In a world where the expense to run a conference or event seems to be always increasing, event sponsorship often impacts whether an event will generate revenue or even whether an event can be hosted at all. Even if you could find a way to manage without event sponsors, the quality and affordability of your event shoot up when sponsors come on board.
The trouble is, sponsors are overwhelmed by proposals and are careful to spend their sponsorship dollars wisely.
The question then becomes, what will set your organization apart?
Behold the ABCs of conference and event sponsorship….
Put Sponsorship on the Agenda
Organize a meeting with your planning team, Executive Director or Board of Directors which exclusively focuses on sponsorship and revenue generation. During this key brainstorming session, discuss everything that your organization can offer potential sponsors and exhibitors. Establishing what sets you apart will help you strategize the best way to “pitch” to sponsors. Be sure to demonstrate how sponsoring your event will help the sponsor see a return on their investment.
List Your Targets
Brainstorm a list of potential sponsors and think about all the companies and organizations that may benefit from an alliance with you. The higher the number of organizations that receive your sponsorship pitch, the greater the possibility that you will actually secure sponsors. That being said, sometimes when you target everyone you target no one. Make sure that your pitch is relevant to each and every sponsorship prospect you reach out to.
It’s All About Choice
When companies are approached by associations and organizations seeking sponsorship, they like to have options. Some companies that you approach will have greater budgets than others. Offering different packages at different price points allows companies to find the right fit for them. The greater the sponsorship, the greater the exposure that brand will have leading up to and during your conference or event. You may consider offering gold, silver and bronze sponsorship packages as well as a title or event sponsor premium package. Just make sure that the cost of the packages is appropriate for the value being offered to your target sponsors.
When it comes to methods of revenue generation, the sky is the limit so get your thinking caps on. Remember, sponsors are looking to maximize exposure both leading up to your conference, at your conference and even after your event has concluded. Some more tech savvy or tech-adventurous organizations are exploring how to effectively utilize mobile apps for events to widen brand exposure opportunities that excite prospective sponsors (and also keep participants engaged!).
Make A Strong Impression
You only have one shot to make a strong first impression so make sure that your sponsorship proposal package is engaging, polished and professional. It should also summarize who you are and clearly demonstrate why it’s in the sponsors best interest to jump on board. You will need to include visuals and hire a graphic designer to give your proposal a professional look. Whatever you do, make sure that your proposal presents your package options clearly. They should also communicate any deadlines for sponsorship as well as incentives for securing their sponsorship position early. Once you’ve reached out to potential sponsors, don’t be shy to follow up with a phone call or email. That personal touch can often make all the difference.
Create A Partnership
Once you have secured a sponsor, it is time to work with them to create and maintain a partnership. Send a thank-you letter welcoming them and introduce them to their point of contact on your team. Shortly after this their point of contact should phone them and walk them through the terms of their agreement. Discuss ways to develop their sponsorship material to align with their marketing objectives, mission and vision as well as ways that you can increase their visibility and effectiveness on the floor. And be sure to discuss all deadlines for materials.
Maximize their Exposure
On site, ensure that sponsors are met upon arrival and that all of their marketing materials are in place. Then introduce them to a member of your board of directors or a leader in your organization who can network with them, introduce them to your participants (and potential buyers) and make certain that they receive the attention they deserve. You need to ensure that they have such great exposure that they will be asking you to sponsor next year! And of course, a post-event discussion with them will provide you valuable feedback. It is never too early to start planning your sponsorship program for next year!
Contact SGP Conferences and Events Ltd. for support in the process of finding the right event and conference sponsors. Our team understands that relationships with sponsors need to be strategically developed and carefully nurtured. We have extensive experience helping our clients secure sponsorships that result in greater ROI for all parties involved, and that make events more financially accessible to target participants.