Admitting that you won’t be getting the entire revenue from ticket sales alone, finding sponsors for an event is a task you’ll have to face almost every time in your professional life as an event planner.
As marketing budgets dwindle, and ROI measurement tools become more and more refined, sponsorships appear as harder than ever to find. But it becomes do-able if you have the right strategy in place, and we’re here to show you how.
Finding sponsors for an event: identify potential sponsors
Identify companies that can find their target customers in the same kind of public that you expect to take part in your event. This means, in the first place, that you need to target your event at a very precise group of people. And when doing that, try to imagine their tastes and preferences in fields related to your event.
Then, study similar events and take note of what brands and companies sponsored those events.
By doing these two things, you should be able to come up with a list of companies that could potentially sponsor your event. The next step is to identify the decision maker when it comes to sponsorship, for each of these companies.
Prepare the proposal
There are two aspects you need to focus on when crafting the proposal that you present to a potential sponsor for your event.
1. The value your event can provide
The value that your event can provide to the sponsor can be illustrated by a series of data. If your event has already sold tickets, mention that number in your proposal. Mention who your target attendees are, a projected headcount, number, name and target audience of your media partners, any vendors and their target customer.
Your event venue is a very important aspect to point out to potential sponsors, because a great venue can not only add prestige and brand value to your event, but it can also increase the sponsors’ confidence that there will be a potential audience large enough to provide their brand enough exposure.
If your event had previous editions, present as much data as you can about the results: headcount, a detailed profile of the attendees, media coverage, any celebrities or influencers who participated. If the current edition of your event has already had press or social media coverage, mention that as well.
With all this data on hand, craft a unique selling proposition for your event, that should encapsulate the core benefit that the sponsor would draw from joining the project.
2. Sponsorship packages
Gone are the days of standard sponsorship packages. You have to be prepared to customize your offering for each and every potential sponsor based on their needs and on how sponsoring your event may help them reach specific marketing goals. Start by putting together an exhaustive list of each and every marketing opportunity that your event can offer, and here are just a few examples:
- including sponsor name in the naming of the event
- mentioning sponsor on your event website. If you decided to host your event page on Metooo, you could easily integrate sponsor information in a beautiful, easy to set up layout.
- including sponsor logo on some or all visual materials related to the event (flyers, signage, program, catalogs). If you use Metooo as your event platform, you can also include sponsor logos on the badge that guests receive upon registration at your event.
- mentioning sponsor in all press releases related to the event
- acknowledgement of sponsor on stage
- reference to sponsor in blog and social media posts
- mentioning sponsor in all email marketing activities
- branding an entire area at the event with the sponsor branding and even allowing product sale
- speaking opportunities for sponsor
- complimentary tickets/invitations for sponsor employees
Contact the decision makers
Depending of the size and structure of the companies that are your potential sponsors, the decision makers are marketing managers, PR managers, event managers, or even the owners of said companies. The moment you contact the decision makers with your sponsorship proposal is crucial. It has to be early enough to allow time for a whole series of follow-ups (from your side) and decision making (on their side). It also has to be far enough in the event planning process so that you can have actual data to show them.
Email, social media, personal contact and networking at other events are the best ways for a first contact. If the first contact is by email, don’t just send the full proposal and packages hoping for a definitive answer. You would rather want to send the event highlights and ask for an in-person meeting or phone call to discuss what concrete benefits your event can offer the sponsor and to craft a tailor-made sponsorship package together with them.
Sign the contracts
Once you agreed on the components of the sponsorship package, it’s time to sign a contract with each sponsor, no matter how casual your relationship is with them. Make sure you point out all the aspects of the sponsorship agreement, what exactly you will deliver to the sponsor in terms of brand exposure, the materials to be provided by the sponsor in order to prepare the marketing materials, and the amounts to be paid by the sponsor for joining the event. Remember to mention the payment deadlines so you will know when to start counting on the funds.
Deliver and go the extra mile
In the event planning process, and during the actual event, make sure you provide on each and every point of your agreement with the sponsor. You should also update and keep them informed each time a point is accomplished.
And if you want to secure a long lasting relationship with the sponsor for future events, you should have some extra perks prepared, that weren’t in the initial agreement. It won’t cost you anything to mention your sponsor 6 times instead of 5 in your social media posts, and it takes minimum effort to offer 10 complimentary tickets for their employees instead of 5. But it will show them that you have their best interest at heart and that you are willing to over-deliver in order to reach a shared goal.
Report and repeat
A few days after the event is over, gather all the information about headcount, guest profiles, multimedia content generated at the event (photos, videos), proof of media and social media coverage, celebrity and influencer attendance. Elaborate a detailed report and send it to each sponsor. Illustrate how the objectives of visibility for the sponsor brands were achieved and exceeded.
An efficient way to do this, if you hosted your event web page on Metooo, is to use our storytelling feature. You’ll be able to create an event wall, where you can post both content created by you (text, images, videos) and content created by the attendees at the event.
Reporting is an indispensable step because, for future events, it will make your quest for sponsors easier each time, since you will have your base of previous sponsors as a starting point. And this is especially the case if your events can be repeated and serialized into editions.
Finding sponsors for an event can seem as hard as asking for money for something that hasn’t yet happened. We hope, though, that with these tips you’ll find this goal more achievable and they will be a base for establishing a network of sponsors that will be happy to partner with you for your amazing events. If and only if, your events offer real benefits to your sponsors!