One of the first questions event professionals must answer when planning an event is how to fund it. For many events, sponsorship is a primary financing source.In addition to raising funds, having one or more event sponsors opens up opportunities to build brand awareness, increase sales numbers, and enhance brand image and credibility.
Approaching brands with an event sponsorship proposal is a bit like trying to get hired for a job!
However, there is good news: according to Sponsez, 75% of sponsors are constantly looking for more partnerships.
Even though events inherently have something that brands want -- the attention of their target audience -- there are a few strategies event organizers should implement to make their event a more attractive sponsorship opportunity and win over investors.
Here are innovative tips on how to get sponsors for an event.
Finding Sponsors for Your Event
Finding sponsors can be overwhelming at the onset of planning, even for experienced event professionals.
The key is to brainstorm and research prospects to approach, then assess which companies are most likely to listen to your event sponsorship proposal.
Utilizing digital tools, such as HelloSponsor, is a good place to start for planners wondering how to get sponsors for an event.
HelloSponsor and similar tools connect event planners and sponsors based on event goals and categories.
Search for event sponsors that already work with events in or related to your industry.
They already understand the value of sponsorship and are likely to continue investing in this type of marketing.
Another guideline for how to get sponsors for an event is to seek brands your audience is familiar with -- insights that can be revealed through target market research.
Seeing a recognizable name on a sponsor list certainly engages attendees, but seeing a brand they have an affinity with is vital for buy-in.
Naturally, it’s easier to convince a previous sponsor to return than to persuade a new one.
So, a pro tip is to include past sponsors in your prospects.
Look back at event sponsors you have had before, noting what they paid and what they received in return.
This will help you identify new opportunities to re-engage them.
Choosing the Right Sponsors
Ideally, event organizers will have a comprehensive list of sponsors after taking in these considerations.
However, before reaching out to companies with an event sponsorship proposal, it is wise to narrow down that list in the interest of time and energy.
To make the best decision, it is essential to fully understand event goals, know what you want to gain from the sponsorship, and clarify how the event provides value to the sponsor.
The reputation of potential sponsors and their perspective on events will ultimately determine the nature of your partnership with them and the overall success of the event.
An effective strategy for how to get sponsors for an event -- and most importantly, the right sponsors -- is to select sponsors that understand the value of this type of marketing.
Find out what types of events the companies of interest have sponsored in the past, and take note of what their presence was like.
This knowledge can help event planners decide if a company is the right fit for a sponsorship.
Another tip for how to get sponsors for an event is to choose sponsors whose audience aligns with yours – brand alignment has to make sense.
Partnering with a company that has the same or similar target audience is mutually beneficial, providing event organizers and sponsors the chance to tap into each other's networks and generate valuable connections.
Another element to consider when creating an event sponsorship proposal is that brands sometimes engage in sponsorships to change or refine their image and show social involvement.
Put yourself in the sponsors’ shoes and think about what they stand to gain from involving themselves in your event.
How to Win Sponsors Over
Once you’ve found sponsors worth reaching out to, follow these tips to seal the deal.
The event sponsorship proposal is the critical factor in nailing how to get sponsors for an event.
- Make yourself sound sponsorship-worthy.
- It goes without saying that you want your event sponsorship proposal to stand out. To accomplish this, sell yourself and your event by using details to paint a picture. Tell your company story. Describe what you do and how you are leading in terms of innovation to invoke interest and intrigue.
- Understand your audience.
- As mentioned above, it is best if your target market matches that of potential sponsors. Your event sponsorship proposal should answer – or at least consider – how your attendees can turn into valuable leads for sponsors by presenting information such as the typical age, education level, household income, hobbies, and lifestyle habits of event-goers.
- Get creative with sponsorship opportunities.
- Consider how you can work with brands to create value and incorporate their presence into the event. At the very least, you should offer sponsors incentives: a free booth at trade shows and exhibitions, name and logo placement in promotional materials, and event-related freebies or discounts for customers who engage with the sponsor are just a few ways to entice brands to work with you.
- Use data to make a compelling case.
- Companies seek data – clicks, leads generated, how many people passed by their booth, etc – that proves their investment in your event will pay off. Make sponsors more confident about achieving their financial goals by laying out what kind of return on their investment they can look forward to in your event sponsorship proposal. Key data points like total event attendance, gross revenue from promotions, social media interactions, audience reach, and attendee information are all valuable metrics to include in a pitch.
If event planners don’t know how to get their ideas off the ground, learning how to get sponsors for an event is the place to start.
Event sponsorship is integral to the success of any event.
The key to an effective sponsorship is the golden swap -- creating value for a sponsor in exchange for event support.
The best sponsors are those that perceive your event as an opportunity to reach and engage customers.
It is up to event planners to sell that opportunity in their event sponsorship proposal and highlight how the event creates value for the brand.
Looking for ways to help your event reach that next level? Check out our blog on how to elevate your events, featuring an interview with Paige Mullis of Glen Raven.