Hosting an event is often expensive, and unless you are a really big business, most likely you won’t have the required budget to fund your own large-scale event.
This is why funding is often the biggest challenge of event planning and management.
Corporate sponsorship remains one of the most viable ways of funding your event, but getting a sponsor is often easier said than done. After all, the corporate sponsorship targets often receive so many sponsorship requests every day, so why should they choose to fund your event?
In this guide, we will discuss how to get corporate sponsorship for an event in just a few easy steps, and without further ado, let us begin with step one.
Step 1: Build Your Shortlist
An important aspect of winning more sponsors is to first identify the ideal ‘targets’. By finding the right potential sponsors with the highest chance of funding your event, you have already done half your job.
However, this can be easier said than done and is also often the biggest challenge for many businesses. Here are a few tips that might help you in this aspect:
- Identify and reach out to sponsors from events in your niche/industry or at least related to your niche. If they already know that their audience will align with yours and understood the value of event sponsorship, you’ll have an easier time pitching your event.
- Leverage technology. There are now various apps and platforms like SponsorMyEvent and SponsorPitch, among others, to help you find these target sponsors easier.
- Analyze your target audience, and reach out to companies they frequently interact with. This can also help you attract your target attendees.
Once you’ve got your list, narrow down your options to ensure a focused effort. You’d like to especially focus on brands that align well with the event’s brand image and objectives and share your values.
Step 2: Identify Your Valuable Offer
It’s important to embrace the fact that event sponsorship is, by nature, a give-and-take business: you want the sponsor’s money, but at the same time the sponsor would also like to get something from you.
Figuring out what you can offer to the sponsor, and communicating this offer well will be very important in winning your event more sponsors.
Be creative in figuring out what you can offer to the sponsor that is directly aligned to their business’s objectives and strategy, for example:
- If your event is a trade show or exhibition, you can offer a free booth for the sponsor
- The traditional approach of branding placements still works, for example, offering to place the sponsor’s logo on all promotional materials
- Provide freebies or discounts (i.e. ticket discount) for attendees who have purchased the sponsor’s product
- Encourage your attendees to like and share the sponsor’s content or follow the sponsor’s social media profile
The more (perceived) value you can offer, the more likely you will get these sponsors. If possible, use data to back up your claims, as we will discuss in the next step.
Step 3: Leverage Data
Again, your potential sponsors want to get more value from sponsoring your event, and they’ll treat sponsorship as a form of advertising their brand/product/service.
If you can provide accurate numbers that showcase how the event will be successful, the more likely you’ll attract and convert them.
This step is especially relevant if you’ve hosted previous events, and this is why documentation of past event performance is very important. Advanced event planning software can help you track what your attendees are doing while attending your event, and you can also set up surveys to collect more data.
You can share the following key information points in your proposal:
- Performance of event-specific ads (i.e. click-through rate)
- Demographics data of previous attendees
- Number of actual attendees compared to registrants
- Number of community members (attendees who keep returning to your events)
- Purchase conversion rate if you are selling products/services on the event
- The online and offline potential reach
Step 4: Personalize Your Proposal
Remember that you are the one seeking funding, so you should make your proposal about the sponsor, and not the other way around.
It’s actually okay to be direct and ask the target sponsors what they want in return, so you can personalize a sponsorship package suitable for this sponsor’s needs. For example, you can allow a sponsor to set up a customized workshop at your event.
If you are not sure, you can provide sponsors with multiple tiered options, for example:
- $10,000: the sponsor can place its logo on all your promotional materials, displaying the sponsor’s video advertising during the event, built-in promotion of the sponsor’s product during the main presentation.
- $5,000: two of the three offers under the above tier
- $2,000: only one incentive
Step 5: Timing Is Key
Most companies would only sponsor events at specific times of the year, and this window might be unique for different companies.
Thus, it’s very important to research your target sponsors and figure out how their event budget is formulated. Here are some tips:
- In general, you should avoid the holiday months (November-December, and July-August), for most businesses sales are likely at a low so they might not have the budget to sponsor any event.
- Start as early as possible especially if you are targeting larger companies.
- Check whether there have been recent changes to the company or the leadership that might be relevant for the sponsorship deal
- Check whether the potential sponsor has been involved in any recent events
- You might want to specifically target companies who are recently launching a new product or service
- Whether the sponsor is recently affected by major changes or trends.