Looking for tips on effective ways to increase your event budget? Getting sponsors for your event is a simple way to boost your bottom line and make your event stand out! By offering unique sponsorship opportunities to local organizations that fit perfectly with your brand, you'll not only fund your events but also grow your sponsors' businesses and build stronger relationships with them. Eager to learn how? Check out our detailed guide on how to get sponsors for an event to help put yours on the map!
Hosting a successful event is a team effort, and sponsors can help you achieve that! Simply put, a sponsorship is a partnership between you (the event organizer) and a company or individual who provides funding and/or resources, usually in exchange for visibility and other promotional opportunities at your event.
For one, sponsorship deals will give you a nice influx of cash to increase your budget and supplement your other revenue streams (like ticket sales and merchandise). Sponsors can also help you reach a wider audience by promoting your event on their social media or doing a ticket giveaway with their customers. Find creative ways to incorporate them into your different marketing strategies so you'll get more people to come to your event!
Finding the perfect candidates is the essential first step to successfully getting sponsors for your event. Here are some tried and true steps to help you in your research:
Your sponsors will want to ensure their target audience aligns with yours. In this initial stage, collecting data on your current audience will help you determine the ideal size and types of the businesses to partner with for your events. To determine this, use answers from your registration questions at checkout to learn more about your ticket buyers. This could include a breakdown of your audience's age, gender, location, and general interests. The more data you have, the better!
Put together a sponsorship deck or document to highlight your attendee demographics as well as your various offerings (we'll get to this in a moment). Be sure to include your event's expected attendance and your average traffic to your social media, website, and newsletters. Thanks to these hard numbers, you'll present a more compelling pitch to your potential sponsors by showing how much exposure they'll receive and how many new leads they could gain by partnering with you.
Think about what kinds of companies would want to connect with your audience. If you have a niche audience, look for companies that match those interests (like an indie artist partnering with a local radio station for their concert). If you have a larger audience with a wide range of interests, focus on organizations that are looking for brand awareness and want to promote heavily. Local businesses like restaurants and utility companies can be a great fit here. As a rule of thumb, smaller events are the perfect outlet for small business partnerships, while larger events may be better suited for corporate sponsors.
Increase your odds of getting sponsorships by starting with the people on your list who you already know. An established relationship can go a long way towards getting a yes. If you get a no, that's alright! Use it as an opportunity to get feedback on how you can be more appealing to sponsors, increasing your success with future pitches.
Research organizations that are popular locally and actively promoting themselves. You could also investigate who tends to sponsor other events in your area, or even visit their vendor booths yourself at other local events like festivals, fairs, or conventions. That way, you can network with potential sponsors in person, so when you reach out to them later, they'll remember your conversation!
Don't underestimate the power of a simple Google search! By doing so, you can easily target organizations that align with your mission. You can see what events they might already be sponsoring and who to contact about sponsoring yours. Plus, you may come across partnership suggestions that you might not have come up with yourself.
Want to know how to get sponsors for an event? It's no secret – offer irresistible sponsorship packages! For example, if you're hosting a beverage festival, giving a local brewery the chance to show off their latest brew is a match made in heaven. By showing prospects that you've done your homework and already have effective sponsorship ideas lined up, you'll gain their confidence and land some awesome deals!
Think about your event's unique experiences and how you can incorporate potential sponsors into them in a natural way. Consider giving them a booth onsite to interact with attendees, collect their contact info, and turn them into future customers. Use their company's name and logo across your event's signage and promotional materials to increase brand visibility. You could also use their logo on merchandise, drinking cups, handheld fans, or even a photo booth with the sponsor's name printed out on the photo.
Consider what your attendees may really want too! Branded art installations, sponsored cooling stations on a hot summer day, or a meal provided by your sponsor are sure hits, leaving attendees with a positive impression of your sponsor's brand.
With tiered sponsorships, your sponsor can determine what price suits them and, in exchange, how much their brand is used throughout the event. A lower tier might offer brand placements in your newsletters and promotional materials or a shoutout on social media. With higher tiers comes greater visibility, like sponsoring a happy hour or your performance lineup, and potentially even a title sponsorship, if they want to go all out for your event!
