Money is a big factor when it comes to organising an event. You know that, we know that, and companies know that—that’s why they jump on the opportunity to sponsor events!
In this article, we’ll cover…
- The basic questions to ask yourself before approaching a sponsor
- How to research potential event sponsors
- How to approach them once you’ve got a shortlist
- The basic elements and structure of an event sponsorship proposal
Ready to get that money? Let’s do it!
Define your event brand and goals
Before you can write up an event sponsorship proposal (or event contact potential sponsors in the first place), you need to have a clear definition of you, your event, and your goals.
Not only will this help you narrow down your shortlist of potential sponsors, but it will also help them understand what you can offer in return for their sponsorship.
Below are a few key questions you can ask yourself in order to help define your brand and your goals. That will help put event sponsors at ease when you send your proposal.
1. Event brand
What kind of event are you organising? What are your objectives, your values, and your business philosophy? Have a clear definition of your personal brand as an event organiser.
2. Target audience
Who do your events cater to? Are they professional suits who like networking events and conferences? Or are they totally rad rockstar-wannabes who play air guitar at festivals?
3. Professional background
What’s your professional background? Do you have a track record of putting on successful events in the past? Have you worked in a field that has given you transferable skills?
4. Unique selling points
What sets you apart from every other event organiser that wants someone to pour money into their project? Do you have some unique selling points that make you, well, unique?
5. Partnership benefits
What do people usually get out of partnering up with you? Do they get more sales? Does their staff feel inspired? Will companies look good being mentioned side-by-side with your name?
How do you research potential event sponsors?
Once you have a clear definition of your brand, target audience, and unique selling points, you’re in a position to start researching and approaching potential sponsors.
Here are some ways you can research event sponsors:
- Find companies that have sponsored similar events. (They are likely to sponsor again.)
- Make a list of competitors to those companies. (They don’t want to be left out.)
- Ask past attendees which brands they use. (Those brands want to reach your audience.)
- Research your target audience to discover their likes. (The brands they use will be good candidates to approach.)
- Use Sponsor My Event to find companies that are ready and willing to sponsor events.
How do you approach potential event sponsors?
You should now have a list of potential sponsors that you can approach. But wait, how can you approach them without an event sponsorship proposal?
Hold your horses.
What you’re about to do is essentially make sales calls and send sales emails. No one likes that. (Until they buy, at which point they love you.) But you’re not there yet.
First, you have to find out who the right person to speak to is. The “right person” is the one who holds the purse strings, and they’re notoriously difficult to get hold of.
It will take you some time to go through various online articles and LinkedIn profiles, as well as call and email gatekeepers and colleagues before you get to that person.
Fortunately, we’ve put together an excellent guide on how to do just that. (Open that link in another tab and get back here to find out how to write your proposal.)
How to write your event sponsorship proposal
Now we’re about to get to the nitty-gritty. A sponsorship proposal, also called a “pitch deck,” is a written sales presentation. As such, there are no hard and fast rules on how to write it.
It just has to sell your event.
Once you’ve got past the gatekeeper and reached the right person in the company, they’ve either asked you to send over a proposal or set up a meeting with you.
If you’ve been asked to send over a proposal in advance, then a simple Word document or PDF will do.
If you’ve been asked to meet them in person, you should prepare a PowerPoint.
Let’s get into how you write an event sponsorship proposal.
1. Describe the event in a nutshell
The event is the meat of the delicious meal you’ll serve potential sponsors as you court them for investment.
Make sure that this first part includes all relevant details that could interest the sponsors:
- Event name
- Date and time
- Speakers and entertainers
- Catering and suppliers
- Venue and location
- What makes your event special (i.e. the USPs)
Your potential sponsors might also be interested in the history or background of the event (if you’ve put on a similar event before).
Finally, they’ll be interested in why you do what you do. What is the purpose of the event, and what is your mission as an event organiser?
2. Present your target audience
The type of event you organise will give an indication as to who it’s aimed at. The second section of your proposal is where you can flesh out exactly who your target audience is.
Here are some of the details you should include (the more, the better):
- Age range
- Income level
- Technical knowledge
Since the visual element of your sponsorship proposal will also play a role in how it’s received, you should consider putting together an infographic for your target audience.
Tip: Read our guide on how to identify your target audience so you know exactly what to include.
3. Demonstrate your track record
Remember when we discussed your professional track record earlier? Now’s the time to show off what you’ve accomplished and the results you’ve produced in the past.
It’s all well and good that you have an excellent idea for an event. It’s also great that your target audience overlaps with theirs. But why should they trust you with their money?
Your professional track record demonstrates that you know what you’re doing. If you want people to invest in your event, you need to demonstrate an appropriate level of credibility.
Tip: Have a look at how to create an event planner resume so you can nail your track record.
4. Outline your process
You’ve explained the concept of the event, who it’s aimed at, and why you’re the best person to organise it. You’ve done the telling part, and now you need to show.
Outline exactly how you will execute your plan step by step. That will allow your sponsors to see if you actually know what you’re talking about and whether you’re being realistic.
Imagine you’re writing a business plan that you want to use to apply for a loan at the bank. It’s the same principle whether you’re asking the bank for money or trying to get sponsorships.
Finally, the timeline should also include your marketing efforts. This lets the sponsors see how much exposure to the much-coveted target audience you will give them as part of the deal.
Tip: Use this guide to event planning timelines as a framework for your own timeline.
5. Suggest some sponsorship packages
Once you’ve made a compelling case for your event, the target audience, and your track record, it’s time to show your potential sponsors how they can get in on the action.
You should put together sponsorship packages that will help expose their brand and bring them more business.
Your packages could include things like (click each option to see an example):
Tip: Read our guide on event sponsorship ideas to find some inspiration for your proposal.
Event sponsorship proposal template
If you’re overwhelmed by all the information you need to include in your event sponsorship proposal, don’t worry: There is no need to reinvent the wheel.
There are a number of ready-made—and, more importantly, free—event sponsorship proposal templates that you can use and tweak to suit your event.
Ready to court investors?
Congratulations, you’re on your way to securing funds for your next event. Remember to customise each proposal. Everyone likes a personal touch.
Have any experience with sending out sponsorship proposals? Share them with us in the comments below!