Organizing and running an event is no walk in the park. There are plenty of moving parts, and it takes a committed team to make it happen. Yet, events are such an integral part of running a business; when you host events, you build brand awareness, expand your audience and reach, and open yourself up to new business opportunities. In the event, the ROI for events is far-reaching, and can even be tremendously lucrative for your business’s bottom line.
One of the most difficult aspects of putting together an event is acquiring the funds for it. To help you manage those costs effectively, it’s important to work with sponsors. There are many benefits to teaming up with another business for sponsorships. For starters, they help bring marketing power. For example, you’ll have an extended reach and better budget to run an integrated campaign; send out local invites using personalized envelope printing, and run a targeted social media campaign. The sponsor also help promote the event on your behalf, as is customary with sponsors.
With that in mind, here’s how you can score some sponsorships for your event:
Put Together a List of Assets
During the brainstorming session, one of the first questions you’ll need to ask yourself is, how can this potential sponsor benefit from helping me create my event? Think about it: what can you offer the sponsor? Do you have complementary demographics? Have you already sold most of your tickets? Are you benefiting from a strong community presence or brand loyalty? These are all things you should consider as you list out your assets.
Your physical space is also important. Walk through your event site and determine potential placements for sponsorships. Be sure to consider what your sponsorship will bring for their setup; their space should be large enough to bring in lounge seating for VIP or tables for handouts. Every sponsor is different, and you can check out some of their previously sponsored events to see what their setups typically look like.
Create a Sponsorship List
Figuring out who will be the best sponsor for your event takes time and research. Not all sponsors are created equal, and the match has to be ideal for both parties. Not only are you looking for a sponsor whose business principles align with your own, but whose brand aligns with the particular event.
Sometimes, you have to think outside the box. If you go to events, like sporting games, you might notice companies like car dealerships and beverage corporations sponsoring the event, although they seemingly have nothing to do with the crux of the event itself. In this case, the companies likely has similar demographics to the company putting on the event.
Write a Winning Pitch/Proposal
Your pitch will make or break a business’s perception of your event. It has to be designed in a way that encourages them to reach out to you. But first thing’s first: knowing when to pitch your event is just as important as the pitch itself. Three months is not enough time to find the right sponsor. Sponsorship campaigns take time. It takes a while for decisions to go through, especially for corporate companies. Give yourself at least six months advance when you start reaching out.
Earlier we mentioned listing your assets during a brainstorming session. Now it’s time to put those assets onto paper in a formal way. You should also clearly state how you plan to measure the success of an event. Lastly, discuss the theme and marketing opportunities. Talk about your target market and offer a data-driven synopsis. You can take a look at sponsorship proposal examples here.
Create a Low Risk Option
If you’re a new business, you might run into situations where companies aren’t comfortable going “all in” for your event. This is completely normal. To combat this, offer a low risk solution that allows them to test the waters with the brand for a lesser amount. If the working relationship goes well, there are always future opportunities to work with them.
Build a Long-term Relationship
When you work with a sponsor, it’s important to build a long-term relationship. This isn’t a “one and done” situation, and if you fail to keep in touch, that sponsor can feel as if they’re just a monetary benefit and that the relationship isn’t mutual. This can make it difficult to work together in the future, and even to get other sponsors moving forward.
If your sponsor agrees to help with your event, create a checklist of all the promises and your milestone deliverables to ensure you stay in touch every step of the way. They’ll appreciate your ability to communicate consistently. It’s also important for you to remain flexible, as this will reflect well on your business. For example, if your sponsor wants to change their setup or add another table, figure out a way to make it happen.