Attracting sponsors for an event is a competitive business. It’s a task that can’t be taken lightly – but with careful planning, clear objectives and a robust strategy it is possible to avoid any pitfalls.
Increasingly, sponsorship of events and conferences is required to offset expenditure and keep registration fees as low as possible, but sponsors can add significant value and even help you raise awareness of your event.
Here are our tips and guidelines to get you started…
Where to Start
Knowing who to approach as a sponsor is key. Create a list; identify key businesses and organisations that work in the same sphere as your company. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Do you and your sponsor have the same target audience? Has your sponsor released a new product/service that could complement your event and its aims? For example, a meeting looking at allergens could be attractive to a food company that has an allergen-free product.
Make sure you start early to extend the benefits of sponsoring an event.
Writing the Proposal
Make contact with your target list as soon as possible (and don’t be afraid to approach previous sponsors).
- Be specific with details about the event. Include the date, times, venue, numbers and delegate profiles in your proposal
- Be clear about what you require and what they can expect from sponsorship of your event
- Include a call to action for them and yourself e.g. ‘for more information, please call….’ and ‘we will give you a call on dd/mm/yy to see if you have received our request and to ask for your thoughts’
- Consider creating packages offering various benefits for different levels of support. Adjust the pricing depending on the package. Sponsors will generally pay more for exclusivity
- Communicate clearly exactly what you need: cash, support with supplying services such as giveaways or publicity etc. so that potential sponsors can make an informed and quick decision
- A place at a dinner isn’t a benefit. However, package it up as an opportunity to speak or to be sat next to a VIP and the dinner ticket instantly has more value for the sponsor
- If you don’t have the time to dedicate to attracting sponsors, consider employing the services of a professional sponsorship broker such as Slingshot Sponsorship – this could help save you time and resource and it may open new doors and possibilities for you.
Creating Sponsorship Opportunities and Packages
To give yourselves and potential sponsors clarity, it’s essential to plan your sponsorship packages carefully before you begin to approach organisations. Here are some ideas of what you can offer back, remember, always be clear about the benefits your opportunities will bring for your sponsors…
- A guest blog on your website
- Naming rights – for example for an award, social event or workshop
- Access to your communities on your social media channels. For example, offer to promote the sponsor and your partnership through your Twitter feed. However, you should be specific, e.g. ‘we have xx followers and with this package, we will tweet about our partnership and tag you x times in y amount of time’
- Specific networking, for example with student membership for potential employment
- Branding on a conference programme/website/promotional materials/badges/lanyards
- Signage, stage or welcome presentation
- Inclusion in your email signature
- A link/logo on the conference website
- An exhibition booth or table
- Tickets for the conference/session or gala dinner (but be specific about what they would gain from that)
- Access to delegate data pre and post conference (subject to data protection laws)
- An opportunity to address delegates
- Sponsors may prefer to offer in-kind support to cover transport, printing or a social activity.
If a sponsor can’t offer everything you require, take what they can offer and always over-deliver. By doing this, you are nurturing the relationship and it could pay dividends for your next event.
Don’t forget to make your sponsorship measureable. Reporting back on your success can help you build your case when you approach sponsor for your next event.
Finally, deliver exactly what you promise and don’t forget to follow up and thank the sponsors as this will help you to gain support for your next event!
If you are planning an event and considering engaging with sponsors, please do get in touch. We have a bank of contacts and resources to help you save time and money.