The Ultimate Guide to Securing Event Sponsors

Want to know the single fastest way to improve your event’s bottom line? We have two words for you: sponsorship revenue. Sponsorships benefit both the event organizer and the brand in a big way. True experiential marketing is often challenging to pull off. Event sponsorship, however, allows brands to interact with customers in a non-threatening atmosphere. Registrants feel extra valued and naturally attach a positive experience to your brand when they are showered with sponsor-provided perks, giveaways, and merch. In addition to improving the event experience, the sponsorship dollars you rake in will be 100% pure profit. Need we say more?

Now, if attracting and monetizing event sponsors seems like a locked vault mystery, we’re here to crack the code for you. 

Understanding the Basics of Event Sponsorship

So how does event sponsorship work, exactly? Simply put, a brand offers money or resources to your event in exchange for specific benefits. Typically, these benefits are promotional in nature and involve the company’s name on a banner, swag, poster, etc. As a result, sponsors get a boost in visibility and your event gets a boost in revenue. When sponsors and event organizers work well together, the partnership is a win-win.

Preparing to Attract Event Sponsors

As you prepare to attract event sponsors, spend some time clarifying what you have to sell and highlight what’s in it for the sponsor. Start by making the following two lists: First, make a list of all the general assets you can include your sponsors on. For example, this might be a logo on your registration page, T-shirts, or market research. Second, list the specific segments and marketing opportunities you can sell to your sponsor, such as a VIP parking area or a branded banner at the entryway. 

Ask Whether You’re Ready for it            

While “make sure you’re ready” might sound like a cliché caution, the advice is too important to skip. With a long sales cycle and a path peppered with “Nos,” you need persistence and a thick skin to develop a sponsorship program. 

How do you know whether you’re ready for a serious commitment? Evaluate what’s happening in your market. Scout out other big events to see their sponsorship integration. Check out companies actively sponsoring similar events and investigate how they attract their sponsors. 

Once you’ve done your research and determined that your team is ready to run, it’s time to jump in with both feet.

Understand Your Audience

As an event organizer, it’s important to dig into the demographics and psychographics of your market. Make an effort to understand their values, opinions, interests, and lifestyle.

Are your attendees made up of students in their 20s who care deeply about the environment and personal growth? You can use surveys to gather this type of information. The more you can learn, the better. We recommend using our new-to-the-industry feature, Contact Insights, to gather this data and leverage it for your future events. The enrichment service is GDPR compliant, and your data remains private.

Crafting a Compelling Sponsorship Deck

Next, it’s time to organize your brainstorming into a compelling deck. A thoughtful and visually appealing deck will speak loudly to your event and your commitment to excellence. We recommend including the following key components. 

+ Your event’s purpose and core values.

+ A summary of your value proposition (ie, the benefits for your potential sponsor).

+ A breakdown of your audience and/or donor base interests

+ Proof of success: attendee testimonials, soaring attendance stats, other longstanding partnerships, etc.

+ An outline of the different sponsorship levels, including the prices and any customization options.

+ High-quality photos and videos.

+ Your contact information.

If you want to boost your chances of success, sell the meaning of the outcome rather than its features alone. 

Identifying Potential Sponsors

Identifying and choosing the right sponsors for your event starts with a clear understanding of your event goals and your attendees’ needs.  Your sponsorships must add value—not only to the sponsor but also to the event experience.  Look for sponsors with similar audience demographics or interests. While your audiences don’t have to be identical, you need at least one key area of overlap. For example, if your event has a breakout session about time management, consider partnering with a project management software product. 

Strategies to Get Sponsors for Your Event

Networking and building relationships with potential sponsors is crucial. Increase your sponsorship opportunities by attending similar events and networking with sponsors and brands that align with your event goals. Additionally, utilizing online platforms is another strategy for securing sponsors. It turns out that plenty of sponsors are hunting for events, and online sponsorship platforms are designed to help connect event organizers with the right sponsors. Check out Sponseasy, SponsorMyEvent, SponsorPark, SponsorPitch, or OpenSponsorship to get started. Once you kick start the communication, stay on top of the process by making sure to follow up with potential sponsors.

Pro tip: Consider polling your attendees and asking them which brands they would love to see at your event.

Crafting the Perfect Proposal

While a pitch deck typically includes lots of pictures and videos, the proposal resembles more of a business plan: no visuals are needed. One of the best ways to secure sponsors for an event is to craft a killer sponsorship proposal. Whether it’s a certain number of social media posts or vendor booth spaces, clearly outline the suggested terms. You can also check out this blog for sample sponsorship proposals. Before you hit send, make sure it’s compelling, clear, and free of errors.

Maximizing the Benefits of Event Sponsorship

As we’ve covered in this article, sponsorships can be incredibly beneficial to events. That said, it requires intentional strategy and the right partnerships to leverage sponsorship for event success. By partnering with the right sponsors, you not only gain financial support but also unlock a treasure trove of promotional opportunities. From logo placements to exclusive partnerships, sponsors can help amplify your event's reach and enhance the attendee experience. Aligning with reputable brands can also boost your event’s credibility and prestige, attracting even more attendees and enhancing your overall success. 

Building Long-Term Relationships with Sponsors

If you want sustained success in the event industry, building long-term relationships with sponsors is essential. Sure, landing a sponsor for a single event is great, but cultivating lasting partnerships is where the real magic happens. When you establish trust and rapport with sponsors over time, you open the door to a world of benefits and possibilities.

Not only do you secure reliable support for future events, but you also gain access to valuable resources, expertise, and networks. Plus, loyal sponsors become invested in your success, offering ongoing guidance and collaboration to help your events thrive. 

Final Takeaways

Event sponsorship presents a golden opportunity to significantly boost your event's bottom line while also providing invaluable benefits to sponsors and attendees. By understanding the basics of event sponsorship and preparing compelling sponsorship decks, you can effectively attract sponsors aligned with your event goals and audience needs. 

Once secured, maximize the benefits of event sponsorship through strategic partnerships and promotional opportunities. Play the long game and build long-term relationships with sponsors. The access to resources, expertise, and networks that can fuel future events to new heights.

Lastly, remind yourself that bigger sponsorship deals take time to cultivate. Kicking off communication with a company this month might not materialize as an event partnership until next year. 

Get to work early and be patient with the process. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact our support team.

We’re here to help you host your most successful event ever!

— The RegFox Team