As those in the world of business are well-aware, you must know how to get sponsors for an event you are hosting if you want to keep event revenues stable. Marketing specialists are especially savvy to the importance of attracting and maintaining quality sponsorships. These sponsorships account for more than half of an event manager’s income, so it is critical to master the art of getting sponsors.
General Information About Getting Sponsors
Acquiring reliable sponsors for your events requires having the right systems in place to give your sponsors what they need. This includes customizing your packages, matching sponsor services with their business, and maintaining a high level of professional follow-through.
If you need a simple place to start, the following guide will give you ten simple steps on how to get sponsors for an event. This guide includes steps for finding, attracting, and maintaining long-lasting sponsors who will want to work with you for years to come.
Steps to Get Sponsors for An Event
1. Develop a Unique Pitch
Selling sponsorships is a lot like selling other products and services. When trying to figure out how to get sponsors for an event, you first need to create a “Unique Selling Proposition,” or USP. A good USP is limited to just a few, concise sentences and includes:
- The cause and mission of your event.
- The value of what you are offering to sponsors.
- What makes your event different and a better way for sponsors to spend their money.
- Who the target audience of your event is.
- How your relationship with the sponsor is mutually beneficial.
2. Make Sure You Have Clean Branding for Your Event
When sponsors hear about your event, they are undoubtedly going to look you up. When they do so, they should immediately find a clean, consistent brand image throughout your website and linked content. This is one of the less known methods for how to get sponsors for an event.
Think about the things you would want to see on a website for a service you were considering: consistent contact information, physical address, positive and inclusive messaging, and ease of contact for interested parties. You may consider hiring someone skilled and experienced with marketing websites to clean up your content if it has been a while since a webmaster has graced your pages.
3. Identify What You Can Offer Potential Sponsors
Knowing exactly what a sponsorship includes is a simple but effective strategy when deciding how to get sponsors for an event. Before you actually start contacting people, you need to know exactly what you are able to offer them. Some things you may want to consider are:
- Direct access to special audiences.
- Opportunities for public speaking or keynote addresses.
- Visual placement of logos and signage.
- Web marketing (social media, email, website updates).
- Complimentary/special passes to future events.
You can also create leveled sponsorships that offer different benefits to sponsors. Many event organizers will also hold out on mentioning one or two perks for sponsors that they were going to give out regardless and offer it one or two weeks prior to the event taking place.
4. Start with People You Know
The best place to start for many event managers when deliberating over how to get sponsors for an event is within their pre-existing network. Your first step should be to give your personal network the first opportunity to sponsor your event before branching out.
Invite those in your circle to extend the invitation to people in their extended networks and see how much interest you can accumulate. You will simultaneously add to your own list of contacts in the process.
5. Make the First Move Online
While most assume that calling potential sponsors on the phone is a better way to attract interest, many sponsors in today’s market prefer to be contacted via email or even social media first. This gives them time to consider what you are offering and research your event before making a commitment.
This avoids a jerk-reaction of “thanks, but no thanks,” because you caught the sponsor on their way to an important meeting. Give the sponsor time to consider your event on their own, sending follow ups periodically to remind them.
7. Stay to the Point
When making that initial contact via email or social media platform, make sure you aren’t wasting the sponsor’s time with a lot of unnecessary information. Pitch your USP in the opening statement and follow the next steps for reserving a sponsor slot. When you get an initial response revealing their interest, ask as few questions as possible to avoid overwhelming busy business owners.
8. Follow Up and Follow Through
We all can relate to needing gentle reminders here and there. Sponsors may not respond to your initial email when they intended to. Therefore, a follow-up email is always recommended for those who did not respond. They will usually let you know one way or another, especially if you are starting with your personal network first.
9. Design Custom Sponsorship Packages
Make sure that the sponsorships you offer are customizable to meet the needs of your sponsors. This is one of the most important steps in how to get sponsors for an event. Spend a little time getting to know them and what they need out of a sponsorship. This will help develop a lasting business relationship that will support future events.
Once you decide on what your sponsorship will entail for a partner, make sure you put everything down in writing and share that document mutually. This will prevent confusion and discontent down the line.
10. Go Above and Beyond
Following through on every promise made to a sponsor is non-negotiable. Failing to deliver not only loses sponsors, but it can lead to nasty legal battles. Making each sponsor feel like you are willing to go above and beyond for them is a good way to prevent any disgruntlement.
Offering last minute surprise perks, support with set up and break down before and after an event, and following up with a VIP pass to a future event are all potential ways to over deliver without compromising value.
After your event is over, you will want to keep the relationships you have formed. This included automatically providing invitations to future events. Event marketers know the value of keeping sponsors informed via email updates and social media posts.
Being flexible and consistent is key. This will keep them engaged and interested in future events, taking the guesswork and long term planning out of how to get sponsors for an event.