How to Get Sponsorship for an Event: A Step-By-Step Guide

Ana Levidze
April 20, 2024

You've dreamed of hosting a big event for your community. It'll be the highlight of the year— one that brings everyone together and creates lasting memories. But there's one thing holding you back: funding. You need money to pay for the venue, equipment, and supplies—and it all adds up fast.

The good news is that there are a lot of companies out there that are willing to sponsor events. The bad news is that you have to convince them it's worth their while—and it can be hard to know where to start.

This guide will answer your most pressing questions and provide clear steps for finding top sponsors. So if you want to land the event sponsorship for your next event, keep reading!

What is an Event Sponsorship?

When looking for event sponsorship, think about it as a partnership.

A company wants to partner with you because they see the value in what you're doing and want to support it. They want their brand associated with your event, which will help them connect with new customers and build brand awareness. In return for this support, they are willing to provide funding for your event —whether in the form of cash, services, or goods.

There are many different types of sponsorship agreements, so let's take a look at some of the most common:

  • Financial Sponsorship - This is the most common type of sponsor, where a company provides monetary support for your event in exchange for benefits outlined in their agreement with you.
  • In-Kind Sponsorship - In this type, a company provides goods or services instead of cash. They may give you an asset to use, like venue space or equipment, or they may offer their services for free.
  • Media Event Sponsorship - Media sponsorship is all about sponsoring your event by offering you free media coverage. They may provide you with air time, or they may send a reporter to cover your event.

Why Should You Consider Event Sponsorship?

Event sponsorships are a win-win strategy for both the sponsors and the event organizers. The benefits are numerous, but here's a quick breakdown of the reasons why you should consider it:

Get the Funding You Need For Your Event

Hosting an event is often a costly endeavor, with many expenditures—from venue space to equipment and staffing. This might leave you feeling as though there's no way for you to make an impactful event or reach your event goals under such constraints.

Sponsorship can help you cover those costs and put more money back into the event. It can mean that you're able to offer more opportunities for attendees. This could include securing your dream speakers, keeping the ticket price lower, or having more giveaways and prizes. You could use these measures to provide a better experience for attendees while still making sure everything runs smoothly.

Enhanced Credibility With Attendees

One of the biggest benefits of securing sponsorship is that it can help you achieve greater credibility. Because when a brand is sponsoring an event, your attendees will feel more confident in the quality of the event.

This is especially true if the companies that sponsor you are well-known and respected in their industries. If they're willing to back your event, it shows that they're confident in what you're doing. That's important because it can help strengthen your reputation among potential attendees who might not be familiar with what you do.

Access to Potential Partners

Not only does sponsorship help you reach new audiences, but it can also open doors for you when it comes to partnership opportunities. This is especially true if you've secured sponsorship from a company with similar interests or values to your brand.

The sponsorship may be the first step towards a collaboration that eventually leads to a long-term partnership. This can lead to continued support for your future events, increased revenue, and opportunities for growth, which is always something worth considering.

Avoid the Following Mistakes When Seeking Sponsorship for Your Event

It is important to make a strong first impression when you reach out to sponsors for your event. Many sponsorship proposals are overlooked due in part because of common pitfalls that event planners make.

Here are some mistakes to watch out for:

Not Setting Clear Expectations With Your Sponsor

One of the most important things to remember when seeking sponsorship for your event is that it's a partnership, not a transaction. Sponsors are not looking to simply throw their name on your event and walk away; they want to be involved.

You should set clear expectations with your sponsor so that both parties know what is expected of them throughout the process. This includes outlining the goals for the sponsorship, how it will benefit them as well as you and your organization, and what role they will play in helping you achieve those goals.

Not Being Creative Enough in Your Approach

Sponsorship isn't a one-size-fits-all proposition. It should reflect the needs and goals of each sponsor, which means you have to think outside the box when approaching prospective sponsors. For example, if you want to secure a major sponsor for an event, don't just ask them to donate money or products. Instead, offer them an opportunity to work with you on creating a unique experience for attendees that will benefit both parties.

You should also consider offering different event sponsorship packages to your sponsors, depending on their level of commitment. While this may sound like a lot of work, it's worth it to secure the best deals possible.

Not Having Sufficient Data

Another common mistake is not having enough data to support your case. When trying to convince a sponsor that your event will be a big draw, make sure you have hard numbers and statistics on the number of attendees, their demographics, and where they're coming from. If you are able to provide data on past events, including attendance and revenue, that is a bonus.

