Event sponsorship is a win-win for everyone: your organization gets the funding it needs for your event and other programs, while partnering businesses get the chance to increase their brand recognition in front of a receptive audience. As an event organizer, it’s your job to pitch potential sponsors with a perfectly tailored event sponsorship proposal. By clearly demonstrating why it’s in a potential sponsor’s best interest to fund your event, you’ll create lasting relationships that could benefit your organization for years to come. That’s why we’ve made it easier than ever to make the perfect pitch with our 7 hacks for your next event sponsorship proposal. Follow each one to get those leads converting into actual sponsors.
1. Choose the Right Leads
A killer event sponsorship proposal starts with a well-researched prospect list. It doesn’t matter how good your proposal is if you’re not sending it to the right leads. Save yourself time and increase your chance of success by only targeting warm prospects. So how do you do that? Start off by soliciting businesses that have funded your organization in the past — even if it’s been a few years. Then reach out to colleagues in other departments for ideas on companies with corporate social responsibility objectives that align with your mission. You can also research similar or competing events to find out sponsors. Once you have your initial list, narrow it down further by analyzing each company’s apparent marketing goals and sponsor history. Look at previous events or organizations they have sponsored and what type of audience they typically market to; both pieces of information help you determine their likelihood of funding your own event.
2. Demonstrate Your Target Audience
Once you have your prospect list, it’s time to craft the perfect event sponsorship proposal. While it’s important to tell a story, it’s absolutely essential to convey the potential gains a sponsor could receive from your event. The best way to do this is by giving detailed insights into your target audience; after all, these are the people sponsors are advertising to and could become potential customers. No matter where you are in the planning process, you should have a strong grasp of your audience demographics. Is your event targeted to a particular type of profession? What’s the geographic scope of your audience? What’s the purchasing power of the largest age group? Dedicate a section of your event sponsorship proposal showing that your target audience is also their target audience.
3. Cite Historic Measures of Success
You’ve piqued the potential sponsor’s interest with your audience demographics and now it’s time to roll out the red carpet. Mention any significant success stories previous sponsors have witness, including Facebook page likes, unique page visits, or even increased sales. If you’re not sure, reach out to your contacts at sponsoring organizations and ask for some data. Anecdotal stories work, too. You can include one or two of these as a testimonial in your proposal and using real names of other sponsors gives your event credibility. Remember, the ultimate goal is to show that all sponsors can expect real results by investing in your event.
4. Highlight Unique Sponsor Benefits
It’s no secret that the meetings and events industry is growing exponentially; in fact, the Convention Industry Council estimates that there are at least 1.8 million meetings, conferences, and events every year throughout the U.S. While that’s great for event planners, it also means there is increasing competition for sponsors. That makes it especially important to show off your most unique sponsorship opportunities in your proposal. Yes, we all know the biggest contributors receive a full page ad in the program…but what makes your event special? Get creative with perks beyond the standard. Whova, for example, allows you to highlight sponsors directly through your attendee engagement app, through both banners and links. Stand out from the crowd of requests by demonstrating your competitive advantage.
5. Use Results-Oriented Language
As an event planner, marketing might not come as first nature to you, so it’s important to be conscious of the language you use in your event sponsorship proposal. Select words that are most likely to convert prospects into sponsors. How? Research shows that the two most effective words in any pitch are “you” and “because.” Speak directly to the recipient of your proposal and give them reasons for your request. Other power words include: bonus, exclusive, new, results, premiere, plus, create, and save. Think of how you can creatively incorporate some of these terms into your pitch. For example, you could include something like, “As a bonus, sponsors who sign up before May 1 receive premium placement on the main page of our new event app, Whova.”
6. Customize Each Sponsorship Proposal
While it may be tempting to mail merge a hundred of the same exact letters while only customizing each contact’s name, you’re much more likely to get positive results if you tailor the content as well. Use relevant statistics to the size and industry of a specific business, as well as the best sponsorship opportunities. For example, is it better to pitch sponsorship or exhibit space for a particular company? You can also offer to discuss customized benefits, particularly for larger sponsors. The last thing you want is for a potential sponsor to toss your proposal because it looks like mass-produced spam. Remember to always sound personal, thoughtful and sincere in everything you communicate. People can tell the difference.
7. Offer App Integration for Exhibitors
One of Whova’s newest features is a showcase section for exhibitors. This can be a huge draw in your event sponsorship proposal because it allows companies to engage with attendees during and even beyond the event. You can list all exhibitors, then include promotional details when selected. They can offer coupons, discounts and even target leads based on specific demographics such as industry or job title. You can also send leads directly to your exhibitors. This perk offers tremendous value in your event sponsorship proposal because it automates processes in real-time. What used to take weeks after an event in gathering leads and following up now takes just moments during the actual event. Show potential exhibitors how they can take advantage of the event’s momentum while they’re actually there.
Were these tips helpful for tackling your next event sponsorship proposal? By demonstrating tangible benefits and measurable results, you’ll differentiate your event from all the rest and quickly boost your sponsors. Let us know your favorite tactics for securing event sponsors in the comments below and share the article on Facebook or Twitter!