In the early stages of planning your event, you’re full of vision and excitement. As the theme is selected and the details start rolling out, you will have to face one crucial question: how are you going to fund this event? Chances are, unless your company has a generous budget, you are going to have to look outside the organization to finance your vision.
Outside sponsorship will likely be the most helpful option in setting your event up for success. However, it can be a challenge to find sponsorship. You may face rejection, or not get a response at all. But don’t be discouraged, there are plenty of ways to get the help you need to bring your plans to reality!
- Make Your Proposal Memorable
Think of the search for a sponsor as job hunting. Every chance you get, you want to make yourself stand out! After all, the company reviews dozens of proposals on a daily basis. Why does your event stand out among the other applicants?
Consider these tips to make your proposal memorable.
- Start with The Story: Does your company have humble beginnings? Are you a part of an old-fashioned family business? Or perhaps you’re an open-minded hotspot for millennials? Get their attention with an emotional connection that can strike a chord with the sponsoring company
- Give Them The Basics: Describe your mission statement and how your company lives up to that daily so that they have a clear understanding of what you do.
- Paint Your Audience: Give them a picture of the demographic audience you are trying to reach.
- Crunch the numbers: Be honest and detailed about the estimated funding amount needed. Elaborate on what each portion of funding is needed for, including venue rental, food, travel compensation, and so forth.
- Answer the “Why?” Question:
Sponsorship should be a mutually-beneficial relationship. Be quick to put their anxieties to rest and assure them that they will benefit from funding your event. Whether you invite them to partake in your event, or you give them promotion and advertising, make sure they get the most bang for their buck through these incentives:
- Name Drop: Begin mentioning the sponsoring company in your blog posts, emails, or newsletters.
- Provide Incentives: Offer freebies or discounts for customers who purchase the sponsor’s products or services.
- Get Creative: Add the sponsoring company’s logo into all of your promotional products and mediums.
- Give Them a Follow: Encourage your followers to “like” or follow the sponsor’s social media content.
- Meet in The Middle
It can be risky for sponsors to fund your company, especially if your business is just getting off the ground. With that in mind, propose a “trial” sponsorship that will earn their trust and build their confidence.
Instead of going straight for the big bucks, first, seek out a trial opportunity in which you as for a smaller portion in exchange for something small in return. For example, if you know you will need $100,000, offer to settle for $10,000 and invite the sponsor to send one guest speaker, set up a booth, or put their logo on a single promotional item.
In this way, the potential sponsors can test the waters with your company in a way that won’t hurt them too badly if the outcome of your event isn’t what was expected.
- Form Partnerships with Better Established Companies
A common obstacle many brands face is that they simply do not have the name recognition to get sponsorships on their side. Partnering with other well-known companies in the same industry to form a joint event could help leverage your reputation and credibility. This way, potential sponsors will see that you and your partnering organization are capable of drawing a large crowd and are a good investment.
When seeking joint partnerships, find establishments in your corner, but avoid direct competitors.
- Do Your Homework
Thoroughly research each sponsor you plan to contact. Gather context by studying any current events or transitions the company might be going through so that you can find the opportune time to chime in to the existing dialogue. Are they in the midst of a new release, are they making a move across town? Or are they perhaps hosting an event of their own?
Make the potential sponsor feel known and understood by referencing their current situation, and even offering your collaboration as help.
- Be Confident
Attaining sponsorships may not always be easy. With effective communication, a confident proposal, and clear terms that prove the mutual benefit of the partnership, you may find yourself with a sponsorship in no time at all!