While sponsorships typically involve money, they might offer other resources or perks instead in exchange for exposure at your event. If you're in need of a caterer, consider finding a local food truck to feed your attendees in exchange for free event promotion. Work with a local radio station to help spread word about your event in exchange for a booth at your venue. The recipe for the perfect sponsorship is one that lets you use each others' strengths and meet each other's needs.
Now that you know how to find sponsors for an event as amazing as yours, how do you convince them to partner with you? One of the trickiest parts of landing sponsorships is figuring out the best way to approach potential partners. An email is a great way to start the conversation, but you'll need to go the extra mile to make sure yours is at the top of their inbox (especially because business owners and other decision makers often get tons of requests and pitches). Here are some questions to consider so you can cut through the noise and get the response you're looking for:
Who? – At large companies, it's often the marketing team who makes the decisions about sponsorships, so contact them directly. In the case of smaller businesses, you'll want to reach out to the owner or general manager.
What? – Give a brief description of your event (including the planned date and location) and its goals.
Why? – This is the most important part of your email. Tell them why they should sponsor your event. This initial email is not the place to focus on yourself or a specific dollar amount, but rather what your prospective sponsor will be getting out of the partnership. Be as specific as possible about what you can deliver.
How? – Show the organization that you've chosen them for a reason and that you have a solid understanding of what they do. Give them a taste of the ideas you have in mind for this partnership and they'll see that you've put some thought into your decision to reach out to them.
Keep your letter short and sweet, including only the most important details. That way, you'll have more luck in getting sponsors for your event to read your entire email. Also, consider your audience when determining the tone of your email. You want to be polite and friendly, but there's no need to be overly formal — especially if you're reaching out to someone you already know.
You emailed everyone on your list and all that hard work paid off — you got a response! Now it's time to grow that relationship. If possible, try to meet with them face-to-face, ideally in person or through a video call. To help ensure this meeting is a success, prepare the pitch for your sponsorship proposal as well as your answers to anticipated questions about it. This might include pricing options, event logistics about where their logo and name will be seen, or how the sponsor will benefit from working with your event. Having an event day checklist can make this discussion easier as well. To help, here are the top questions your sponsors will want answered:
The total cost of sponsoring your event is important, but sponsors are more interested in how much they are paying per attendee. The more aligned your attendees are with their target demographic, the more potential sponsors will be willing to spend.
To make the most out of this partnership, sponsors need to spend more than just the check they write to your event. When sponsors spend money on independently promoting and marketing sponsorships, that's called sponsorship activation. This includes finding PR opportunities before the event, giving out swag, displaying banners at the event, and building a booth. Showing that you're aware of these activation costs is reassuring to sponsors.
One of a business owner's priorities is to uphold their company's values and ensure their partners do the same. This sponsorship proposal is your chance to demonstrate how your organization's unique story aligns with those values and how your audience matches their target market.
If a company sponsors your event, consider offering some added bonuses in return for helping you. For example, you could give away free tickets or backstage passes to meet your performers or celebrity guests. They could pass these perks onto their VIP clients too, extending the effectiveness of their sponsorship.
Once you've scored your sponsorships (congrats!) and your event has come and gone, sponsors will be thinking about how beneficial their partnership with you was, and whether they'd like to invest more in the future. Did you give them what you promised? Did they gain contacts of potential new customers thanks to your event? Did you follow up with them right after the event?
As the event organizer, it's your responsibility to ensure your sponsors will be taken care of well after your big day is over. Keep in touch with them to show you appreciate their business and in case they'd like to support your other events in the future. As part of your post-event strategy, send them an occasional email during your event's off-season (like around the holidays) to keep you in the back of their minds. This'll make reaching back out to them for another sponsorship easier. With these established relationships, you'll know exactly how to find sponsors for an event in the future!
Receive exclusive insider tips on how to: