If you’ve ever been to any type of event, large or small, for profit or for charity, chances are it had at least one sponsor. Take sports for an example: It’s pretty hard to imagine watching a game on TV without commercials for auto insurance and fast food. Even smaller events like a charity 5k feature advertising from local and national sponsors on everything from tickets to t-shirts. What’s with all the sponsorships you ask? It’s simple, they generate money! In today’s article, we’ll discuss ideas for soliciting potential sponsors and retaining them for events to come.
Know your audience: Sending out blind proposals isn’t always a great idea. Knowing the details of who your audience is should guide you in determining what types of companies you should seek sponsorship. While some sponsors will donate out of the goodness of their heart, most are seeking access to your audience to increase revenue and a return on their investment. As the event host, you’re the liaison between the sponsor and your audience..aka their potential customer. Let’s say your organization provides free books to needy kids and you’re seeking a sponsorship from a children’s book publisher. Consider hosting an event where teachers, principals, librarians and administrators would be interested in attending and make your potential sponsor aware that these professionals will be in attendance. You’ve just provided your sponsor with the opportunity to put their products/services into the hands of decision makers, while also raising money to purchase books for your cause.
Create sponsorship levels: When you offer sponsorship levels, it makes it easier for companies of all sizes and budgets to participate. First, you’ll want to define your sponsorship levels and the benefits that come with each. Each level of sponsorship should offer something unique that benefits the sponsoring company. For your entry level sponsorships, you may want to offer a quarter page ad in the event program booklet. For top tier sponsors, you could include a full page advertisement, a speaking opportunity and signage at the event. Because most of the funds that you will generate from your event will come from sponsorships, this is a great time to take a look at your event goal and decide how you could break that goal up. The idea here is to meet or exceed your goal by filling sponsorship slots.
Communicate and Cultivate: Chances are, not every company you pitch for your event sponsorship will actually sign on to participate. Some sponsorships require the long term development of a professional relationship. Others may require you knock on their door a few times a year just to show you mean business. Either way, keeping a record of who and when you contact is important so you can attempt different methods of solicitation…while also staying considerate and sensitive to the amount of attempts you’ve made.
About the author: William Hall is a seasoned business coach specializing in branding, social media and promotional events. William has spent his career teaching businesses of all sizes how to stand out in the crowd while using marketing dollars most effectively. His clients are continuously thankful for his out-of-the-box ideas that lead to increased revenue, more clicks and a bigger online presence.