Every event planner faces an important question when preparing for their next event: how will we fund it?
Unless you work in a big corporation that designates a budget for high-scale events, you’ll need to consider getting event sponsorships to make your idea a reality. Of course, this is easier said than done. Not only you have to find the ideal sponsors, you also have to lock down the sponsorships for the event.
Luckily, there are several ways in which you can ensure the financial success of your next event. If you approach companies the right way, and at the right time, you can get several sponsorships backing up the event - the more you have, the more money you’ll net!
How to get sponsors for an event
One of the reasons companies support events is because sponsorships can be leveraged as excellent marketing and sales strategies. They are ultimately looking to connect with their target audience, whether to directly boost sales or leads, improve brand recognition, enhance their image, or all of the above.
When it comes to attracting sponsors, you should ask yourself what you can offer to them that directly aligns with their campaign strategy, and will they benefit from sponsoring the event? Your proposal needs to prove that by financing your event, sponsors will be getting more than just extra clicks to their website.
Whether you are planning an in-person or virtual event, the process of finding the right sponsor is similar. The first thing that you need to do is revise your event goals, understand what you can bring to the table, and identify how your event will provide a unique value to potential sponsors.
Based on this information, you should compile a list of potential companies that might be interested in what you have to offer. Once you have narrowed down your options, the next step is crafting a tailored sponsorship proposal that aligns with your sponsor's needs.
Like any other business deal, it needs to be a win-win situation. When you have that ready, you can start doing the event outreach to your prospects. Be confident in your approach, you’ll be far more successful if you’re able to reflect this in your delivery.
5 tips for finding event sponsors for any type of event
Getting funding for any type of event can be an attainable goal, it just requires a well-thought-out event strategy. To secure success, you need to find companies that align with your values. These five tips will help you identify your event purpose and goals, know what you want out of a sponsorship, and get clear about the type of companies you’re trying to attract.
Have an airtight event purpose and end goal
Start by having a deep understanding of the event’s purpose and end goal. Think about why you are producing it? What is the outcome you are hoping to achieve? What sets you apart from other similar events?
Sponsors will be asking these questions when receiving your proposal. Doing this exercise will help you create enticing proposals that showcase your unique incentives, also, it will make you appear organized and passionate, which builds trust with your prospects.
Define your sponsorship criteria
Defining your criteria will help you determine whether or not a company is a good fit for your event. Not only you’ll be able to save time by avoiding reaching out to companies that don't align with your brand, but also you’ll bring value to your existing audience by introducing them to companies that offer a product or service they are looking for.
To secure profitable and productive sponsorships, focus on identifying which associations would make great partners. Are you looking for sponsors that understand the value of event marketing? Or whose target audience matches yours in demographics and interests? You’ll see how you end up with a broad range of options where you can choose from.
Create a list of sponsors you’re trying to attract
Once you know the particulars of your event and the type of companies that you’re trying to attract, you can create the list of potential sponsors that fit with your criteria. To find them, you can rely on existing tools designed to help you with this task, such as SponsorPitch, SponsorPark, Sponeasy or SponsorMyEvent. While you’re listing down companies that align best with your event, remember to add any relevant data, such as the contact information of the decision-makers.
Research similar events and find out who sponsored them
Do your homework! Another way of finding sponsorship is to reverse engineer the process and search for events similar to yours to discover which companies offered financial support. Since these associations understand the value of an event sponsorship, they very likely will keep investing in this type of marketing. Likewise, they already know that their target audience aligns with yours, which makes them easier to approach.
Have your audience help suggest sponsors
While looking for events that share your target audience, why not also ask your attendees for sponsor suggestions? This will make them feel valued because you’re letting them know their opinions matter.
Think about it, do you want to have companies in your event that don’t resonate with your attendees? that makes them feel like they don’t belong in that ecosystem? For an attendee, seeing a brand on your sponsor list that they’re already familiar with makes it easier to connect with it. So don’t hesitate to ask your audience for help!
6 ways to attract event sponsors
Now that you know how to find the ideal companies, let’s see how you can attract and entice them to commit to your event. You’ve already done some research on your potential sponsors, it's time to move that research into action!
Getting to know your sponsors better will help you address questions like who is the key decision-maker? What’s in it for them in the sponsorship? how are you helping them meet their objectives? The more information you have on each company, the better you’ll be at communicating the event value in your pitch, which is essential to secure partnerships.
