Planning to run an event but don’t know how to fund it? A classic but still effective way to fund your event is to get corporate sponsorship.
A corporate sponsor for an event is, in a nutshell, an organization that supports an event. The support typically comes in the form of funding but can be in other forms like marketing support, media barter (in-kind sponsorships), and more.
Corporate sponsorship remains one of, if not the most popular way to fund an event, but securing these sponsorships can be easier said than done.
It’s crucial to remember that event sponsorship is a two-way deal: you, the event organizer, should also convince these potential sponsors how your event and your brand will provide value to them. This is often the biggest challenge in getting corporate sponsorship.
The current trends of virtual events, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, also create another challenge in securing sponsorships: it’s even more challenging to prove your value to sponsors in virtual events.
With that being said, we understood the challenge of securing corporate sponsorships for an event, and based on our ex here we will share some effective and actionable tips on how you should do it.
Let us begin with the first one.
- Understand and Effectively Communicate Your Value
The better you understand your event’s value and how to communicate this value will make or break your success of getting corporate sponsorships.
You should begin by knowing your event inside out: what type of event is it? What’s the objective of hosting this event? What’s the realistic expectation for this event?
Ultimately, what makes the event unique compared to competing events?
Knowing these values is one thing, but you should also learn how to effectively communicate these values to convince potential sponsors.
Anticipate your potential sponsor’s questions, and prepare the answers as best as you can, and decide how you are going to offer value. Your value offerings should be personalized based on the target sponsors, which we will discuss below.
- Identifying Ideal Corporate Sponsors
One of the most important keys in securing sponsorships is targeting the right sponsors in the first place.
If you are blindly targeting corporations that aren’t a good fit for your event, you are wasting your time and resources.
While the actual approach of choosing the right potential sponsors might vary depending on the event itself and other factors, here are some tips you can use:
- The basic principle is to choose corporations that share a similar target audience to your event. It doesn’t have to be a perfect match, but the audience profiles should at least align with some key demographics and psychographic factors.
- If you already understand your event’s potential attendees, you can target the brand your target audience loves. For example, brands your target audience frequently engages with on social media.
- Fairly obvious, you should target corporations that share similar values to your event. For example, if your event is centered on health and wellness, you shouldn’t target cigarette companies as your sponsors.
- It’s best to target corporates who have sponsored an event in the past, so they understand the value of sponsorships. This can lead to higher success rates and avoid potential disputes.
3. Research Target Corporate Sponsors
Now that you’ve identified your target sponsors, the next step is to gather as much information as you can before reaching out to them. The more information you have, the higher your success rates will be.
- Know their target market inside out (and especially identify whether their target audience will align well with your event)
- Check how their business is currently performing. If they are currently struggling financially, it might not be a good time and vice versa.
- Check whether they’ve recently sponsored an event. If it’s too recent, they might not have an available budget.
- Whether there have been any major changes in the organization like changes in leadership or management.
4. Design and Personalize Sponsorship Packages
As we’ve discussed above, the secret of securing sponsorships is how well you understand and communicate your values to potential sponsors.
Design and personalize your offers based on the information you’ve gathered about the target sponsors. Go beyond the standard offers like logo/brand name placements and social media mentions, and you can be creative with your offers.
Here are a few examples:
- Unique and experience-based giveaways tailored to the sponsor.
- Sponsored closed captioning for virtual events
- VR and interactive art installations
- Sponsored merchandise
- Sponsored entertainment, especially big-name talents
- Game stations, photo booths, and other similar offers
- Unique discounts and freebies for those who purchased the sponsor’s product/service before and during the event
5. Write an Effective Proposal
How well your event proposal is written will literally determine your success rate in securing corporate sponsorships.
It’s very important to find the right balance between being attractive and informative with your proposals: you should capture their attention as early as possible, but they should easily understand what your event is about and what values you are offering.
If possible, your proposal should be backed up with data. This is why documentation of past event performance is very important. Advanced event software can help you track and document useful data from your event.
If you’ve hosted similar events in the past, you should include it in your proposal while including the following information
- Attendance rate of past events
- Demographics and psychographics data from previous attendees
- Social media engagement metrics
- Gross revenue from promotions
- Conversion rate
- Performance of event-specific ads (i.e. click-through rate)
- The online and offline potential reach
And other applicable data.
As discussed, the key to securing corporate sponsorships is communicating the value of your event to potential sponsors. Understand your event thoroughly and its value, and learn how to effectively communicate these values to potential sponsors accordingly.