how to get an event sponsors

How to Get Sponsors for an Event: The Complete Guide

Jay Sitapara
,
April 24, 2017

Successfully organizing an event will surely give you a feeling of accomplishment, but it is not an easy task. Hosting an event requires a lot of planning, but most importantly, it necessitates enough resources. If you don’t have the budget for your event, securing a sponsorship is the way to go. Finding sponsors is not an easy task, but we’ve created for you a complete guide to help you in the process.

How Do Sponsorships Work?

Event sponsorship is a mutually beneficial agreement between two parties: the sponsor and the organization hosting the event. In exchange for promotion, the sponsor supports the event through funding, resources, or services. Sponsorship is a great way for companies to promote their brand to a broader audience by providing support to a good cause. Because it is a win-win for both parties, you should consider sponsorship for your future events. Here are some steps to follow in order to find the right sponsors:

<span class="mid-size-title">1. Define Your Event and Its Goals</span>

First, you need to determine what you wish to accomplish by hosting the event and then choose the type of event that would help you reach your goals, whether it is an in-person, hybrid, or an online event.

<span class="mid-size-title">2. Determine Why Companies Should Want to Sponsor Your Event</span>

You need to attract sponsors by showing them the benefits they would get from choosing to sponsor your event. Offering to place their logo on your event website and showcasing their brand during the events are examples of ways to show sponsors that they would get brand recognition from sponsoring your event.

<span class="mid-size-title">3. Imagine your ideal sponsor</span>

You may already have ideas of which organizations or companies would be perfect to sponsor your event. If not, you may want to look at similar events and see who sponsored them. 

<span class="mid-size-title">4. Research Companies Ready to Sponsor That Meet Your Criteria</span>

The best sponsors for your event should have values and beliefs that align with yours. Your criterias might vary depending on your objectives. If you are looking to target a new audience, you might want to consider a company that would help you reach that goal. 

<span class="mid-size-title">5. Make a final list of potential sponsors</span>

After you have done your research and completed the steps above, it is now time to write down a list of potential companies or organizations you would like to have a sponsorship with.

<span class="mid-size-title">6. Pitch your sponsorship to your prospects</span>

Sponsors are a crucial part of your event as they are a way to drive revenue and gain credibility in exchange for promotional marketing. Reach out to potential sponsors months in advance and explain to them what they’d gain from sponsoring your event.

<span class="mid-size-title">7. Secure the sponsorship & build relationships</span>

Contact sponsors months in advance to make sure that they are available for your event. Stay in touch with them and keep them posted about final details and information about your event. It is important to build a relationship with sponsors in case you would like them to sponsor future events.

What Do Sponsors Do?

In exchange for promotional marketing, sponsors provide funding, resources, credibility, and publicity to event organizers. For example, sponsors can give financial support but also other resources such as food, beverage, or goodies. The parameters of the sponsorships and the degree of the sponsor’s involvement are decided beforehand between the company and the event organizer. 

How to Tell If You Need Sponsors for Your Event?

While there is a lot to gain from sponsorships, such as increased revenue, brand image improvement, and brand awareness, not every event organizer needs to secure sponsors for the event to be a success and to accomplish the objectives. When should you consider sponsorships, then? 

<span class="mid-size-title">1. If you are hosting a high profile event with well-known speakers or guests:</span>

Media sponsors can guarantee you media coverage for your event on specific channels such as the newspaper or TV and radio commercials.

<span class="mid-size-title">2. If the event budget is insufficient to reach all your goals:</span>

Consider partnering with local restaurants, hotels, or even transportation companies if you cannot afford some event component such as venue or catering. 

<span class="mid-size-title">3. If you are looking to expand your customer base or brand awareness:</span>

Partnering with sponsors will help you connect with a new audience that can potentially become loyal customers. Securing well-known companies as sponsors is a great way to gain credibility in the eye of attendees. 

Why Should Someone Sponsor My Event?

