Behind every successful event are its sponsors. Sponsors participate in a symbiotic relationship with the organizers and participants by enhancing everyone’s brand value while also enhancing their own brand. For organizers, event sponsorship is the easiest way to ensure maximum audience outreach as it minimizes event costs for the attendees, while also adding value. For participants, sponsorship means opportunities to partner, promote, and participate with other businesses and stand in for each other’s needs.
Before we get way ahead of ourselves and fantasize about a hypothetical grand event that was only possible because of sponsors, we need think like a sponsor. Who are they? What makes them tick? And why would they be interested in being part of someone else’s event? It all comes down to your event sponsorship proposal. Writing an effective event sponsorship proposal is the pre-game workout that any event organizer needs to flex their event organizing muscles before the proverbial game even begins. If you haven’t heard of event sponsorship proposals before, worry not. This blog will cover the significance and relevance of a sponsorship proposal and why it is needed, followed by tips for writing an effective proposal that captures and ensures the relevant sponsors partake in your event.
Getting Sponsors to Your Event
Before you even begin writing our event sponsorship proposal, you need to know which sponsors would invest money in our event. Understanding potential sponsors requires diligent research. By looking at their website, LinkedIn profile, and other social media accounts, it is easy to determine if your audience will be relevant for them. The next step is to understand what kind of events they’ve sponsored in the past, which can provide points of comparison for your event.
After establishing these initial points of contact, you need to identify the person who would be reviewing as well as taking a call on your sponsorship proposal. This would require reaching out to people - via email and phone - and getting to know whether they are the person in charge. Once the right connection is established, set up a meeting to investigate your potential sponsor a little further. This first meeting will be purely exploratory to learn their objectives better. If they’ve sponsored events like the one you’re planning, then asking what works and what doesn’t is important. Once you have gathered and verified all the information, you can start writing your proposal.
Why a Formal Event Sponsorship Proposal?
These steps may seem tedious and unnecessary but they are essential to write a winning event sponsorship proposal. You provide an outline of your proposal while, at the same time, also demonstrating the value your event brings to these potential sponsors. Getting all the preliminary conversations formalized in writing makes sure a lot of important points are covered. These essential points are listed out in detail below.
The proposal should start with the points of discussion of the preliminary conversations, mutually agreed upon, and clearly state the sponsor’s key objectives and marketing. The interest of each sponsor is key and must be clearly articulated in the proposal. The added value gained by the sponsors through your event should also be mentioned, as well as confirming the measurements of success.
Pitch Your Offer
Present what your event has to offer while reiterating what matters most to the sponsor. Your proposal should align with their objectives and detailed information about what the offer entails, including how the event will generate a tangible and intangible return on investment for the sponsors.
The event sponsorship proposal should be designed in such a way that it initiates prompt feedback from your sponsor. Some of the things that can be mentioned in the proposal are their likes and dislikes or their concerns about sponsoring. Seeking feedback is a way of constantly negotiating the terms of your proposal.
Set Deadlines and Seek Response
Deadlines are a nice way of keeping and encouraging sponsors to be proactive about their response. This deadline, time-driven discount approach to sponsorship fees creates a sense of urgency, a sense of FOMO that they need to capitalize on the given frame of time.
An event sponsorship proposal should clearly define all the possibilities that a potential partnership for a given event would entail. It helps in negotiating the price, value offer, and partnership process with your sponsor to ensure benefits for both parties.
Key Winning Elements of Your Sponsorship Proposal
An event sponsorship proposal lays out your expectations for a given event and why your prospective sponsors should go for it. This section will describe in detail what an impactive sponsorship proposal should be and the kind of data it should include. You want your proposal to be memorable for the decision-maker who is responsible for reviewing them.
Based on contemporary trends, the best way to get your message to stick in someone’s head is through head-turning visuals. Visual content marketing is the latest trend in communication as surveys show that 84% of communications were expected to be visual by the end of 2018.
Here are three simple ways in which you can incorporate visuals and enhance the design of your sponsorship proposal:
One of the best ways to promote your event is through photos. These pics could be of your previous events, the technologies you use, or important dignitaries who have attended your event in the past. A couple of pics should be good enough to communicate your hosting history.
