As an event planner, you know funding is critical to successful events. It can easily help you prove your event ROI.
Event sponsorship, therefore, can be a game-changer for securing the resources you need to create unforgettable experiences for your attendees. But reaching out to potential sponsors and crafting the perfect sponsorship package takes work. It's hard, especially if this is your first time doing it.
Who do you reach out to? What type of sponsorship packages should you have? Does your event even need a sponsor? Questions such as these commonly arise when considering event sponsorship, and addressing them requires careful planning, research, and strategy.
That's why we've put together the ultimate guide covering everything from understanding the different types of sponsorships to finding the right sponsors for your event. So, whether you're a seasoned event organizer or just dipping your toes in the water, we've got the insider tips and tricks you need to take your events to the next level.
What is Event Sponsorship?
Event sponsorship is when a company supports an event by providing funds in exchange for something of value. This value could come in many forms, such as increased brand exposure, access to attendee data, speaking opportunities, or discounted event tickets.
Of course, companies aren't just throwing their money around for no reason. They sponsor events with the hope of moving their organizations forward. And if your event provides that opportunity, you might snag some sponsors.
Benefits of Event Sponsorship For Organizers
While the "what" of event sponsorship is easy enough to define, the "why" may leave you scratching your head. Why should you bother spending time and resources on researching, contacting, and securing event sponsors? Is it really necessary?
The answer depends on your organization and the event you're planning. But in general, there are three compelling reasons why securing event sponsors is worth the effort.
Increase Event Budget
Event budgeting can be overwhelming, and many event planners struggle to keep the costs within their budget. Event sponsorship provides a simple solution to this problem.
Securing sponsorships allows you to breathe easy and plan a financially feasible event accessible to a broader audience. Plus, you can provide discounts and needs-based tickets to attendees from all walks of life.
By securing more sponsorships, your event budget can skyrocket, allowing you to create unforgettable experiences and opportunities for your attendees. The possibilities are endless, from world-class speakers to multiple ticket options, event activations, and peace of mind.
If you had to choose between attending a dull event with no sponsors or an exciting event sponsored by Facebook, which would you pick? Even if they had the same speakers and topic, you'd be more inclined to attend the Facebook-sponsored one. After all, they're one of the biggest names in tech, and if they're willing to back an event, you know it will be good.
Now, we're not saying you need to go out and secure a sponsorship deal with Facebook (although that would be pretty sweet). But if you team up with known brands in your industry, you can instantly boost your event's credibility and attract more attendees.
Don't be afraid to start small and look for micro-sponsors with name recognition that are easier to secure. Ensure they have the budget, marketing skills, and resources to support an event like yours.
With the right sponsors, you can create a buzz everyone wants to participate in.
Increases your event reach
We all know that money and recognition are the apparent benefits of landing a sponsor for your event, but did you know there's a whole other world of perks out there?
Picture this: you're planning an event and need a killer venue and some delicious grub. Enter your sponsor, a nearby restaurant. Not only will they let you use their venue, but they'll also serve up some tasty treats for your attendees. And all they ask in return is a little bit of your marketing magic to help promote their business. It's a win-win deal.
But wait, there's more. Sponsors can also give you a massive boost in publicity. Just imagine a loyal customer of your sponsor's business stumbles upon your event partnership while scrolling through social media. Suddenly, they're interested in attending your event because they trust and respect the sponsoring company. Talk about a marketing goldmine.
Types of Event Sponsorships
There are several types of event sponsorship packages that you can offer. Generally speaking, these can be classified into three categories:
Monetary Sponsorship: This is when you offer a company some cold hard cash in exchange for their sponsorship of your event. It's like a business transaction but with more fun involved.
In-kind Sponsorship: When you offer products or services instead of money. So, for example, you might offer a catering company the chance to serve their food at your event in exchange for their sponsorship. It's a great way to get some awesome perks without spending cash.
Brand Sponsorship: When you offer a company the use of your brand in exchange for sponsorship. This could mean putting their logo on your promotional materials or giving them a shoutout on social media. It's all about spreading love and boosting each other's brands.
No matter which type of sponsorship package you go for, make sure you're clear about the benefits for your sponsor. After all, they're helping you, so it is essential to show them some value in return. Think about increased brand awareness and access to a bigger audience.
When Should you Seek Event Sponsorship?