If you don’t have this data, it's important to frame your case in terms of what will be accomplished and why the sponsor should care.

How to Find Sponsors for Your Event

When you're just starting out, it can be hard to know where to find the right companies to approach. Here are some tips to make this search process easier:

Gain Insight From Other Events That Are Similar to Yours

If you have a clear picture of the type of event you want to create and what it should look like, start by researching similar events. Specifically, look for the ones in your area or industry—many will showcase sponsors on their websites.

Researching companies that have sponsored similar events can give you a good sense of which brands are likely to be interested in sponsoring yours. And since they've already partnered with other brands like yours, chances are they'll be willing to work with you too!

Find Companies That Align With Your Values

An important part of finding event sponsors is making sure they align with your values. You want to make sure that the companies you approach are going to be a good fit for your event, so it's essential to find out what those values are.

For example, if you're an environmentalist, look for companies that are also green. If you have an event that supports a specific cause, look for companies that support that cause as well. When you're looking for companies that share your values, it becomes easier to craft a message about what makes them such great partners for your event—and why they should sponsor it!

The 8 Essential Steps for Pitching Event Sponsors and Securing Sponsorships

Do Your Homework!

If you want your event sponsorship pitch to be successful, the first step is to do your homework. This means doing extensive research on your potential sponsors.

Before you even start drafting your proposal, try to find the answers to these questions: What is their target audience? How does your event fit into those objectives? Does our relationship make sense? You want to know what that company's goals are—both short and long-term.

You can do this by looking at the company's web page, social media channels, and press releases for hints about its focus areas and priorities. Knowing the answers to these questions will help you make a strong case for why your event is a perfect fit for them. In addition, knowing the company's objectives can give you ideas about the benefits they might be looking for from sponsoring your event.

Market Yourself

Don't think of this as a time to be modest—you need to be able to articulate why your event is worth sponsoring and how you will make it worth their while.You want sponsors to feel confident that your event is a worthy investment. Thus, it's important to provide them with all the information they need before asking for their support.

Showcase what makes your event unique and highlight how it can benefit their audience or customers—this will make all of the difference. If possible, include details about previous sponsorships you've had—and the exposure garnered from those sponsorships—in addition to any other relevant information that will help them see why partnering with you is a good idea.

This is the most important part of your pitch, and it's also the hardest. Don't make it too long, but do make it compelling. You want to provide just enough information for your sponsor to make an informed decision but not so much that they get overwhelmed by the details.

Offer Sponsorship Incentives

When you offer sponsorship incentives, you're putting a little extra something on the table for your potential sponsor. This goal is to show them that they're getting more than just exposure—they'll also receive some perks.

There are many ways to offer sponsorship incentives, depending on your industry. Here are some examples:

  • Provide them with free tickets for their employees
  • Give them a speaking opportunity at the event.
  • Set aside a booth space for them to display their products or services.
  • Offer them an ad space or a video feature on your website, social media pages, and more.
  • Provide a discount on tickets for their clients (if applicable).
  • Offer to include their logo in any print or digital materials that are distributed at the event.

It's not necessary to offer sponsorship incentives, but it can help. If you're a smaller brand that doesn't have much of a budget, then this is especially important. You should still be able to provide value without offering any incentives—just make sure that you're clear about what they're getting out of the deal before they sign on the dotted line.

Use Data to Make Your Pitch Stand Out

One of the most powerful ways to persuade potential sponsors is by incorporating data into your pitch. After all, companies want to know that they're getting a good return on their investment, and data can help you provide that assurance by demonstrating how your event will generate measurable results.

For example, if you've already hosted an event, you can show sponsors how your previous event generated specific results that can be attributed to their sponsorship. A few examples of the types of data that could be included in a sponsorship proposal include:

  • The number of attendees at your previous event.
  • Conversion rates for specific types of sponsorship (for example, the number of attendees who signed up for a demo after being exposed to your sponsor's booth).
  • The number of social media impressions from your previous event, including the average reach per post and # of re-shares on each platform.

Even if you've never hosted an event before, it's usually a good idea to include some data about your audience in your pitch—the size and demographics of newsletter subscribers, or website visitors are always a great place to start.

Approach the Right People

At this point, you've done all the research you can and made a list of possible sponsors. Now it's time to get in touch with each of them. The best way is by approaching the decision-maker at each company. This could be someone in charge of sponsorship deals, or marketing and PR departments are often a good place to start.