The same way you have to demonstrate during a job interview why the company should hire you, you also need to show sponsors the benefits they would get from supporting your event. It is important that you know yourself why organizations should sponsor your event so that you can act confident and stand out when you make your proposal to them. To attract and keep sponsors interested, here is a list of benefits and details that you may want to include in your proposal:

<span class="mid-size-title">Benefits</span>

  1. Brand Interaction: Sponsorship is a way for companies to interact and connect with their audience. Similar to brand engagement, the interactions between brands and customers create attachments that turn into brand loyalty overtime.
  1. Access to Attendee Data: One way to attract sponsors is to show them past sponsors ROI data. Also, sponsors want information about attendees. They want to know how many people will attend the event and learn more about your audience demographics, such as their age and gender. 
  1. Media Exposure: Media coverage can be expensive. Luckily, sponsorship generates media
    exposure. When looking at potential sponsors, research if they have a strong social media presence, which would be beneficial for your event promotion and would help boost attendance.
  1. Direct Audience Engagement: During the event, offer the opportunity for sponsors to communicate directly and to engage with attendees.
  1. Brand Prestige: By supporting your event, sponsors can increase its public image and build prestige.

<span class="mid-size-title">Details</span>

  1. Share Your Story: Getting to know the story of your business can be a way for sponsors to feel an emotional connection with you. Did you struggle? Was it created as a family business? 
  1. Explain What You Do: Talk about what your company values and beliefs and describe how your business benefits the society.
  1. Describe Your Audience: Sponsors want to support events that will benefit them, so share data about your audience to show that they would be targeting the right audience.

When presenting your proposal to sponsors, be specific about what you are looking for support, whether it is financial support, resources, or services.

How To Choose a Sponsor For Your Event

It can be overwhelming to be faced with a multitude of options when it comes to choosing the right sponsor for your event. For that reason, it is important that you know what you wish to accomplish with your event but also that you understand what you are hoping to get from a sponsorship and how your event can benefit sponsors. Once you have determined all of that, you will know which sponsors are best suited for your event. Here’s a list of sponsors you should consider reaching out to:

  • Businesses or organizations who understand the benefits of sponsorship - Even if they have sponsored events before and know the value, you still need to show them what they have to gain from supporting your event.
  • Sponsors whose audience corresponds to your target market - Both you and your sponsor will benefit from a sponsorship if you have an audience who share the same interests and demographics.
  • Sponsors who prioritize event ROI - You want to partner with businesses or organizations who understand that sponsorship is a give-and-take opportunity.

How To Find Sponsors For An Event?

You’ve determined that sponsorship would be beneficial for your event, but you’re not sure where to look for sponsors. Luckily for you, we’ve listed ways to find the right sponsors for your event.

<span class="mid-size-title">1. Use Digital Tools</span>

Whether you are looking for sponsors, or you are a company looking to support an event, these online tools are here to help! 

  • SponsorMyEvent: event organizers can use this marketplace for event sponsorships to easily find the event sponsors whose target audience is similar to yours.
  • SponsorPitch: this online platform uses analytics and predictive intelligence to quickly connect sponsorship partners.
  • Sponseasy: this easy to use platform lets you enter information about your event to help you build customizable sponsorship proposals to the right sponsors.
  • OpenSponsorship: if you are an athlete, a team sport, or looking to organize a sport event, this platform is made for you!

<span class="mid-size-title">2. Have Clear Objectives</span>

When looking for sponsors, you need to choose ones that will contribute to your event success by supporting you in the accomplishment of your event goals. For example, one of your goals might be to increase your brand awareness but your budget cannot allow you to secure media coverage. In that case, you may want to reach out to influencers who could cover your event and share about it on their social media. 

<span class="mid-size-title">3. Research Similar Events</span>

Look at events that are related to yours or to your industry and reach out to their sponsors. These companies have already partnered with event organizers whose audience matches yours and will more likely want to support your cause. Plus, they already know the value of event sponsorship and understand that it is a two-way-street.

<span class="mid-size-title">4. Select Sponsors Who Share Your Values and Beliefs</span>

Sponsorship can have a huge impact on your brand. Sponsors reflect your brand therefore it is crucial to partner with companies whose values are similar to yours. For example, if your event is eco-friendly, you may want to research companies that are known for their sustainable practices. 

<span class="mid-size-title">5. Ask Your Audience’s Opinion</span>

When planning an event, it is important to get to know your audience well by doing market research. Find out what their interests are, what are their habits? Do they have favorite brands that you could reach out to? Sponsors can help boost your audience interest and increase attendance by attracting people who love their brand to your event.

How To Get Sponsors for Your Event?

Now that you’ve understood the benefits of sponsorship and know how to find and choose sponsors, we are going to learn step-by-step how to get sponsors for your event.

