So you have put together an amazing event plan and are eager to execute your ideas right away. However, you stumble upon a big obstacle—the event budget. In most cases, you will need more money than you have. That’s why finding sources of funding for your event as early as possible is very important to kick start your project.
Fortunately, sponsors seems to be everywhere to be found. From large-scale to modest events, there are usually sponsors for them. Your challenge is being a good matchmaker. Know your assets, and match them with potential sponsors’ needs.
Follow this guide to assure your event will get the right sponsors at the right time.
#1 Find the right people
Don’t just call up the 100 biggest companies in the world. Instead, you will save a lot of time for yourself and for the companies if you only talk to qualified prospects. The reason is that very rich companies like Google or Facebook won’t spend money if they don’t think you are the right match for them.
First you need to understand who your audience is, what their demographic is, what their interests are, whether they will be interested in the sponsors, how you are connecting to the sponsored brands. After that look for companies have sponsored events similar to yours. Check out what sort of sponsorship your target companies have done before. Also, updated company news in press releases or business magazines might help you as well.
If you have a newsletter, share sponsorship opportunities with your subscribers. They might even come to you if they find your event an attractive marketing opportunity.
#2 Sell value not price
Think like a salesman. We do not focus on how much a package costs per se but what benefits it will bring about. One important thing is to align your event with their business strategy. To be able to do that, you will need to research about the potential sponsor and get prepared to explain how your sponsorship offering will help the company achieve its specific goals.
It’s best practice to tailor your proposal to suit each prospect you approach. If you have difficulties thinking of different benefits to offer a sponsor, check out this list by Cutting Edge PR. Also, include event attendee demographics and past events’ reports if available. My advice is to really know your potential sponsors and communicate with them about specific deliverables that will meet their business needs. It’s often very hard to make your benefits stand out from other events’ but you can point out how they are going to bring in extra sales and more leads, or fortify brand image.
#3 Look for sponsors at the right time
Even though there is no bad time to start soliciting sponsors, you know how long it could take for decision making in a big corporation. Hence, timing is very important if you don’t want to reschedule your event or miss a good deal. If you are looking at cash sponsorship, you’d better contact your potential sponsors at least six months in advance to ensure they have enough time to discuss, make decisions and include your event into their budget plan.
#5 Have a detailed event plan
A sponsor will care about the success of your event as it will affect their brand image and the deliverables. Sponsors also want to know how you spend their money. That is why you should have a carefully drafted event proposal and financial plan.
It’s always good to have a good team of event organizers and, especially nowadays, good event technology. Find out how an event management SaaS can help you manage your event better.
#6 Be flexible with different types of sponsorship
Except for the case you are going to have an exclusive sponsor, create different many types of sponsorship so that a wide range of companies may be able to sponsor your event. Not every company will be able to afford to be the platinum sponsor, but several may be able to sponsor catering or live music performance.
Sometimes you don’t even need cash. Think of something valuable that sponsors can give you more easily. In-kind sponsors offer goods or services at a discounted price or for free. The primary benefit of in-kind sponsorships for the sponsor is the ease and convenience, especially when the goods are perishable. For example, a local bakery may sponsor coffee and pastries for your coffee break. Most businesses have large inventories of goods in storage, while cash is almost always tight.
The options are limitless. Remember customization is key. It’s best to discuss the possibilities with the sponsors and customize their packages accordingly.
#7 Gain long-term partnerships
It’s wise to keep in touch with your past sponsors as they might want to establish a long-term sponsorship budget for your annual event. This is where after-event follow-up comes into play. If you can help them do a detailed report on how your event has helped them achieve their goals as promised, it is likely that they will want to work with you in your next event.
As for your current partners, hold occasional meetings to discuss their goals and event programs that you can work on together.
#8 Need an extra pair of hands?
If you need help in searching for the right sponsors, you may get advice from the sponsorship matching service. Some available platforms are Sponsor Monster, Sponsor My Event, and Sponsor Boat. Look around for more options before you decide on which platform to use.
We hope you find our event sponsorship guide helpful. If you have further questions or insights, we would love to hear from you. Comment below or tweet us @gevme.