It’s easy to plan events when money isn’t a problem. But in reality, the budget is always a major factor in event planning.
We’ve put together a quick guide to help you understand how to get sponsors for an event. It’ll help you with the research and communication aspects of acquiring funding.
In it, we’ll go through…
- Why companies sponsor events
- How to find sponsors for your event
- How to pitch them your event
- The different kinds of event sponsorships
After reading this, you’ll know exactly how to get sponsors for an event.
Why companies sponsor events
It’s important to understand why companies sponsor events. That way, you’ll know how to sell the event to them so they get on board.
Sponsors will typically sponsor an event for one of the following reasons:
- Marketing and brand awareness
- Reaching new audiences
- Lead generation and business development
- Corporate social responsibility
Regardless of their reason for sponsoring your event, they’ll want a measurable return on their investment. It’s up to you to show them how they will benefit from sponsoring your event.
How to find sponsors for your event
The potential sponsors you should approach will depend on your event and your audience. It needs to be a good match between all three for it to work.
Most importantly, you need to offer the sponsors something unique. Below are some of the steps you should take to secure an event sponsor.
1. Research potential event sponsors
It’ll make all subsequent steps easier if you research potential sponsors thoroughly. Start with companies within your niche, and see if they already sponsor events.
You can also reverse engineer it. Look up events similar to yours and see which companies sponsored them. They’re likely to sponsor future events of the same kind.
Tip: SponsorMyEvent is a great resource for finding potential event sponsors.
2. Create an event sponsorship proposal
Once you’ve shortlisted the potential sponsors, it’s time to create a solid proposal. Your sponsorship proposal should be tailored to each individual company.
Your proposal should include the following:
- Who you are and why you’re credible
- What the event is about
- What kind of audience it will attract
- Prominent speakers and sponsors
- What the company will get out of sponsoring
- Key figures (number of attendees, social media stats, etc.)
Your proposal should not be the first thing you throw at potential sponsors. You’ll want to warm them up first.
Tip: Use this free sponsorship proposal template from PandaDoc to get started.
3. Find out who to speak to
Once you’ve got a solid proposal together, it’s time to approach the potential sponsor.
It’s standard practice to send an email…but companies are inundated with emails. So how do you make sure your email isn’t lost in the pile?
First of all, avoid “info@” email addresses like the plague. It’s the place where all sales emails go to die.
Secondly, never call up the company and ask for the marketing department. You’ll be labelled a novice telemarketer and directed to the “info@” email address.
Instead, scour LinkedIn and see if you can suss out who deals with event sponsorships. It’ll typically be someone from the marketing department.
Jot down some promising names and get on the phone.
Ask to speak to one of the names on the list, and ask for an email address if they’re not in. Don’t bother leaving a voicemail, because it rarely works.
Most companies avoid having personal emails on their website to avoid spam. Marketing people, however, will often be interviewed by online media outlets and have their emails featured on their websites.
Alternatively, you can try to guess the right email address. Sometimes, it’s as easy as firstname.lastname@example.org. Other times it’ll be their initials.
4. Compose an opening email
At this point, you might still not be 100% sure who the right person it. That’s why you’ll compose a simple opening email:
“Hi [name of the person you’re emailing], hope this finds you well. I’m looking for the person who deals with event sponsorship and was hoping you could point me in the right direction? Kind regards, you.”
Send this out to all the people on your list. Chances are, one of them will tell you who to email.
Tip #1: Remember to replace “[name of the person you’re emailing]” in your email with the actual name of the person.
Tip #2: Make sure you understand GDPR compliance rules before sending cold emails.
5. Write the actual email
Now that you know who to approach, you’re already head and shoulders above other salespeople.
You still need to write a compelling subject line. But the chance of your email being opened is significantly higher.
You’ve got their first name, so open your pitch with that. Don’t be afraid to name-drop the colleague who referred you to them.
Keep it short and sweet. It shows that you respect their time.
Highlight why you’re contacting them specifically, and what they’ll get out of engaging with you. Then attach your event sponsorship proposal.
6. Follow up
It’s likely that you won’t hear back immediately. That’s fine, the person is probably busy. Give it a week and then follow up.
How you follow up is a matter of taste. A second email will do, but often a quick call can be more effective.
You don’t have to take more than a minute of their time. Simply say:
“Hi, hope you’re well. I sent an email last week and wondered if you’d had time to read it. Thanks, bye.”
That’s it. Don’t be a nuisance.
If they don’t get back to you within a reasonable time frame, move on to the next potential sponsor. Rinse and repeat.
The different kinds of event sponsorship
An even sponsorship is not always just a lump sum of money. A company can sponsor your event in other different ways.
1. Financial sponsorship
Financial sponsorship is the most common type of event sponsorship. The company will typically get a logo placement on your event website and at the event itself.
2. Product or service sponsorship
Rather than paying you cash, a company can offer to provide products or services. These can include drinks, food, or even the event venue itself.
3. Media sponsorship
Media advertising can be expensive, which is why media sponsorship is valuable. The company can offer to pay for it in exchange for being mentioned in connection with the event.
4. Influencer sponsorship
Influencer sponsorship is similar to media sponsorship. In this case, however, the sponsor is the media rather than someone paying for it. Influencers include bloggers, celebrities, or social media personalities.
It’s up to you…
There is a lot more to event sponsorship, but you now understand the basics. Do proper research, put together a value proposition, and pitch it to the right person.
Note that it won’t work every time. It’s a numbers game. There are many factors that influence whether or not a company can or will sponsor your event.
But stick to these steps and you’ve already increased your chances of securing sponsors manyfold.