Companies have been taking advantage of events to showcase their brand and expand their market. They are great opportunities to discover prospects and generate leads. A critical facet of any event is sponsorship. Finding the right sponsors to support, promote, and fund your event makes the difference between a successful and unsuccessful marketing campaign.
Want to know how to master the art of event sponsorship? Need to find reliable partners you can work with? We cover these and more in this guide below. We will run through the definition of event sponsorship, types, and some considerations to help you find the right partnerships — and tick off all your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
1. What Is Event Sponsorship?
Event sponsorship refers to the act of allowing sponsors to invest in an event in exchange for brand marketing and advertising. If you have an event sponsor, they will offer financial support through funding. Sponsors are usually established companies that have a significant marketing budget. For smaller companies, financing events through sponsorship is an effective strategy.
When there is a great fit between your event and the sponsor, you will find it is easier to spread your organisation's message without extensive event planning. Event sponsorships also offer you networking opportunities. If, in the future, you plan on hosting a bigger event, you can reach out to your past sponsors. You won’t have to allocate more money in finding a new set of sponsors.
2. Types Of Event Sponsorship
Event financing is one of the most popular forms of event sponsorship. However, there are also different classifications. For example, a company might sponsor your event through Social Media Marketing (SMM). It is all about finding partners willing to create customised event sponsorship packages that fit your needs and theirs.
Event sponsorship can be further classified into the following:
- Financial Event Sponsorship
- Media Event Sponsorship
- In-Kind Event Sponsorship
- Promotional Partnership
Financial Event Sponsorship
As mentioned, financial event sponsorship is the most common form of event backing. It is also sometimes referred to as cash sponsorship, wherein a sponsor provides funding in exchange for brand promotions or other benefits. The benefits or type of promotions will depend on what has been outlined in the two parties' sponsorship agreement.
Media Event Sponsorship
Recent statistics show that the number of smartphone users across the globe has breached 6.6 billion, or around 80% of the world's population. In this digital age where virtually everyone has access to a mobile device, brands have also begun to underscore the importance of media event sponsorship.
Companies now advertise through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Smaller businesses may face budget constraints, so they opt for media event sponsorships. WIth media sponsors within your grasp, you can spend less on advertising and more on critical exposure tactics.
As such, finding a fitting media sponsor for your event is vital in determining the partnership's success. Again, you will have to create an event sponsorship proposal. These will show how your potential sponsors can benefit from your event to pique their interest more.
In-Kind Event Sponsorship
In-kind event sponsorship is another type wherein a company agrees to sponsor an event by offering in-kind products or services. Instead of cash, these companies may offer anywhere from prize donations to venue partnerships. Below are some examples:
Event location plays a significant role in attracting event attendees. The venue or event location must be suitable for your company's branding. It must also cater to the right target audience. Partnering with the right venue is crucial to your event's success, as it gives organisations a chance to host their events in the venue for a discounted price.
Venue partnership is a mutually-beneficial scenario wherein your event provides exposure to the host venue while you stage your event at an appropriate location.
Every experienced event organiser understands the impact of the food on an event's success. More often than not, the food will leave a lasting impression on the attendees' minds long after the event has culminated. Thus, offering free food to the audience is another great way of engaging them.
Food and beverage sponsorships are great tactics you will want to use. Instead of finding a good caterer — which can be costly and time-consuming — food sponsorship involves partnering with multiple vendors to make your event more attractive.
For example, you can expand your event's food and beverage selection by partnering with several vendors. Instead of just having a small sample to choose from, your attendees have a wide array of options. They will end up remembering not just the food but the event itself.
If you are hosting a tech-related event with experiential marketing in play, you may want to consider digital sponsors. They offer apps and platforms to facilitate poll questions, media walls, or live broadcasting.
A digital sponsor can make your event more engaging. Events should be a two-way street where the audience interacts with the speakers or the hosts. Supplementing your event with a digital platform can help you achieve this while simultaneously marketing your sponsor's product offerings.
A great example of a digital sponsorship is the partnership between TED and Rolex. Rolex has been a long-time conference sponsor for TED and has worked together several times to innovate TED's media platforms. Rolex and TED recently collaborated on an IOS app which curated relevant online Ted Talks according to the user's preference. The digital platform would not have been possible without the sponsorship between these two companies.
3. How To Get Sponsors For An Event
Now that you understand the different kinds of event sponsorships, let us get into the nitty-gritty of things — getting sponsors for your event. There are so many sponsors out there. You have to pick one that aligns with your event goals.
The key to finding the right sponsors is understanding your objectives and what you want to gain from the event sponsorship. You must also be clear about how your event can provide value to potential sponsors.
Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed? Worry not. Below are some tips on finding the right sponsors for your event.
Reach Out To The Right Companies
Reputation is key when you are reaching out to potential sponsors. As much as possible, choose a company that has adequate experience in sponsoring events. However, it does not necessarily mean that an inexperienced company will not be a great fit.
You may get a shot if they find your event a worthwhile investment. Likewise, you might also find a company whose audience matches yours in terms of interests and demographics.