Build relationships well before you need to ask for sponsorship
Building relationships with companies before asking for their support will help you successfully sponsor your event. Going to the same events decision-makers attend, interacting with them, or reaching out via LinkedIn are great alternatives to start building connections with these companies. Don’t forget that your goal is to create a relationship that isn’t an “ask” from the get-go.
Explain “what’s in it for them” to the sponsors you’re targeting
No company will financially support your event if there’s no equal exchange of value that benefits both parties. Think about what you are offering them in return? VIP treatment? Subscriptions to a product or service from your company? In any case, you need to determine what are the unique incentives that your sponsors will get from funding your event. It has to be a win-win relationship if you’re serious about making a profitable event.
Give them a way to back out if necessary
Everyone likes a contingency plan, and in the case of an emergency or funding falling through, your sponsors might want to know that they’re safeguarded. To be prepared for all scenarios, draw up a contract with terms that benefit them if they pull out, but protect you if they do as well.
Keep in mind that if you decide to move forward with no guarantee other than your word to back up their investment, it’s very unlikely that any company will commit their money, causing your deal to fall apart.
Use data to woo your event sponsors
Companies that sponsor events have their own financial goals, and data is important in order to predict the success of the investment.
To present the most relevant information in your sponsorship proposal, think first about why funding your event can benefit them and their customers the same way they’ll benefit you and yours. Have you landed some big clients lately? Do you have a new product on the horizon?
Use this opportunity to show your sponsors your biggest wins. Rail them in with strong data visuals that outline relevant facts, figures, dollar amounts, and anything else “shiny” and enticing about your event. Make sure to keep your data up to date for when you present it in your proposal.
Reach out to the right people
When reaching out to companies, don’t “cold pitch” sales associates who can’t help you and probably won’t pass your information along. Also, don’t randomly message people at the company in hopes they’ll put you in touch with the right person.
These approaches are just a waste of time and it will not help you attract your potential sponsor, at least not in a good way. There are several decision-makers for event sponsorships, so make sure to find the right people to communicate with and cut out the middlemen. You can start within your network and reach out to people who you already know - something positive can come up from it!
Always follow-up after a proposal
Once you have pitched your proposal, don’t forget to follow up in a timely manner. Not having an answer back from decision-makers doesn’t necessarily mean that they are not interested. They are very busy people, so it’s understandable if they missed your initial emails and/or social media messages. Wait for a week or so to follow up at least once more.
Often making a quick call can be more effective than sending another email. If they don’t get back to you within an acceptable time, move on with another potential sponsor. It’s not recommended to put all your eggs in one basket, so don’t rely solely on just one option.
How to find and attract event sponsors
If you want to do a quick recap of the most important information we've covered, here are the key takeaways from the post:
Sponsors are ultimately looking to connect with their target audience, that’s why your proposal needs to prove how it will address their needs and expectations.
Have a clear understanding of your event’s purpose and end goals before moving forward with your approach.
Define your sponsorship criteria to determine whether or not a company is a good fit for your event, that way you’ll avoid reaching out to prospects that don't align with your event brand or don't have a history of funding events.
Create the list of potential companies that fit with your criteria, you can either do it by researching similar events and find out who sponsored them or by asking your attendees to help suggest sponsors.
Before looking for financial assistance, you have to build relationships with your potential sponsors. Once you have created that connection, think of how you’ll show them what are the unique incentives that they will get from supporting your event.
In case of an emergency or funding falling through, draw up a contract with terms that benefit them if they pull out, but protect you if they do as well.
When making the reach out to potential sponsors, make sure to find the right people to communicate with and cut out the middlemen.
Once you have pitched your proposal, don’t forget to follow up in a timely manner. If a company doesn’t get back to you within an acceptable time, move on with another potential sponsor!
Now that you have the top tips to find potential sponsors as well as the best ways to attract them, you can feel confident about having everything you need to start reaching out to partners and securing funding for your next event!
Help yourself find event sponsors and more by selecting a top-tier event management platform for all of your future event planning needs!
Isabella is the Content Marketing Specialist at
Azavista, an event management platform that covers all needs for event professionals globally. She’s passionate about digital marketing and loves to connect with her audience through quality content. In her free time, she enjoys getting lost in museums, traveling to new places, and learning from different cultures.