In recent years, surveys have suggested that more than 80% of marketing specialists feel companies can get a lot of value out of sponsoring events. This might lead you to believe landing event sponsors for a business function you have coming up will be easy.
But this isn't always the case. When you're in the process of planning an event, you'll likely have to work hard to convince companies to sponsor your event. Attracting sponsors will force you to implement the right strategies.
If you aren't sure where to start when it comes to event sponsorship, we're here to help. We've created a guide on how to find the right event sponsors for your next business function. It'll help you kickstart your search for sponsors and reduce the costs associated with your upcoming event.
Take a look at the steps you'll need to take when seeking event sponsors below.
Learn Why Companies Sponsor Events
If you're going to successfully convince companies to sponsor your event, it'll help to know why companies would want to do this in the first place. It'll give you valuable insight into what companies will get out of agreeing to sponsor an event you're planning.
So, why do they do it? There are a variety of reasons why companies might consider becoming event sponsors. Here are just a few of them:
- Gives them access to a specific group of people who might be interested in their company
- Allows them to build up more brand awareness
- Lends credibility to their brand and makes it look more legitimate
- Enables them to get publicity they wouldn't otherwise receive
You'll be able to make a more compelling case as to why companies should sponsor your event when you're able to sell them on the benefits it'll provide for them. So you shouldn't lose sight of the "why" when you're searching for event sponsors.
List Your Ideal Event Sponsors
There are tens of millions of businesses in the U.S. at this point. Technically, all of them could be potential sponsors for the event you're planning.
But it'll obviously be impossible for you to reach out to every single one to ask them to be event sponsors. Instead, you should come up with a list of ideal event sponsors and focus on targeting them when your goal is attracting sponsors for your business function.
To do this, you will need to:
- Identify who the target audience for your event will be
- Look for brands that might be interested in reaching this target audience
- Utilize online tools designed to help companies conduct successful searches for event sponsors
You might also want to sneak a peak at events that are similar to the one you're planning and see which companies sponsored them. You won't necessarily want to call on these same companies to see if they'd like to be event sponsors for you. But at the very least, you'll be able to see which kinds of companies would make the most sense to sponsor your event.
Put Together an Event Sponsorship Proposal
When you reach this point in your search for event sponsors, you may be tempted to start touching base with companies to ask them to sponsor your event. But before you do this, you'll need to create an event sponsorship proposal.
More often than not, this proposal should be a letter you can send out to possible promotional sponsors. But you're also welcome to get creative if you'd like. You may want to design an infographic as part of your sponsorship proposal or even shoot a video that companies can watch to see what your sponsorship opportunity is all about.
A strong event sponsorship proposal might be the difference between landing a lot of event sponsors and not landing hardly any at all. So you should devote a ton of time and energy to making your proposal absolutely perfect.
Figure Out Who to Approach to Sponsor Your Event
Once you have an event sponsorship proposal all ready to go, you'll almost be ready to begin sending it out to companies. But rather than just blindly sending your proposal to a generic email address for a company or dropping it in the mail with "To Whom It May Concern" at the top, do your homework and find out who you should approach about event sponsorships.
If you're going to be contacting a small business, you might want to address the owner of it directly. But if you'll be contacting a large corporation, there will likely be a specific department devoted to handling things like event sponsorships.
Your event sponsorship proposal might get lost in the shuffle if you don't direct it to the right person. Put in a little extra effort to figure out who this person is, and it could pay off in a big way.
Attempt to Arrange Meetings With Decision-Makers at Companies
A strong event sponsorship proposal can work wonders for your organization. It might make a company want to get on board and become an event sponsor right away.
But most companies will want to meet with you or at least speak with you over the phone or via Zoom about the sponsorship opportunity you've presented to them. Try to get these companies to commit to talking to you about becoming event sponsors so that you can sell them hard on the idea of doing it.
If you're able to convince companies to discuss an event sponsorship with you, here are a few things you'll want to talk about with the decision-makers from these businesses:
- Tell them about who you expect to attend your event
- Let them know how many people you expect to be at your event (include any ticket sale information, if possible!)
- Explain how companies have benefitted from becoming event sponsors in the past if you're holding a recurring event
- Give them an idea of where you'll be able to put their company names and logos as part of your sponsorship agreements
Your ultimate goal should be to make event sponsorship sound like an opportunity that will be too good for companies to pass up on.
Extend Different Packages to Potential Sponsors
There might be some potential event sponsors you meet with that wouldn't blink at the idea of paying $50,000 to sponsor your event. There may be others that might struggle to come up with $5,000 to sponsor your event.
For this reason, you should create different sponsorship packages that you can offer to possible event sponsors. Each package should feature different perks that a company will get if they choose to go with that particular option.
You might also want to consider letting event sponsors mix and match perks if they would like to do it. It'll give companies the freedom to make the most of sponsoring your event while sticking to a budget.
Thank Event Sponsors Early and Often
There is a pretty good chance you might not be in a position to hold your event in the first place if not for event sponsors. Because of this, you should have a natural appreciation for all the companies that agree to sponsor your event.
You should also get into the habit of thanking your event sponsors and even your potential event sponsors at every turn. Try to thank them for:
- Reading through your initial proposal
- Taking the time to meet with you
- Agreeing to become an event sponsor
You can thank them by sending a thank-you card in their direction. You can also do it by giving them a special shout-out during your event or putting up a thank-you post on social media.
A simple "thank you!" can go a long way. It might be enough to convince some event sponsors to come back again when you need sponsors for future events.
Keep in Touch With Event Sponsors
When a company agrees to serve as an event sponsor for a business function you're planning, it shouldn't just be a business transaction. It should be the start of a working relationship between your company and their company.
Ideally, you'll want to keep in touch with event sponsors as you move forward. It might put you in a position to bring them on board as event sponsors again.
But even if that doesn't happen, it's always important for your company to be networking with other businesses. You never know when you might be able to help them out or vice versa.
Get More Tips on Planning an Event
Convincing companies to serve as event sponsors for a business function is just one challenge you'll face when planning an event. There are also other things you'll need to do to make your event a smashing success.
You can secure more tips on planning events by attending The Event Planner Expo 2023 from October 10 through 12 in New York City. Get your tickets today!