Tables and Diagrams
One of the easiest ways of making information about offers and deals immediately tangible is by structuring your data through graphic elements like diagrams or tables.
A video from a previous event or a short video about your company culture will be a good way to grab quick attention of your proposal reader.
Apart from some ideas about how to present your content in the sponsorship proposal and what sponsors seek in your events, here are some tips about how you can organize key information to answer the essential questions in your sponsorship proposal.
The chief target of your sponsors in an event is the event attendees. Sponsoring companies have to be sure that this target audience that they seek is the right one, which can only be achieved through brand recognition, expanding fan base or sponsorship. Therefore, information about traffic and audience demographics, based on previous event history and projection for the given year, should be the focus here. Your proposal must clearly convey to your potential sponsor about the number of people who will be attending an event, their interests, and their relationship to the given industry.
Getting support from a sponsor is so much more than just the money. All you need to do is think of the creative possibilities of convergence between your potential sponsor and your event. A sponsoring company, say, for instance, develops VR technologies and VR headsets are needed for your event, which makes it a smart decision for both the parties to collaborate. Not surprisingly, an event sponsorship proposal should have the exact details about how sponsors can contribute. Whatever your priority is, it should be clearly stated while listing out the benefits that the sponsor would derive from the deal.
The primary concern of most sponsoring companies is that their brand or product needs to stand out in the event space in front of their target audience. You need to list out possible ways their brand will get exposure and how it would be promoted at your event. Here are some tips that you can mention in your proposal:
- Exhibition booth
- Giveaways for the swag bag for event guests
- Signage like logos, taglines, etc.
- Branded products or services, especially if your sponsor develops event-related hardware or tools
- Speeches/workshops organized by the sponsoring company
Sponsors would constantly need the utmost clarity about what you are doing and, therefore, clearly defining it is paramount. Using insights from analytics, surveys and previous history of sponsorships for your events, you can demonstrate the results your event has generated in the past and the value these prospectors would derive from your upcoming event.
Another way to lay out the potential of your event is by highlighting the exact number of clients any sponsors would gain. It may not always be possible to promise such a partnership, but with the right tools, it may no longer be impossible. A strong analytics tool can calculate the estimated lead value of a sponsorship company, which will take your sponsorship proposal to the next level.
A few details about the additional benefits that sponsors would receive should be part of your sponsorship proposal. This could be anything like ticket discounts and other means of added brand exposure, the sky’s the limit for these.
Sponsorship Proposal Template
To recap, in the earlier sections we focused on all the important elements of a rock-solid sponsorship proposal to help you get the attention of your prospective sponsor. In this section, we will explain how to organize your content while writing-up to the sponsor.
Page 1: Introduction
The intro should have a riveting image along with the company’s name, the potential sponsor’s name, and date.
Page 2: Relevance
This section should offer a persuasive explanation about the significance of your event and what sponsors can do to help.
Page 3: Value
All important data that makes a strong case for sponsorship should go in this section.
Page 4: Organizing Team
Photos and brief bios that introduce their direct points of contact and subtly persuade the viewer that your team is both trustworthy and qualified to deliver the proposed value.
Page 5: Sponsorship Tiers
Different sponsorship tiers/packages should be laid out here.
Page 6: Representing Sponsors
This page should list all the possible ways that sponsors would find their brands represented before, during, and after the event both online and in person.
Page 7+: Terms & Conditions
A sponsorship contract pre-approved by legal with dates and deadlines. This may take a few pages in your sponsorship proposal.
Page 8+: Signature & Thank You
The last page of your contract should end with space for your potential sponsor to sign on the dotted line. Don’t forget to thank them and celebrate this new partnership!
Click here for more event sponsorship proposal template as well as more info about how you can make your proposal stand out using social media, white papers, VIP programs, etc.
The start of a great sponsor proposal begins with the best practices of deal-making. Once you have collected all the information and shortlisted a template, you need to present all the information to your sponsor in an easy yet impactful way that would persuade your prospects to become partners for your event.
For more on sponsorships, check out The Ultimate Guide to Onsite Event Tech Sponsorships.