Have a meaningful discussion with your prospects. Some sponsors can only offer their branding, while others like to deepen their partnership with you. To get the most out of the sponsorship, ultimately, you will have to get in touch with companies with some familiarity with sponsorship strategies.
Be Specific About Your Event Goals And Objectives
Whether or not you are hosting an event purely for financial reasons, you can't just pick any sponsor and call it a day. This step is where having clear-cut objectives might be helpful.
When reaching out to multiple sponsors, customise your event sponsorship proposals. There is no one-size-fits-all proposal that can attract the attention of all companies. Give your proposal a wow factor and make it stand out. Describe your objectives, mission statement, background — anything that can give more context to your event.
For example, you are planning to hold an automotive convention with car enthusiasts. Pick sponsors relevant to the event's objectives — showcasing the vehicles and their prowess and performance. You will end up reaching out to a venue organiser who can fit these collections of vehicles in their location. You'll also find sponsors from automotive companies and carmakers who belong to the same trade.
Contact Sponsors From Related Events
If you've ever been to an event or two, you might find a trend regarding the sponsor companies. For example, you might find the same set of companies, no matter the industry they are offering sponsorships to.
With this knowledge, reach out to sponsors with an excellent track record in sponsoring events of all kinds. These brands understand the importance of event sponsorship. As such, they are more likely to keep investing in this tactic because of its benefits.
Offer Event Incentives
As established, event sponsorships are a two-way street. The most effective way of helping you seal the deal is to offer them incentives.
Say you are holding a trade show. Offer a free booth for sponsors to showcase their products. At the venue, promoting the sponsor by placing their brand name or logo on promotional materials or offering freebies with their branding is also a good idea.
While marketing the event, mention the sponsor's company in flyers, social media posts, marketing copies, etc. Engage your attendees by encouraging them to "like" or share the content.
Offer A Low-Risk Solution
Event sponsorships can be risky, especially if you have a small company. Instead of going all-out with your offer, start with a "trial proposal". If the sponsor were to fund you, request only a small portion in exchange for a small return.
For instance, you may need $200,000 in funding. Ask for 10% of that instead ($20,000), and in place, you will give some of the abovementioned event incentives for free. This tactic helps your sponsor test the waters before fully investing in your event. It is also a great strategy if you want to hire them again as sponsors for any future events you may hold.
Partner With Established Companies
If you run a startup or an SME (Small-to-Medium Enterprise), you may not have adequate brand recognition or credibility to attract potential investors and event sponsors. An excellent workaround is to reach out to other organisations in your industry, and then partner for the event.
When your prospect event sponsor sees your event is attached to a more established brand, this boosts their confidence in sponsoring the event. You will also attract more attendees and draw in a larger turnout.
However, be picky about your partnerships. Try not to collaborate with direct competitors that will most likely reject your proposal. Instead, find ones related to your niche.
Attract Investors And Sponsors Through Data
Data and hard facts will make your sponsors feel more confident about investing in your event. Ultimately it all comes down to your event's profitability. If your sponsors feel they can meet their financial goals, they are more inclined to back your event. This tip is only useful if you have held similar events in the past, but it is effective enough to share.
In your proposal or pitch deck, make sure you include some of these key data points:
- Social media engagement
- Online and offline audience reach
- Gross revenue from your previous event's promotions
- Number of registrants
- Which industries do the top 25% of your audience fall into
- Where your attendees come from
- Bounce rate
The list is endless, but you can generally present any useful event KPI as data — better if you back them up with documentation from an event management software you have used.
The world of event sponsorship can be difficult to navigate without the right know-how in place. Finding sponsors for your event is just as equally challenging as convincing sponsors.
To avoid going off track, be mindful of your event's objectives. What do you want out of it, and how will your sponsor fit in the fold? Always keep these things in mind to create a winning and data-driven proposal that benefits your event.
For more information on all things related to events, get in touch with EventX. We offer bespoke event management software to make any virtual or hybrid event a success. Try a free demo now! Use our platform to host interactive webinars, virtual exhibitions, meetings, and more!
Frequently Asked Questions About Event Sponsorship
What Do Sponsors Get In Return After Sponsoring An Event?
Sponsors usually get business exposure and networking opportunities with other companies. They may also get free incentives through the partnership.
What Is An Example Of Event Sponsorship?
Sony and FIFA are examples of event sponsorship. Sony has been a sponsor of FIFA matches and exhibitions for decades now. If you watch a football game, you'll likely see Sony's PlayStation branding in the stadium's interactive sideline banners.
How Much Should I Charge For Sponsorship?
As a rule of thumb, allocate at least 10% of the sponsorship's gross value (including in-kind offers).
How Can I Get Sponsors For A Nonprofit Event?
To get sponsors for your nonprofit event, follow these tricks:
- Scour for local businesses
- Reach out to companies with a similar vision
- Contact companies that are already sponsoring similar nonprofit events
- Organise sponsorship packages to fit varying budget levels