yourself and your event as a brand.
Try to capture their attention through an engaging event website, an attractive logo, and an interactive social media handle. Keep all engagements professional yet casual. Your event should appear to be worthy of their investment. So try to cover all the bases before you begin.
Identify the Prospective Sponsors
Not every sponsor will back every available event. Hence, start by shortlisting the sponsors that may take a genuine interest in backing your event.
You need to rope in businesses that offer products or services that your audience may be interested in. Using the data collected through registration or ticketing platforms, you can find out the common interest of the visitors. Once you have listed out the requirements of the visitors, compile the names of the relevant sponsors who may take an interest in your event.
Create a spreadsheet of all the relevant companies. Also, leave space to note down the status of your event sponsorship proposal.
Do Your Homework
Before you whip out the event sponsorship agreement, it is essential to know the company that you approach. Work out why that particular business may offer a sponsorship, align a reason in line with its marketing goals.
Stay abreast with the current happenings with the company. A suitable time for the company to offer sponsorship is during a merger or a launch of a new product. Having an insight into such events may help you strike the iron when it’s hot. Mention it while you are preparing the pitch for this company.
Additionally, the single most important finding through your research should be locating the concerned team or personnel responsible for making the decision. Knowing the deciding authority will help you pitch effectively and ensures that your communication is not lost amidst the corporate hierarchy.
Clearly Define Your Offerings
Different businesses have different requirements. Some of the common requirements of sponsors include (but are not limited to):
- On-site advertisement or signage
- Speaking opportunities
- Exclusive categories
- Ad broadcasting opportunities
- The on-site presence or on-stage announcements
- Title of the proprietary area
- Access to the visitor database or mailing list
- Digital marketing
- Rights for using logos or marks
- Complimentary passes or Exclusive VIP passes
The list of offerings is quite expansive. Try and locate as many event sponsorship ideas that a company may deem as important.
Even after you have made the pitch, stay in contact with the company to identify their niche requirements to keep things flexible.
Advertise Your USP
Every business that you pitch to is going to ask you one common question – What is it that only you or your event can offer?
Exclusivity is going to set you apart from your competitors. Highlight the cause or mission of your event and why it holds value to the sponsor. Lay stress on how this association will benefit the sponsor.
Capture the attention of your sponsors right from the event sponsorship email subject! The trick to nail your unique selling proposition is detailing it in a crisp fashion.
In most cases, data of the audience demographics and characteristics can be the defining feature of your event.
Draft Personalized Event Sponsorship Proposal Letters
If you were to apply for a job at various organizations, would you use the same standardized covering everywhere?
Similarly, would you use an event sponsorship proposal template to approach all sponsors?
Of course not!
Drafting an event sponsorship proposal letter is an art. Do not blow it by relying on a random event sponsorship template available online.
The most important part of crafting the pitch is personalizing it in a way that it appeals to the sponsors. Let the companies know why you have approached them. Make use of the information collected while conducting your research. Try adopting a similar language as that used by the company on their website.
Once you have grabbed their attention, do not ramble off course. Take the opportunity to get straight to the point. Explicitly spell out the kind of sponsorship you are looking for rather than letting the companies assume.
Start by Reaching Out in Writing
Quite often, you may think that contacting the decision-making authorities over calls or in person would be much more exclusive. However, making a cold pitch in writing has proven to be a better approach.
Sending your event sponsorship proposal over an email or post allows them to look you up and assess you. It also grants them the time to really consider your proposal and weigh the decision out.
These days, social media serves as a hotspot for connecting with a large number of companies. So, if shooting a mail may seem too formal for your liking, another way is to reach out via such platforms. This form of communication would be casual without being intrusive.
Follow-up with Lucid Personal Contact
In continuation with the tip mentioned above, it is important to follow up your written contact with a much more informal call or visit. However, do not get carried away by contact. Even though you may be talking or meeting in a casual setting, keep things strictly professional.