Sponsorship can be a game-changer for events, giving your marketing efforts a powerful boost. The vast benefits include increasing brand awareness, boosting sales, and improving brand image.
But not every event needs sponsorship to achieve success. So, how do you know if it's right for you? Here’s what you should keep in mind:
- Media sponsorship can guarantee ample coverage if your event is large or high-profile with celeb speakers.
- If you want to establish your brand as an industry leader, special extras like smart event badges or a mobile app can make all the difference.
- To grow your customer base, partnering with influencers like bloggers or local celebs can help bring in new audiences.
- If you need help with a planning component, companies like hotels and transportation providers can lend a hand.
- If you're a new brand looking to build credibility, sponsorship from established companies in your industry can provide the perfect endorsement.
5 Types of Events Sponsorship Packages
No matter the size or type of event you're organizing, you can customize a sponsorship package that meets your needs and goals. Here are some examples to get you going:
Visually Striking Visuals: You want your brand to be front and center, right? So why not create unique visual installations that'll make your attendees say, "Wow!" Think neon signs, 3D displays, and interactive installations that'll get people talking and sharing on social media.
Digital Experiences: In this day and age, digital is where it's at. So provide your attendees a full suite of branded digital experiences, from cool web pages and social shares, awesome video live streams, and even virtual reality tours.
Sponsor Lounges: You know what people love almost as much as free stuff? A chill spot to relax, network, and unwind. So create a branded lounge space where attendees can hang out, enjoy free Wi-Fi, and recharge their devices. Bonus points if you throw in some comfy seating and snacks.
Food and Drink: Put your brand logo on some yummy edibles and drinks, and even open up a pop-up restaurant for attendees. People will be talking about your brand for days.
Sessions: Engage and connect with attendees by hosting fantastic sponsored speaker sessions, 1-1 consults, and panel discussions. It's a great way to position your brand as a thought leader in the industry.
What Type of Companies To Reach Out to For Sponsorship
Reaching out to the right sponsors isn't easy, especially with so many choices available. Therefore, consider the reputation of potential sponsors and their perspective on events, as they can impact the type of partnership you'll have with them and ultimately determine the success of your event.
Look for sponsors who understand the value of event marketing. You'll need to convince them that the investment is worth it, even if this is the first time they have sponsored an event.
Next, try to find sponsors whose audience matches your demographics and interests. While you can't align entirely with any brand, you can highlight key areas during the event and stick with sponsors who share those interests.
And remember to look for sponsors who focus on event ROI. Plenty of vanity sponsors out there want their name on the event, but you want to work with companies who understand that it's a two-way street.
If you're still struggling to find the right sponsors, don't worry. We've got you covered with five great methods for choosing event sponsors. So take a deep breath, get your thinking cap on, and let's find the perfect sponsors for your event.
5 Ways To Find the Right Event Sponsors
- Know Your Event
Before you start reaching out to potential event sponsors, it's critical to understand the particulars of your event. Consider what type of event you're producing, your overall vision, and what goals you hope to achieve. You will also want to consider what sets your event apart from others on similar topics and who your target audience is.
Potential event sponsors will likely ask you these same questions, so it's important to understand them beforehand. I'd like to let you focus on reaching out to companies that align with your event and its goals.
If you're hosting the same flagship event year after year or quarter after quarter, communicate this to potential sponsors. Long-term relationships can appeal to companies looking for consistent and repeatable event sponsorship ROI.
- Understand Sponsors' Needs
By understanding what sponsors are looking for, you can tailor your sponsorship pitch to their needs and challenges to secure a successful partnership.
Here are a few key reasons why businesses sponsor events:
Boosted Social Media Presence: With hundreds or even thousands of social media posts, events are prime real estate for sponsor exposure. Each post with your event hashtag means more eyes on your sponsor's name, leading to increased followers and brand recognition.
Increased Lead Generation: Sponsors are often eager to gain new potential customers through event sponsorship, especially if your attendees overlap with their target demographic. Events offer an excellent opportunity to grow a company's sales pipeline and increase the number of potential closed deals.
Access to Specific Demographics: Sometimes, companies struggle to connect with a specific demographic due to limited resources or lack of exposure. Event sponsorship can help bridge that gap by providing access to that target audience. Companies are particularly interested in sponsoring events if they can give their brand the exposure it needs with a particular demographic.
