Hosting an event can be a great idea for so many reasons; raising money for charity, getting your company name out there and the launch of a new service are just a few examples. While to begin with, a sense of excitement and potential return tend to take over, it soon becomes apparent that any event, no matter the size, needs a certain level of funding.
Most companies are unable to do this alone and need the help of sponsors to cover various expenses and help promote the event in question. Whether you’re in need of small donations, from table centrepieces to raffle prizes, or slightly larger requests, ranging from money to hire the venue or food catering, sponsors will ultimately play a huge part in whether your event is a success or not. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of bagging the perfect sponsors. We’ll take you through how to find event sponsors that will perfectly complement your event.
- 1. Research Prospective Companies
- 2. Craft A Professional Image
- 3. Make It Personal
- 4. Offer Incentives
- 5. Customise Packages Accordingly
- 6. Always Follow Up
How To Find Event Sponsors
It’s important to carefully consider your approach before contacting prospective sponsors, as if your request for help appears unprofessional or lacks information, you will immediately put people off. By following these 7 simple steps, you’ll be able to form a concise request for sponsorship, enticing organisations rather than pushing them away. With the correct sponsorship, your event will get off to a flying start and be filled with attendees genuinely interested in your cause.
1. Research Prospective Companies
When researching organisations to approach, it’s a good idea to spend the time pinpointing the right people, which will ultimately save you time in the long run. We’d strongly discourage contacting everyone and anyone, as it’ll just be time wasted if their interests do not align with your own or the event in question. Start by clearly identifying the purpose of your event along with the audience and attendees you hope to attract. In doing this, you’ll be able to determine the kinds of companies that align with your goals and are wanting to attract a similar audience. If a company thinks that they will also benefit from being one of your sponsors, they will be more likely to be interested and agree to help. Things to think about include:
- What industry are you in?
- What are your brand values?
- What is the purpose of the event and your mission?
- What is the demographic of the audience you are hoping to attract?
In using a targeted approach and by contacting companies that are in the same industry as yourself, the whole process will have more chance of success. For example, if your company and event revolve around food, contacting food and beverage based companies and publications will more likely return fruitful results!
Once you have done the above, try and whittle down your list to companies that have previously sponsored events and are open to the idea. At the very least, try and contact these organisations first to save time. If you are still struggling to find the right companies to contact, why not upload the details of your event onto websites such as Sponsor My Event and Sponsor Seeker – this enables genuinely interest sponsors to reach out and communicate with you.
2. Craft A Professional Image
Once you have your list and are ready to go, don’t go in all guns blazing! Make sure that you have the correct things in place first to present your company and event in the best way possible. There are a few things you need to check before pressing send on those initial emails, including:
- Your website – This will most likely be the first thing that potential sponsors will go to once your email has landed in their inbox. If your website doesn’t look professional, this isn’t going to give you the best start. You’re more likely to be taken seriously if your website portrays your brand image clearly and professionally. After all, potential partners will only want to align their company with businesses that have a certain level of professionalism.
- Marketing materials – Have you designed accompanying branded materials to go along with your event? If not, this is something that you should have in place before contacting any outside companies. Again, you will not be taken seriously with no event materials in place, such as event posters, leaflets or sponsor flyers detailing different packages available. These can be a great way to communicate the event in a visual way, to gain as much interest in that first email as possible.
- Event Information – Do you already have the basics covered? If not, this needs to be done before contacting any potential partners. Things such as the event location, caterers and any additional event extras should be in place, in order to present a solid foundation and professional image. Being able to give the company a good idea of where the event will be held and what it will entail will make it easier for them to visualise.
3. Make It Personal
When you’re ready to reach out to your list of carefully selected companies, we highly recommend doing so by email in the first instance. By phoning them, you may potentially catch someone at the wrong time and definitely won’t be giving them a lot of time to think about your request, which could result in an instant no! An email allows you to present all of the information in a concise way and lets the recipient take a good look through when they are ready. An email will give you the best chance of getting a positive response.
