All events need funding. The good news: You don’t have to front all the costs yourself. Getting brands to sponsor your event can help you offset your event costs, improve your ROI, and create better experiences for your attendees.
Whether you’re hosting in-person events, virtual events, or hybrid events, here’s how you can attract great sponsors.
Many organizers wonder if they need to find a sponsor. The answer depends, but many companies (regardless of size) find it beneficial to seek out sponsors.
The main benefit is that sponsors provide financial support for the event. Sponsors can also help to promote the event, which may increase turnout and make your event more profitable. No matter your event goals, acquiring sponsors is certainly worth looking into.
Event sponsorship is an effective marketing tool for many companies. In the best-case scenarios, the sponsorship benefits them just as much as it benefits you.
By sponsoring an event, businesses can gain exposure to many potential customers and build goodwill within the community. Your event provides them with an excellent opportunity to market their products or services to a wide audience.
Events are a great way to get employees involved and invested in your company. It can also help build morale and team spirit.
By aligning your brand with a relevant event, you can reach a large audience of potential leads in a single, concentrated effort. Plus, event sponsorships often come with valuable marketing benefits like on-site branding and publicity opportunities.
One of the most important decisions you will make is who to ask to be a sponsor. It’s important to do your research and make a list of potential sponsors that fit your event’s theme and audience.
Start by defining your goals for the event and what type of support you need from a sponsor. For example, do you need financial support to cover the cost of the venue, food, and entertainment? Or do you need in-kind donations such as raffle prizes or goody bag items?
Choose sponsors that will align with your event goals and can help you reach your desired outcomes. The rest of this guide will help you do this.
Once you know what you’re looking for in a sponsor, how do you go about finding the best matches? This process usually takes a multi-pronged approach. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Digital tools have made finding event sponsors easier than ever. There’s still a bit of work involved, but you can narrow your focus with tools like SponsorPark, SponsorMyEvent, or SponsorPitch.
Let your goals drive you to your next event sponsor. Strategically choosing sponsors can make it easier to achieve your desired outcomes. For example, if you want to attract top-tier speakers, you could partner with hotel sponsors to provide VIP suites and amenities
Are other brands in your industry or market hosting events, too? Check out their sponsor list to see who they’ve got on board, then pitch them on your event. They probably share the same audience, plus those brands are already sold on the value of event sponsorship.
Sponsorship retention rates are slipping, making it harder for organizers to find good sponsors. One solution to this is to pitch sponsors on shared event values. Help them see that their brand belongs and will get in front of a captive target audience.
Attendees that see recognizable names at events are more likely to engage with them and recall those brands once the event concludes. See what companies your audience is already interested in, then reach out to those companies for sponsorship opportunities.
When pitching brands, an event sponsorship proposal letter can come in handy. This template saves you time by not having to write individual letters to each potential sponsor.
When writing an event sponsorship proposal letter, be sure to include the following information:
It may take more than one letter to receive a response, so creating a follow-up letter template can also prove useful.
You care about your event, but why should your sponsors? As the organizer, it’s your job to show potential sponsors there’s value in it for them, too.
Sponsor incentives can take many forms, but typically involve some type of recognition or marketing opportunity for the sponsor. For example, a sponsor may be given a prime location for their booth at an event, or their logo may be prominently displayed in all event materials.
Sponsorships are financial risks for companies, no matter how small the investment. One way to overcome this is to reduce their risk by asking for only a small portion of what you need instead of having them fund the whole event. Having multiple package options and price points lets sponsors get involved however they can afford.
If you already have sponsors on board, you can attract additional sponsors with a little name-dropping. Mention your other connections in the industry to earn trust and good faith.
Asking for their help, not just their money, taps into their ego and makes them feel valued right from the start. This also shows their opinions matter to you, and you want the best outcome for both sides.
Booking a meeting shows the sponsor you’re interested in them and the relationship, not just a check. This gives you both a chance to ask questions and make sure you’ll be a good fit for each other.
Timing can be everything. Start early so they have time to think about your request. Try to avoid pitching during holiday months (November-January) as these are often busy times and your request is likely to fall low on their priority list.
Don’t waste time. Speak with decision-makers so you’re pitching to the right person.
Sponsors are super important to your event’s success, so don’t forget to say thanks! Here are some ways to show your appreciation:
Make a public announcement to highlight their brand. You can also use your event app to send a push notification to attendees that bring their brand to light.
Thank your sponsors on your event’s social channels. It’s fast and free, and can go a long way in building goodwill.
Use your mobile event app to share branded content from the sponsor. These might be photos, agendas, recaps, video highlights, or something the sponsor created themselves.
Include your sponsor in an event case study. This free publicity may help you secure their sponsorship next year!
For more ways to use event management software and technology, head back to the Canapii blog.