1) Make Your Event Irresistible! – Getting sponsorships for your event begins with the event itself. The more beneficial your event is to businesses, the more likely they will jump at the opportunity to sponsor it.
When designing an event needing sponsorships, it’s a good idea to structure it using the 80/20 rule.
This means that when you plan your event, you should plan 80% of your event to present to your guests and 20% to promote your sponsors.
By using the 80/20 rule, you immediately set a foundational guideline that prospective businesses can rest their expectations on. They’ll be comforted by knowing that you’ve “reserved a spot” to deliver their message to your audience.
Let’s not beat around the bush, we’re all in business to make money, and that goes double for your sponsors.
Business owners approach sponsorships as a source of advertising and marketing. If you want them to invest in your event, make it clear on how you intend to promote their business using that 20% you’ve allocated to them.
A good question to ask is, “How will my event coincide with my sponsor’s marketing strategy?” What can you implement within your event that will give your sponsors the best bang for their buck?
Does your prospective sponsor want brand recognition? Then they may be interested in on-site signage, category exclusivity or presence on-site.
Or is digital exposure important to your prospective sponsor? If so, they may be sold on broadcast ad opportunities, access to a mailing/email list or access to shareable content.
Additionally, your event might have digital aspects already incorporated that will easily allow for you to accommodate increased online promotion. Maybe you can plan to host a “sneak peek” webinar or podcast before your live event to build excitement.
You can use 20% of the time on your webinar building value for sponsors or better yet, invite a representative of the sponsoring company to be a guest speaker on the webinar.
2) Know The Person Who Makes The Decisions – With small local businesses it’s fairly easy to identify the decision maker. Generally, it’s the owner or manager. But for larger companies, it may be a little more complicated to nail down the person who can say YES to sponsoring your event.
A wonderful place to start is just by picking up the phone. That’s right, just call the company and ask whoever’s on the other side, “Who there takes care of your marketing and advertising decisions?”
If you get a name, then your work is done. If not, you’ll have to do a bit more digging.
Dig #1:Search Google for past event articles – If the company has sponsored events in the past there may be lingering articles or press releases which mention the names of officials. Dig around online a little and you’d be amazed at the information you come up with.
You can also use this exercise to learn more about the company and the type of events their inclined to sponsor.
Dig #2:Send an email or social message – It won’t hurt to pop out a friendly message asking for the decision maker. Just hope that the person who answers the phone doesn’t also take care of the companies email & social media accounts.
Dig #3:Make a personal visit – The best way to get to know a business is to have a meet & greet. Stop in and share your 30-second event pitch with the person who greets you. Let them know how excited you are about having their company as a sponsor. Once they’ve warmed up to you, simply ask who you’ll need to speak with to get them on board.
At this point, you should have some idea of who takes care of the decisions. With large corporations, they may not single out one person as the decision maker. They may insist that the marketing department, community relations department, or an advertising agency takes care of the decisions. Just keep digging and you’ll eventually reach a decision maker.
Make timing a major consideration. Contact businesses 3 to 6 months before your event date to give them time plan the funding.
Pitch your proposal to businesses that have a direct interest in reaching the audience your event caters to. It should be an easy feat to visualize your guests using the services of your sponsors.
For example: If you’re hosting a dog show, a pet groomer would be quite silly not to sponsor you. But if you’re hosting an anti-violence event, a gun dealer would probably be the last business you’ll want to speak with.
Research the businesses that you have in mind to pitch and discover who their “ideal customer” is. If their ideal customer fits the demographics of your audience, you’ve got a winner.
Package your event as a product that will deliver fascinating benefits to your sponsors.
Have a detailed event proposal that gives specifics on…
* How you’ll be spending the sponsor’s money. * Why their company is a perfect fit. * What will they get out of sponsoring your event.(Branding? Leads? Sales?) * What sponsorship levels are you offering and what’s included at each level.
Ultimately, you’ll find that most business owners will want to know how your event will coordinate with their marketing strategy. What will it do to bring new customers to their doors?
Your sponsorship levels should be sensible and adapt to any budget.
A bronze level will make it affordable for smaller businesses to participate, while a platinum level can give businesses with deeper pockets an exclusive promotion opportunity.
Sponsoring events doesn’t always have to be about money. You might come across a few businesses that will be more receptive to contributing to in-kind sponsorships.
With in-kind sponsorships, businesses can contribute goods or services to your event, rather than cash. They may be willing to donate small giveaway prizes, gift certificates or freebies to your event guests.
Even if the business says NO to your main proposal, always try to leave with something that will help increase the value of your event.
4) Post Event Follow-up – Event Entrepreneurs always contact your sponsors after the event to thank them for their sponsorship.
A follow-up meeting is an excellent time to provide them with the results of your event; how many people showed up, any leads that were generated, what kind of exposure the business received, etc…
Sponsors who are sold on the value of your events will want to maintain a long-term relationship and participate in future events you decide to host.
Looking for sponsorship money involves being prepared to present a packaged proposal in order to gain profits. That’s the primary way to get companies interested in sponsoring events.
Below are a few online resources for obtaining sponsorships. These websites will allow you to post your event making it simple for interested businesses to contribute: