Attracting event sponsorships

Financing an event is one of the biggest challenges for event managers and organisers. It is not easy for businesses to reach their desired target audience with only conventional advertising and marketing strategies. Reaching out to potential sponsors, and finding the right match is a critical aspect of an event’s success.

Event sponsorships builds upon the reputation and image of the sponsor, giving their brand greater visibility to their key audience. It also provides focus to their marketing efforts, while generating PR and media coverage, along with advertising opportunities and services.

Why seek a sponsor?

There are many benefits to event sponsorships, some of which are:

  • Enhance brand loyalty and image
  • Higher visibility
  • More sales traffic
  • Encourage product usage
  • Showcase products and services

In return, sponsors usually expect:

  • Signage at the event
  • Access to a mailing list or database
  • Exposure on organiser’s website
  • Advertising opportunities
  • Promotion

There are different types of sponsors, based on relationship, cost reduction and money investment.

  • Relationship based sponsorships usually involve media partners for reach and coverage, wider distribution and sponsored activities.
  • Cost reduction sponsorships involve service barter, trade exchanges or discounted rates.
  • Cash sponsorships involve the coverage of expenses for the event along with increased exposure.

It is important to offer value rather than list the costs when seeking sponsorship. What benefits can the sponsor derive from partnering with you for a specific event?

Offering value to sponsors

Determine your audience, know your demographic, and study their habits. Here’s how:

  • Make a list of the benefits a sponsor can expect from your alliance. Think in terms of advertising, event tickets, space at the event, media mentions, logo displays and so forth. Quantify each benefit.
  • List reasons why the sponsor should choose to support you over other proposals they may get.
  • What image does your brand project? Is it in alignment with the sponsor’s business and marketing message?
  • Learn about your sponsor and their marketing goals and strategies, and their previous sponsorship activity.
  • Does your sponsor have specific guidelines for sponsorship?
  • Come up with a proposal that appeals to the prospective sponsor, is attractive to the media, and can highlight the sponsor.
  • Quantify the returns your sponsor can expect from their investment in the event.
  • Consider whether the event can generate long-term benefits for the sponsor. Is it an event scheduled across different locations?

Determine how many sponsors are required based on the total cost of your event. Some event managers prefer to approach multiple sponsors for different activities related to the event or exhibition, especially if it is a large scale event where a single sponsor cannot handle the investment. Examples of sponsorship areas include registration, catering, transportation, signage, exhibition stands, seminar sponsors and much more.

If this is suitable, set up various sponsorship levels based on the monetary value of the event activity and create different price points, making it easier and affordable for businesses to sponsor your event.

As a next step, design contracts for different sponsorship levels. Include details of costs along with supporting material and deadlines. Ensure that the benefits are highlighted.

Check to see if your list of potential sponsors is compatible with your event’s target audience and goals. Remember that the media can also qualify as partners and sponsors as they can offer wide coverage for the event along with discounted advertising that can result in significant savings.

It is time now to pitch your prospective sponsors. Ideally, your proposal should be presented to the key person who is authorised to make decisions. Follow up with all the information and material required to help the sponsor make the decision.

During the event, promote the sponsor and communicate with them. Make sure you share an event recap with the relevant metrics related to attendee count, highlights of the day and so on.

Once the event is over, don’t forget to thank the sponsor for their support. Consider delivering a little more than you promised, rather than falling short in some areas.

We would love to hear your ideas on attracting and implementing event sponsorships. Comment on this post or let us know on Facebook or Twitter what your tips are!