Sponsorship is often the preferred way to fund an event, but securing sponsors is often the biggest challenge of planning and managing an event. Some of your sponsorship proposals will be downright rejected, or you might not get any response at all from the target sponsors.
With that being said, here are some key tips you can use to attract more potential sponsors and win more sponsorship opportunities.
1. Prepare a Detailed Proposal
When hunting for sponsors, your proposal is literally everything.
If you are using a generic, uninteresting sponsorship proposal, then you won’t be able to attract anyone. Especially if you are targeting prominent organizations, then it’s quite likely they review so many proposals like yours every single day.
Thus, your proposal has to stand out, and you should include the following details:
- Tell your story: if your company has an interesting background, for example, if it is founded for the local community or to help a social cause, then you should mention this fact in your proposal. If you can create an emotional connection with the target sponsor in one way or another (i.e. you both have similar backgrounds), then you should mention it.
- Describe the event: what is the event’s objective? What makes it different than the others? How can the event benefit the sponsoring company?
- Describe your target audience: this is especially important if your target audience matches the potential sponsor’s audience.
In your proposal, you should be straightforward about the funding you need, and provide the details of what the funding will go toward.
2. Provide Data and Proofs
In this digital day and age of transparency, using data to make potential sponsors feel confident is very important. By using data from previous events to prove what kind of return on their sponsorship investments they’ll provide.
Of course, this is only possible if you have hosted past events, but documentation is still very important. Using an advanced event management system can help you track what your attendees are doing while attending your event, and you can also set up during or post-event surveys to collect more data.
You should consider sharing these key information points in your proposal :
- Number of attendees check-ins compared to registrants
- Number of returning attendees (community members)
- Gross revenue generated from promotions
- Visit-to-purchase conversion rate if you are selling a product/service on the event
- Social media engagement during and after the event
- Potential reach (both online and offline)
- Demographics data of previous audience (industries represented by the audience, location, age, etc.)
3. Offer Something Valuable
In the end, event sponsorship is and should be a give-and-take relationship. You should clearly communicate what will the sponsor get out of funding your event. The more valuable your offer is perceived by them, the higher the chance they’ll sponsor your event.
Your offer can come in various different forms depending on what kind of event you are hosting. However, here are some ideas to consider:
- Branding placement, for example, placing the sponsor’s logo on event promotion materials
- Free booth for the sponsor if it’s an exhibition
- Provide discounts or freebies to customers that purchase the sponsor’s product or service
- Mention the sponsor in your content (i.e. email newsletter, social media posts)
- Encourage your attendees to follow the sponsor’s social media profile and like or share the sponsor’s content
Again, use data, as discussed in the previous tip, to prove the value of your offers. The more (perceived) value you can provide, and the more you can show that you are serious about making your event a success, the better the chance of getting these sponsors.
4. Know Your Potential Sponsors Inside Out
Research your potential sponsor before reaching out to them:
- Check whether there have been recent changes to the company or the leadership that might be relevant for the sponsorship deal
- Check whether the potential sponsor has been involved in any recent events
- Whether they are launching a new product or service they might be interested to promote at your event?
- Whether it has been affected by recent trends or events
If there are any interesting details you can leverage, note them in your proposal and incorporate them into your event whenever possible.
5. Partner With Other Brands
If you are a brand new event organizer and/or are a relatively small company, then it’s naturally more difficult to gain sponsorships since you might not have enough brand credibility or recognition to attract more sponsors.
A viable solution to tackle this issue is to partner up with a more established company to produce the event. This may allow potential sponsors to be more confident about your event, and can also potentially help you in attracting more attendees.
In general, you should look for brands within your niche or those that can complement your product/service and are not direct competitors as potential partners. Another similar approach you can use here is to partner with relevant influencers in your niche.
6. Timing Is Key
Getting the timing right is also an important aspect in winning a sponsorship, and you should consider:
- Starting early. This is especially important for large-scale events targeting large sponsors. It may take some time to work your way to the decision-makers of the target company, so the earlier you approach them, the better.
- Avoid the holiday months (November and December, July and August) since sales are likely at a low and they might not have the available budget to sponsor your event. This, however, might vary depending on the niche/industry.
- Again, research the target company before reaching out to them to figure out unique details that might help you figure out the best timing.
Remember that event sponsorship is ultimately a give-and-take relationship: the potential sponsor would want something in return for funding your event.
Thus, the secret of winning more sponsorships is how you can show and communicate what you can offer for these target companies. Clearly show what makes your event worth sponsoring, and back it up with data. Be confident but patient with your approaches, and you’ll win more sponsors to fund your event.
Interesting Related Article: “What is to sponsor? Definition and meaning“