Think of it as an elevator pitch – convey more in less.
Exploit the Data
It cannot be stressed enough – Data is everything!
You may promise the sun, moon, and stars to the sponsors but it needs to be supported with the requisite data. Data proves that you walk the talk and it often hits the sweet spot when you make the pitch.
Data can tip the scales in your favor so use it wisely and extensively. Try incorporating infographics to make this information viable, interesting, and interactive. Don’t just throw some random numbers. In its place, categorize the data depending on the sponsor.
Whether it is the data on the target audience or the information gathered through your marketing team – use all these facts to your advantage.
Never, which means, NEVER fudge any facts to tilt the sponsors in your favor. You could use projections and approximations but falsifying data could land you in trouble.
Share Facts About the Sponsor’s ROI
Businesses and companies are not philanthropic or not-for-profit organizations. The sole purpose of taking on the role of sponsors for events is to make monetary gains.
Thus, delivering hard truths about the return on investment is essential.
The return on investment corresponding to your investment can be measured through the following factors:
- Event visitor headcount
- Outreach and attendance of influencers
- Number of mentions on social media platforms
- Press and media coverage
- Post-event feedback
- Revenue or donations
- Leads and converted sales
You can select such metrics that your team can observe and attribute it to the ROI enjoyed by the sponsor. Such data can be collected periodically (say, weekly) and shared with the sponsors. This proves to be a tangible ROI towards their inputs.
Follow Through on Promises
Companies are currently experiencing burnout in event sponsorship because they are highly unsatisfied. Thus, it is needless to say that you must deliver on everything that you promise to offer the sponsors.
Create a list of everything that you promised the sponsors and check how successfully it has been implemented or achieved. If a spreadsheet feels like a lot, make use of a tool to monitor such progress.
Keep yourself flexible enough to accommodate any dynamic requests from the sponsors. Do remember to update it in your planner!
Keep the Sponsors in the Loop
Needless to say, it is your responsibility to keep your event sponsors updated and involved. Sponsorship is not merely about the transaction in kind. It also fixes the event organizer as the accountable party enjoying the sponsor’s trust.
Send out periodic updates and breakthroughs that may enhance the status of the event. Be receptive to their inputs as they may have something insightful to contribute.
A successfully executed event will benefit you and the sponsor, both. So make it a point to treat them as a member of your team.
Retain Long-Term Relationships
The successful conclusion of your event is not the end of your relationship with the sponsor.
Continuing to stay on good terms with your sponsors can pay off in the long run. Start by sending them a communication extending your gratitude for their contribution.
In fact, you can offer a tailored sponsorship package that even offers post-event coverage! This post-event exposure could include promoting your sponsors between events or during the off-season. Continue to display the logos and names of your sponsors on your website and your sponsors will be left impressed.
Have your sponsors coming back to you for more!
A Quick Roundup
Finding a sponsor for events is an achievement in itself. Approach this task with a great deal of strategic foresight.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that seeking sponsorship is a long process. It may take a while for your proposal to climb up the ladder and reach the real decision makers. Hence, do not wait until the last minute. Rather, start early and stay persistent.
Spend a copious amount of time in studying your sponsors and drafting your pitch as they will seal the deal.
When it comes to contacting your sponsors, it is all about the timing. Businesses will be more open to offering you sponsorship when your event mission can meet their current needs. Analyze the company trends and capitalize on any opportunity that rises.
Once you have scored the sponsorship, report back to your sponsors as often as possible. Keep them involved at all stages of the process and make them a part of your team.
Deliver and over-deliver on your promises to offer 100% satisfaction to your sponsor.
Remember to remain flexible with your sponsor’s demands. If you can offer them something additional at no cost – do it with gusto!
Finally, foster a long-lasting relationship with your sponsors. Stay connected even after the event comes to an end.
Do you have any more tips to add? Leave them in the comments below!