Event sponsorship is a means of supporting an event, activity or organization by providing money or other resources of value to the event in question. The sponsor generally receives advertising space or other publicity at the event in exchange for its support.
Why do we need event sponsorship?
For an event in need additional funding, the sponsor’s contribution is valuable in a number of ways: it can help reduce hard costs, or it can encourage investments in or contributions to the event from other sources of funds.
Where do we find the event sponsors?
Your first step is to identify the event’s target audience in terms of age, gender and interests. Next, make a list of the types of businesses or private institutions that you believe would be interested in reaching that audience, and determine the contact person at each of those potential sponsors. You will discover that you can find a sponsor for almost any type of event.
Who and how do we target for event sponsorship?
Create a sponsorship package to send to the sponsors on your list. Think carefully about how you word your appeal to these potential sponsors. Your goal is to make sponsorship appear to be a win-win business deal, rather than as a simple donation. For example, “we are offering you the opportunity to…” is preferable to “we really need…”. Focus on preparing a package that makes it easy for the prospective sponsors to review the information and to reach a decision. You may even wish to provide some of the information in bullet-point format.
At the very least, your event sponsorship package should include the following:
- Information about your organization. Remember that the targeted sponsors are businesses or private institutions, and that they will be interested in the financial aspects of your organization. Include anything that demonstrates that you will be a good steward for the contributions you hope to receive. Remember that sponsorship means that the sponsor has made a decision to be associated with your cause. Be sure to describe your cause in a way that will appeal to your potential sponsors on a business level.
- Describe the event. Share the general details, the number of people you are expecting and the demographics of the attendees. Your request for sponsorship will be stronger if the target audience is also one of interest to the potential sponsor.
- Provide a general description of the benefits of sponsorship. Explain how being associated with your cause will benefit the potential sponsor.
- Make sure that you provide details with respect to specific sponsorship levels, the cost, and the rewards for sponsorship. For example, you may wish to offer to put a sponsor’s logo on your website, on a sponsor banner, or in the event program. There are many possibilities; be creative, and remember to offer several levels of support.
- In setting your sponsorship opportunities and levels, think about the business needs of the potential sponsors, and about what will most likely appeal to them in terms of increased market visibility. Remember to think about your own needs as well. Maybe you need bottles of water, t-shirts or pens. Rather than buying these items, think about whether there may be a company willing to provide them to gain exposure for their brand.
- Include a sponsorship reply form and a return self-addressed, stamped envelope. While sponsors are frequently local businesses, you will likely need to leave the sponsorship package with them; you want to make it as easy as possible for them to reply.
Finally, be sure to personalize the package for each potential sponsor and to include a short letter that explains the benefits to them of being a part of your event. Where possible, arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone at your target sponsor to ask for their support. Personal visits are much more effective than simply sending the package in the mail.
Leave the package with the potential sponsor, and remember to follow up!