What’s not to love about event sponsorships? They provide the support that keeps your events afloat (translation: that sweet, sweet cash).
But getting event sponsorships isn’t always easy. If you want to attract sponsors for your next event, you need to do your homework and start perfecting the art of the ask.
How do you do it? We’ll help you get started with these tips on how to make your request stand out so you can get event sponsors in a competitive market.
Develop pitch-perfect pricing tiers.
Sponsorships are usually tiered, meaning organizations can choose from varying levels of support for your event. For example, a Platinum sponsorship might cost $5,000 and come with perks like the sponsor’s logo featured throughout your event décor. A Bronze sponsorship might cost $500 and come with a small mention in your event program.
Do your research to see what other events in your industry are charging for sponsorship tiers. This insight will help you determine how high you should reach with your own sponsorships. Your tiers should be priced appropriately and competitively for your industry.
Create an easy-to-read sponsor deck.
If someone sent you an off-the-cuff email asking for money, you’d probably hit “delete” and move on with your day. So imagine yourself as a corporate employee who receives tons of sponsorship requests—you don’t want to approach them too casually or make your request sound like a slimy money grab. Show that you’re a pro and that your event is worth sponsoring by creating a sponsor deck.
A deck includes key details about your event and helps prospective sponsors decide if they want to get on board. At a minimum, your deck should highlight:
- Audience demographics at your event. Is this an audience your prospective sponsor wants to reach?
- Sponsorship incentives. What will companies gain by supporting your event?
- A pricing breakdown. What sponsor tiers are available, and what does each tier cost?
Investing a little bit of money in your deck is always a good idea. By creating a clean, professional sponsor deck, corporations will feel more comfortable supporting your event.
Ask the right person.
This is where you’ll need to do some detective work. It’s not always easy to find the right person to contact about event sponsorships.
To start, consider the nature of your organization. Are you a non-profit or a for-profit business? This is an important distinction: Your event objectives can help point you in the direction of the right contact.
For example, let’s say you work at the local United Way and you’re organizing a fundraiser. You’re hoping to attract a sponsorship from Big Corporation. Who do you contact? Your best bet is likely someone who works in the development or community outreach department. These employees are often responsible for working with local nonprofits and handling philanthropic efforts.
Now, let’s say you run a marketing agency, and you’re hosting a conference on digital advertising. You’re hoping to attract a sponsorship from the same Big Corporation as the United Way. But since you’re a for-profit company, you don’t want to contact the people who handle philanthropic efforts. Instead, look for a contact in the marketing or brand department. These employees are often the gatekeepers who decide when to partner with businesses in the community.
Remember, these are just general tips. The right contact will vary widely from company to company. When in doubt, LinkedIn is your friend—search for employees using specific title or department keywords to find a starting point.
Make it as easy as possible to support your event.
Be clear, concise, and straightforward when you reach out to sponsors. And resist the urge to send a mass email! Tailor each message to the person you’re contacting—nobody likes to feel like an anonymous name on BCC.
Write a paragraph explaining who you are, what your event entails, and why you think the company would be a great partner for your event. Don’t forget to attach your sponsor deck and gently mention deadlines or time constraints on your request. A simple, polite note like, “I’m aiming to confirm sponsors by [DATE]” will suffice.
To make it as easy as possible for sponsors to get on board, create a Google Form where sponsors can easily respond with a yes or no.
Follow up (but not in an annoying way).
The people in charge of corporate sponsorships are constantly bombarded with emails and requests. Yours might get lost in the shuffle, so plan to send one or two follow-ups if you don’t hear back within a week or so.
Always be courteous and respectful in your follow-ups. If the answer to your request is “no,” don’t take it personally. There are lots of factors that go into deciding which events to sponsor, from budget constraints to considerations about whether certain events align with a corporation’s goals. Maybe your event wasn’t a fit this time, but you can always try again with a request for your next event.
Looking for more pointers on how to plan the perfect event? Check out The Only Event Management Checklist You Need to make sure you’re on track.