If you can't find the right person's contact information, don't be afraid to go up a few levels and talk to someone who might know them. You could also approach companies directly through their websites or social media accounts. Just make sure that you're sending a personalized message rather than mass-emailing every potential sponsor you can find.

Contact Potential Sponsors as Early as Possible

When it comes to pitching an event sponsor, timing is everything. The earlier you can get in touch with a potential sponsor, the better your chance of securing their support. This gives them time to consider your request and makes it easier for them to make an informed decision about whether or not they want to partner with you.

An early contact can also help you avoid the dreaded “rush” situation where you find yourself suddenly scrambling to secure a sponsor just days before your event. Additionally, the closer you get to the event, the less flexible companies will be when it comes to making sponsorship decisions. This is especially true for larger sponsors as they often have a lot of events happening all over the world at any given time and only so many resources available to them.

Make Your Pitch Extraordinary

No matter how great your event is and how hard you work to promote it, if you don't have a compelling case for why a company should sponsor you, they probably won't take the plunge. A sponsorship pitch is not just a letter or email; it's an opportunity for you to demonstrate the value of your organization or business!

So, how do you craft an amazing pitch?

First, make sure your pitch has a great layout so that it's easy to read and follow. Don't forget to include graphics, photos, and testimonials to showcase the attendee experience. This will show off your brand in the best possible light!

Second, be short and sweet! Keep in mind that your sponsor is busy, so they may not have time to read through a long proposal or presentation.

Lastly, remember to include a call-to-action in your pitch: Give them an idea of what they need to do next, whether that's filling out a form or sending back an email with more information about themselves.

Remember to Follow-up

Your sponsor pitch has gone well, and you have secured the sponsorship. Now what? The next step is to keep the conversation going.

Follow up with your sponsor and thank them for their time. You can also use this as an opportunity to get more information from your sponsor. When you follow up, ask them if they have any questions about the sponsorship or if there is something else that they would like to know. As the conversation continues, ensure that your sponsor feels like they are an active participant in the event. This can be done by giving them updates on how things are going and asking for their input or feedback. When it comes to planning a large event, there are many moving parts and details that need to be taken care of before the big day arrives. By keeping your sponsor up-to-date on what is happening, they will feel more involved with the process and invested in making sure that things go smoothly.

Also, learn more about the company and how you can help them out in the future. This will show that you are invested in your relationship with this individual or brand and will make them more likely to want to work with you again!

Tips for Writing Winning Event Sponsorship Proposals

Tips for getting a sponsorship for an event

Offer a Range of Sponsorship Packages

When you're trying to get sponsorship for your event, there's no need to limit yourself to one kind of package. You can offer a range of sponsorship packages at different price points, packages, and levels. This will allow your potential sponsors to choose the package that fits their budget, interests, or both.

You may even want to offer tiered sponsorship packages that offer benefits at different price points. For example, you could offer a bronze sponsorship package that includes a logo or mention it on the event website and on social media. Then you could offer a silver sponsorship package that offers all of those benefits plus signage at the event and promotional materials in attendees' goodie bags. Finally, there could be a gold sponsorship package that includes everything from the silver package plus a speaking opportunity at the event and a reserved booth.

While you can offer as many sponsorship tiers as possible, you should also keep in mind that not all companies will be able to afford the highest tier. That's why it's important to offer at least one affordable option that still provides value for your attendees and sponsors.

Offer Something Unique

The best event sponsorships are ones that give your sponsor something they can't get anywhere else. Getting creative with your event sponsorship package can take it from good to great—and it can make a huge difference in how appealing your event is to potential sponsors.

For example, you could offer a special sponsorship package that includes a speaking slot and a reserved booth. This will allow your sponsor to highlight their company and expertise in front of your attendees while also giving them the opportunity to network with other sponsors and speakers at the event. You could also offer a special sponsorship package that includes hosting an exclusive event before or during the event, such as a networking hour or workshop.

Enhance Your Sponsorship with Event Technology

Event technology can take your event sponsorship to the next level and make it an even more attractive option for sponsors. Event technology is an invaluable tool for any business—and it's also an incredible value-add for your sponsors. It's a great way to enhance their experience at your event and make them feel like they're getting something truly unique.

So if you are ready to kick your event sponsorship up a notch, get in touch with us at Bevy. We can help by creating the perfect experience for both sponsors and attendees as we explore possibilities together.

Ana Levidze
Community Content Manager
April 20, 2024

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