<span class="mid-size-title">1. Know All The Details of Your Event</span>

When you meet with sponsors, your goal is to show them how valuable it would be for them to support your event. Similar to how salespersons would have to know very well the product or service they’re trying to sell in order to persuade customers to purchase it, event organizers need to know everything about their event to demarcate themselves from competitors. What’s the theme? What are the objectives? What makes your event unique? Be clear and concise when you describe your event to sponsors, and more importantly, be confident! If you don’t believe in your event value, how will they?

<span class="mid-size-title">2. Identify Your Event Value</span>

As we have mentioned earlier, sponsorship is a mutually beneficial agreement between the sponsor and the event organizer. In this step, your goal is determine what your target sponsors are looking to gain by sponsoring events. After you have understood why they want to sponsor, you need to prove to them that supporting your event would be a great investment for them. Use past sponsors ROI data as a selling point. Companies will more likely want to sponsor your event if they can see data that prove to them that they will benefit from it. Here are some examples of values you should communicate to potential sponsors when making your proposal:

Lead generation: explain to companies that sponsoring your event would be an opportunity for them to reach out to potential customers, which is crucial to increase sales.
Valuable audience demographic: sponsoring your event would benefit sponsors by reaching new target audiences and expanding their customer base.
Social media exposure: your event would be an opportunity for sponsors to increase their social media presence and performance. 

<span class="mid-size-title">3. Determine Potential Sponsors Criterias</span>

It can be time consuming to find the perfect sponsors, which is why it is important that you only focus on companies that align with your values. Make a list of criteria to help you define which sponsors would be best for your event. If you share the same visions and beliefs, bigger are the chances that companies will sponsor your event, and who knows? This could be the start of a long-term partnership!

<span class="mid-size-title">4. Connect With Target Companies and Form a Partnership</span>

Now that you’ve made a list of criteria, the following step is to reach out to your ideal sponsors. A great way to find them is by searching at similar events and looking who sponsors them. You can also create a buyer persona to know exactly who your target audience is, then look for sponsors whose target audience is similar to yours. Also, your goal as an event organizer is to attract as many participants as possible, so ask your audience their opinion on which brand they would like to see at your event! Lastly, as we’ve mentioned earlier in this blog, there are great online tools that can help you find and connect with sponsors, such as SponsEasy and SponsorPitch.

<span class="mid-size-title">5. Give Incentives To Your Sponsors</span>

Sponsorship is an investment for companies so you need to show them what they’d gain from supporting your event. To attract sponsors, here are some opportunities you could give them:

  • Include their name logo on your event website, flyers, and event banners.
  • Promote their brand on your social media, blog, and email newsletters.
  • Encourage attendees to purchase sponsors’ products by offering them discounts or freebies.
  • Showcase their brand during your event.

<span class="mid-size-title">6. Offer a Minimum Risk Solution</span>

It can be scary for sponsors to invest time and resources in companies that they don’t know or who are not established yet. Which is why you should consider making a trial deal. For example, if you’re looking for funding, instead of asking a large amount of money to one single company, reach out to different sponsors and ask them for a small portion. Sponsors are taking less risk if they invest $10,000 in an event than if they were spending $100,000. 

<span class="mid-size-title">7. Use Valuable Data In Your Proposal</span>

Sponsorship is a way for companies to market and advertise their brand. Provide sponsors strong data to support the claim that your event would be a successful way for them to increase their visibility. Some examples of important data to include in your proposal would be anticipated attendance, past sponsors ROI data, social media engagement level. Keep in mind that your goal is to make your sponsors feel confident that supporting your event is a good investment for them.

<span class="mid-size-title">8. Find the Perfect Timing</span>

Sponsors are an essential part of an event. They generate financial gains and offer credibility. For these reasons, we recommend that you reach out to them ahead of time, at least between 4 to 8 months before the event. The best time to seek out sponsors varies depending on the industry and the economy, but usually the end of the year is the best time as it is when companies go over their budget for the following year.

<span class="mid-size-title">9. Propose Different Sponsorship Options</span>

This step consists of designing different package levels. In your proposal, explain clearly to companies the different sponsorship options so that sponsors can understand well the different ways they could support your event and what they would get in return for it. For example, if you need $20,000 for your event in exchange for promoting the sponsor’s brand on your social media, including their logo on event banners, flyers, and webpage, as well as offering them a booth for free, you can explain sponsors that you would accept a smaller funding amount but in return, they would only receive two out of the three incentives.

