Getting sponsorship for your event is a great way to raise your profile and get some much needed extra funding. It can be difficult to know how to secure deals however so courtesy of eHow, here is a quick and smart guide to getting sponsorship for your event.
Types of Sponsorship
Event sponsorship can take many different forms. The most traditional is cash sponsorship, in which “sponsors provide funding to market their name via various forms of signage, typically alongside product/service distribution,” said Erin Calhoun-Delaney, a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur. Other popular types include product donation (for gift bags) and event location sponsorship (in which a venue is provided gratis in exchange for affiliation).
Start with a targeted outreach plan. Event consultant Char Glatley creates a solicitation spreadsheet that serves as a working list of potential sponsors. On the list are current vendors, past sponsors and existing/past connections to be tapped. “I begin with the board and staff members’ affiliations — companies, schools, where they volunteer, etc.,” said Glatley, who owns Cleveland-based company The FUND-amentals.
One surefire way to get an event sponsor is to promote the list of boldface names scheduled to take part. (Yes, it’s OK to name-drop!) “You can effectively demonstrate the benefit to potential sponsors by showcasing the influential people who will be in attendance,” Calhoun-Delaney said. “Whether those influencers are teens or celebrities, word-of-mouth marketing remains the most successful platform for advertising and marketing investments.”
Present an organised front to potential sponsors and allow ample lead time for response. When approaching sponsors for awards shows and celebrity retreats, Calhoun-Delaney prepares a presentation that demonstrates how affiliation with the event can boost their visibility. Having a clear and well-prepared message is also of utmost importance: “Knowing what to say over the phone or in person is the best way to close the deal,” she said.
Establish various giving levels to make sponsorship more accessible. In this model, top-level sponsors get maximum perks and promotion, while low-level sponsors might get a program mention or free event tickets. By offering packages at different price points, you can attract more sponsors.
It’s important to solidify the event budget early. “Once the projected budget is created, it guides me to create the sponsorship levels and how many I need to solicit to reach the net goal,” said Glatley. “If an event budget is managed properly, the ticket price more than covers the expenses of the event, leaving the sponsorships untouched and donated in full.”
Get innovative by brainstorming out-of-the-box ways to showcase your sponsors. When Calhoun-Delaney secured Houman/LUZ as an event sponsor, she sought a memorable way for the company to leave an impression on the guests who attended. “We had two models painted in black latex walking around the party wearing LUZ jewelry, interacting with guests, and bringing to life the existing marketing images of the brand,” recalled Calhoun-Delaney.
Seal the deal with proper thank-yous and follow up. If your event is an annual one, the gesture will set the stage for repeat sponsorship, and even if not, the move will reassure sponsors that their investment was a smart one. Along with thanking your sponsors, include post-event data and reporting that will show your sponsors how your event successfully met their objectives.
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