How to Meet Your Sponsorship Goals for Your Next Event

June 8, 2015 Megan Stoeckel

The primary goal of any event is to be successful and often times this means to be profitable. When profit is the end goal, securing sponsors for your event is a great way to raise as much money as possible. However, this may not be an easy task if you’ve never done it before. It really isn’t that difficult if you know how to approach the sponsors. All it takes is organizational skills for the most part, and that, every event planner does have.

So what are the best ways to lock in sponsorship for an event? For all the newbies out there, here are some tips on getting more sponsors for your events.

Sell results not sponsorship. Before you even pick up the phone or send a proposal, pinpoint your value plan. What’s the notion? How would sponsoring your event be significant to their customers or fans? How could your event translate to potential profit to their business? These are questions you should be able to answer with ease when asked. You want to deliver this message as your first foot in the door.

Sell the highest marketing point, not the cost of the event. Just because it’s going to take money to produce a casino-themed party, doesn’t mean that it’s what you should be marketing. Your biggest assets might be something else completely, like access to your leading board of directors and the chance for year-round advertising campaigns for your Facebook community. Remember, sponsorship fees, unlike charitable donations, are unlimited.

Highlight profits, not logistics. Focus your efforts on the prospective sponsor’s necessity to build their business, not your necessity to sell. Remember not to expect a prospect to scramble through all of your informative literature and figure out what they want. So make sure that in your initial conversation you verbally provide bullet points to what is included in your offer that will help them reach their business goals. 

Strategize your rates. Give prospective sponsors a reason to purchase at the top level. Save the key profits for your biggest supporters instead of prorating your benefits and offering them to partners on every level. You want to make sure that they see the value in your offer. Not only in outreach but also in event bonuses. You want to keep the top sponsors at the forefront of all promotional efforts and provide them with the most brand visibility throughout the course of the event.

Customize to your prospect’s needs. Recognize what it is your prospect wants to accomplish and who they want to reach. It may not always be sales, it could just be exposure. You want to make your proposal speak to their needs. It will come across as the answer to their marketing plans and give them more reason to sign right up. Doing some research to learn what their needs may be can go a long way. You may want to find out what markets they are looking to tap into, and if it’s a market that can be connected to your event’s audience, you’re golden.

Approach everyone in the same category at once. Once you get good understanding of a particular group, do not waste time by sending out proposals one at a time. It will take you months if not years to get through the entire group. If you’ve found a good fit for one company in a particular category, you can most likely apply it to all of the other prospects of the same group. Meaning, if you can run down your list of candidates and can highlight two dozen companies that are specifically looking for exposure rather than sales, send this group the same proposal at the same time.

Lock in your media partners first. Partnering with media sponsors is a big sign to prospects that your event will be high profile and reduces their risk in signing. Most companies have a set marketing budget separate from their community outreach budget. Sponsoring an event with excellent media coverage makes financial sense to your prospects because you’re helping them combine two objectives with one expense.

Conclude an initial discussion before sending your proposal out. You got the prospect on the phone, and they have asked you to send something in writing. Do not use this as the queue to send a full proposal. In its place, send a one-page overview. Once you’ve met or had a more in-depth conversation that confirms you are active in their objectives, process, budget, etc., it’s time to create a customized proposal.

Fully commit yourself. Sponsorship sales are in part a numbers game with most sponsorship recruiting efforts starting with a cold call. Obtaining sponsorship sales can’t be something that is done half-assed between other tasks. The gig is a full-time job. Remember that with every point of communication, you may get the signature so be diligent and don’t give up, but do know when too much is too much.

Create a time limit on your offers. There are only three satisfactory results of any meeting or call, it’s either a yes, a no or taking steps towards moving on to the next phase in your approach. Next steps may include getting the green light to prepare a proposal in which case, that’s a bonus because their interest is increasing. In other cases, it may be to schedule a time and date for the next conversation. That’s fine too but do make sure that you brainstorm creative ways to arouse interest prior to conversing again.

Base your fee scale on value and not on budget. The price your prospect is being asked to pay must be proportionate to the rights and benefits being delivered. The delivered goods may be more than the budget of what’s being sold. Reduce the prospective sponsor’s risk with an independent, third-party assessment.

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