<span class="mid-size-title">10. Make a Strong Sponsorship Proposal</span>

After completing all the previous steps, it is now the time to prepare your proposal. While it is up to you to decide on the format and customization, there are some key elements that you cannot forgo.

  • Event Details: such as the date, location, time, theme, and goals.
  • Attendees Data: including target audience demographics, estimated number of attendees and past event attendance data.
  • Value/Benefits: be clear about the sponsorship's valuable benefits. Explain why they should sponsor your event.
  • Sponsorship Packages: explain the different sponsorship options.
  • Valuable Data and Testimonials: share past events ROI data and feedback from past events’ attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, and speakers.
  • How to Be Your Sponsor: explain the steps to follow to accept your proposal. Include the phone number or email address so they can contact you to give you a response.

<span class="mid-size-title">11. Reach Out To The Right People</span>

Now that your sponsorship proposal is ready, you need to make sure it ends up between the hands of the best person. Start within your network and contact people you already have a relationship with. Also, reach out to the people who are in charge of the company’s budget as they will be more likely in control of how their funds are spent. Last, brand managers should also be your primary contact when it comes to finding sponsors. 

<span class="mid-size-title">12. Follow Up</span>

Stay in touch with your potential sponsors to increase your chance of securing a sponsorship. Show them that you are really interested in partnering with them. Sometimes it is not the right timing for companies and while they might say “no” at first, it is worth following up with them in case they change their mind.

How to Pitch a Sponsorship?

As an event organizer, your goal is to persuade companies to sponsor your event. Here’s a list of incentives that might certainly help you seal the deal:

  • Ticket, registration, and attendance numbers: sponsorship is an opportunity for companies to increase their customer base. Show them how many people are expected to attend the event.
  • Audience demographics: Share information about your audience. Sponsors often like to support events whose audience is similar to theirs, or they can be looking for a new audience.
  • Social media data: show what your social media presence can offer them.
  • Different package levels: give details on the different sponsorship options offered to them.
  • Sponsorship timeframe: be precise on when the sponsors and yourself will receive the benefits of the sponsorship.
  • Testimonials from past events: share past event feedback from vendors, sponsors, attendees, including event ROI data.

How to Display Sponsors at an Event?

How you decide to display sponsors at your event is a way to recognize them and there are many ways to do it. You can include their name and logo on event banners, flyers, and on the event swag and goodies. Use your creativity and by opting out for more unique ways to display sponsors, such as using your social media channels to promote their brand, setting up a sponsored lounge, bar, or game area with their name on it, or setting up a sponsor-branded charging station for smartphones and laptops during the event.

FAQs

What is an event sponsor?

An event sponsor is any person, company, or organization that supports an event by providing funds, resources, or services in exchange for something valuable.

What companies do sponsorships?

Many companies in different industries are looking for sponsorship opportunities. Some online tools such as SponsorMyEvent or SponsEasy can help you find companies that sponsor. Companies such as Wells Fargo, Whole Foods, and Clif Bar are among the top 10 companies that sponsor local nonprofit events around the U.S.

Why are sponsors important?

Sponsors add value to events and can help you gain credibility and drive up your revenue by boosting attendees' interest and participation. They are a great way to build business relationships.

What do event sponsors want? 

Companies want to sponsor events that will give them brand recognition by supporting a good cause. Sponsorship offers them new leads to increase their audience and develop relationships with other businesses which in the long run will increase their revenue.

When should you reach out to potential sponsors?

As early as possible, usually between 4 to 8 months ahead. You want to give sponsors and yourself enough time to go over all the details and final approvals.

<span class="mid-size-title">Wrapping Up!</span>

It is now time to put in practice what you have learned from our complete guide to get sponsors for an event. While securing sponsorships can seem like a daunting task, don’t forget all the benefits that come with this opportunity!

Author
Jay Sitapara

Jay Sitapara is an engineer having an inclination towards innovation in technology. Jay is a guest contributor to the official blog for Hubilo, an event-tech startup which aims to change the way how events are organised and people network at events. Jay is particularly passionate about crafting stimulating, resourceful and in-depth guides for Event Planners. He is specifically interested in effective use of event technology and social media for greater ROI through innovative thinking and skills. Jay is also a Digital Marketer, Editor, Community Manager and a regular contributor to Hubilo Blog. His philic nature is prone to dogs, poetry, coffee, friends and coffee with friends. If you're on Twitter, say Hello to him @jsitapara and follow his articles on blog.hubilo.com

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