Like any kind of cold communication, it’s always hugely beneficial to find out the name of the person you are contacting. An impersonal email, addressed sir/madam is likely to just get deleted. Linkedin can be a great way to do this, as most company employees will list their current position within the organisation, making it easy to pinpoint the right person you need to address your email to. If you need more help on what to include in your email, Fundly have a number of free templates which provide some great ideas. Some of our favourite points that would be great to incorporate include:
- We can’t meet our goal without the help of people/companies like you/yours.
- We’ve also listed out some of the incentives and perks that your company can enjoy should you decide to become one of our corporate sponsors.
- To show our gratitude for your support, we would like to formally offer you [insert specific incentive] in recognition of your sponsorship.
- I’d like to thank you in advance for your generosity. Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at [phone number] or [email] if you have any questions.
Take your time to craft the perfect email, clearly outlining your event and the value it could provide the potential sponsor with. Your initial email should be a small pitch, briefly covering the main points.
4. Offer Incentives
It would be unusual for any potential partner to agree to sponsor you without questioning what’s in it for them. They will expect their generosity to be reciprocated in some way or another, so it’s a good idea to outline the incentives you are willing to offer in your initial contact. There are so many ways you can repay them, on the lead-up to the occasion in question and during the event itself. Think about your own businesses strengths and the best ways you can carry out incentives that a sponsor would really appreciate. These could include:
- Social media – If you have a good following on social media, a great incentive could be to promote your sponsor on your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram channels.
- Access to your audience – The likelihood is from your earlier research, that the companies you are contacting are in the same industry as you. Because of this, offering them a slot during the event to perhaps present or speak with your audience to promote their own company, could be incredibly beneficial to them.
- Promotional materials – Your sponsors could be invited to bring their own company literature or marketing materials to leave at the event. These could be either dispersed in goody bags, banners presented in the foyer of the venue or leaflets/business cards left on tables.
This helpful article from Power Sponsorship details the ways in which sponsors evaluate proposals put to them, which is worth a read to gain an insight into the best things you could offer to increase the chances of a positive response.
5. Customise Packages Accordingly
To further entice prospective sponsors, you could personalise incentives to each company. Perhaps there are a handful of organisations that are at the top of your list and you’d really like to partner with. To make it impossible for them to say no, why not consider offering them specific perks, so they get a sense for how much you’d appreciate their involvement. There are some amazingly unique things out there that will not only add an extra special touch to your event but will prove to be a unique incentive for any organisation.
A digital graffiti wall, for example, could be set up at your venue, providing an incredibly quirky way for any company to display their branding, services or ethos. Alternatively, why not look into photo booth hire as not only will your guests love it, but personalised backdrops mean that you could offer a sponsor the chance to have their branding in the background of every photo.
6. Always Follow Up
This seems obvious but is imperative to securing sponsors for your event. It isn’t unusual to receive no response after your initial email, as the recipient will need time to consider your proposal. Nevertheless, it’s important to remind them of your email should you not hear back, as they could simply have forgotten due to a busy schedule. The company you have contacted may receive a number of sponsorship requests throughout the year, so make yours stand out by contacting them personally around a week after your initial email. This gives you a great chance to talk them through any personalised incentives you have to offer as well as relay why their company is so important to helping you achieve your event goals. If they feel that you are genuinely interested in their organisation, as opposed to merely viewing them as a bank, they are more likely to consider your request.
For some handy tips on how to formulate an effective follow-up strategy, take a look at this guide from Winspire, listing the do’s and don’ts of following up your sponsorship request.
Secure Sponsors For A Successful Event
While reaching out to prospective sponsors may seem like a relatively easy task, there are definitely things you’ll need to carefully consider before doing so as outlined above.
From crafting a professional image and making initial contact, to personalising incentives and following up effectively, there is a definite process to securing those all-important sponsors. By following these easy steps, you’re sure to come away with ideal partners and host a truly successful event. If you’ve found this helpful, or anyone you know is in the process of planning an event of their own, why not share our article on social media using the icons below. We wish you the best of luck in your upcoming event!