- Identify the Right Partners
When looking for event sponsors, focusing on quality over quantity is essential. Instead of bombarding every business with sponsorship proposals, it's best to identify companies that would be a good fit for your event.
For instance, a company specializing in selling domestic appliances may not be an appropriate sponsor for a music festival. Still, a beverage company like Coca-Cola or Pepsi could be a great fit.
Contacting businesses that don't align with your event or don't have a history of sponsoring events will not only be unproductive. Still, it will also waste your time and lower your chances of success. So research and find the right partners to make your event successful.
- Use Online Tools To Find Sponsors
Finding the right companies to sponsor your event can be challenging, but helpful resources available online can make the process easier. Consider using platforms like SponsorMyEvent or SponsorPitch to connect with potential sponsors that align with your criteria.
You can quickly send an event sponsorship agreement and start building a partnership. Additionally, tools like Sponseasy can assist you in creating a professional sponsorship proposal efficiently. Don't hesitate to leverage these resources to boost your chances of success in securing event sponsorships.
- Research Your Competitor's Events or Events Similar to Yours
Remember to check out sponsor pages of similar events—this can be a valuable resource for finding potential sponsors. If a company has sponsored similar events, they might also be interested in sponsoring yours. So take the time to research and explore other events in your niche and see which companies are getting involved as sponsors.
Tips When Pitching Event Sponsors
Once you've identified potential event sponsors, the next step is to pitch to them. Whether you're sending an email, meeting them at a networking event, or reaching out on LinkedIn, these tips are crucial to ensure your success:
- Know Your Potential Sponsors Inside Out
You've already identified potential sponsors who share your event's vision and history of sponsoring similar events. Now, it's time to dive deeper.
Research key decision-makers, marketing objectives, challenges, budget, and potential roadblocks. Armed with this information, you can craft a tailored pitch that makes it easier to secure sponsorship.
For example, if you're hosting a conference on sustainability, research the eco-friendly initiatives of the companies you're considering approaching.
- Show Sponsors the Value They Can Expect
To secure partnerships, it's crucial to communicate the value your event can bring to the company you're contacting. Remember that no organization will support your event because they want to be charitable. You must demonstrate how your event will benefit them in exchange for support.
When pitching to potential partners, focus on how your event can benefit their company, not just the event itself. Provide details such as the number of expected attendees and their demographics, previous successful sponsorships, anticipated ROI for sponsors, and user-generated content from past events.
- Ask the Right Questions for Alignment
Although you've done your homework identifying potential sponsors, asking some key questions before finalizing any agreement is essential. Questions like "how do you see your organization's mission aligning with our event and brand?" or "what are your core company values and key brand values?" can help ensure that both parties are aligned toward achieving the same goals.
- Use Social Proof to Build Credibility
Social proof in the form of written or video testimonials from previous partners can go a long way toward convincing a brand to sponsor your event. Consider creating case studies with your top sponsors to showcase the positive ROI they received from the partnership.
- Build Strong Relationships Through Communication
Communication is vital to pitching and partnering with sponsors successfully. Use a common language to align on key business goals and outcomes that make both parties successful.
Create mutually beneficial partnerships and co-sponsoring programs. By providing your partner with a roadmap of opportunities for additional exposure, collaborating on killer content like webinars, and leveraging their expertise to co-sponsor direct mail campaigns and initiatives on the event floor, you're sure to make waves in the industry.
- Optimize Your Event Website for Sponsorship
You can include sponsorship information on your event website to give potential sponsors an additional way to feel more confident about the partnership. A dedicated page on your site that features past sponsors, keynote speakers, demographics, social proof, and more can demonstrate the value of partnering with your event.
By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to securing event sponsorships and building lasting relationships with sponsors.
Seal the Deal and Steal the Show
In conclusion, event sponsorship is a complex but rewarding process that requires careful planning, research, and execution. Following the steps outlined in this ultimate guide, you can identify potential sponsors, create persuasive sponsorship proposals, negotiate mutually beneficial agreements, and measure your ROI.
To truly succeed in event sponsorship, you must be willing to think outside the box, be creative with your approach, and, most importantly, form partnerships that align with your brand values and event goals. With the right approach, event sponsorship can be a powerful tool for growing your brand and achieving your objectives.
Remember to be strategic, stay true to your brand, and, most importantly, have fun! With the right approach, your event sponsorship efforts can be a win-win situation for everyone involved.