If your organization or small business is hosting an event, how do you get funding?
Where do you find the money for marketing materials?
Your budget might not be enough to run the event of your dreams. So, how can you acquire a larger budget?
The answer is by getting sponsors.
This solution might seem difficult, because it requires a company or person providing you money in exchange for partnerships and other incentives.
But it’s really not as impossible as it sounds.
The important thing is to find a sponsor that suits your organization or company and then utilizing some strategies to get them to sponsor you.
Here are some helpful tips on how to get sponsors for an event.
10 Ideas on How to Get Sponsors for an Event
1. Ask Around
There is a chance that someone who works in your company or volunteers at your organization has connections to a possible sponsor that they can introduce you to or provide the contact info for. Are there any important companies within your community that might be interested in funding local events? Maybe someone who works for you knows someone who works there who can make your sponsorship possible.
2. Think About What You Are Going to Say
Come up with an idea for a sales pitch before you meet or communicate with the possible sponsor. There are several points to include in your talking points, such as what the mission of your business or organization is, what kind of event you will be hosting, how many people you expect to come, why you are a good fit for that business to sponsor, and any benefits they will receive by becoming a sponsor.
3. Practice What You Will Say
Make sure you make your argument clear and to the point, especially if you will be meeting your possible sponsor face-to-face. You want to come across as confident. Look into any interesting data regarding your organization or business that you can share.
4. Create a Sponsorship Packet
A sponsorship packet includes the incentives you offer sponsors when they agree to fund your event. These can include such things as adding their logo to all the promotional materials at the event. Whatever you have in the packet, make sure that you communicate with the sponsor clearly about the benefits you offer so that they understand.
5. Answer Any Questions
While this is a sales pitch that you should practice, it is also an open dialogue with someone else. They will probably have questions regarding your business and the event, and you should be prepared to answer anything they ask. You can also encourage them to speak by asking them questions.
6. Name a Donation Amount
When you are asking for a certain amount of money, it always helps to ask for a large sum first. This might seem risky, but if you ask for less than you need that might be all you get. Name how much you want and make sure that it’s enough to cover the whole event. You might be surprised at what their response is. If they decline, suggest a smaller amount.
7. Still Keep the Business in Mind If They Say No
While they might say no to funding the entire event, there is still a chance they might help with the event in other ways, like providing prizes or volunteering. Even if the company turned your offer down now, they might be more interested the next time you need a sponsorship for an event.
8. Continue to Communicate
You’re not just looking for a business to sponsor an event and be done with it. If you want the business to keep funding you, it is important to build a relationship with them. Continue to send them email reminders, let them know if you are planning other events, and show that you care outside of them providing you money.
9. Show Gratitude
If you obtain a sponsor for an event, make sure that you show them how much it means to you and your team. Thank them and share with them what their donation has helped you with. Let them know that their money is being put to good use.
10. Be Friendly
Finally, one of the simplest things you can do to make sure that you find a great sponsor for an event is to be friendly and courteous to whoever you are meeting with. Do not come across as demanding or sulk if they turn you down. Remain positive and they will want to work with you again.
Which Businesses Should You Contact?
How do you figure out which business to ask about a sponsorship? Which ones will be a good fit for your organization or company?
Here are some tips for helping you weave out which companies to ask about a potential sponsorship:
Have They Sponsored Events Before?
If a business has been a sponsor in the past, they will probably do it again. You still must create a compelling argument for why they should fund your event, but your chances will be better than choosing one that has never shown interest in sponsoring any events.
Do You Have Similar Demographics?
One of the easiest ways to tell if a business will be a good sponsor for your event is by seeing if their company’s audience is like yours. Their demographic is not going to be the same as yours but looking up some of the key elements in your audience will help. For example, if you are holding an event that has to do with dogs or dog owners, asking a company that deals in dog products would be a good idea.
Is This Company Interested in ROI?
ROI (or Return on Investment) is the outcome of the event. Look for a business that is looking to increase their brand recognition and wants to gain new customers. Having them sponsor and event with their logo appearing on promotional materials is a good way to get some return on their investment.
Do You Already Have a Relationship with Possible Sponsors
If you plan on using sponsors in the future, it is best to contact a company and build a relationship with them before you ask them about sponsoring an event of yours. Maybe there is a local business where you already know some people who work there. Having an established relationship with the business will look better than asking them about funding your event right away.
Would You Be Able to Contact the Right Person?
When contacting a company to sponsor your event, you do not want to randomly message anyone in the company or an email on their website that goes to a general inbox. There might be a good chance your email would be ignored. Try to find the right person to contact who can give you a direct answer about sponsoring your event.
10 Tips for Locating the Right Sponsors for an Event
1. Utilize Online Resources
There are several websites designed for finding sponsors. Some websites like Sponeasy are helpful in building sponsorship desks from tools and templates while SponsorPitch is a database with information of different companies. If you are part of a specific industry, there might be a site that will list possible sponsors, such as SponsorPark for arts and entertainment events, SponsorPitch for sports, and the more general SponsorMyEvent.
2. Find Sponsors from Similar Events
Look up recent events in your industry and who sponsored them. The business that sponsored this event will likely sponsor another similar one. Look at the promotional materials, such as printed marketing tools and social media posts, to see what sponsorships were mentioned.
3. Reach Out to Companies Your Audience Knows
Is there a brand that those who will be attending your event know and like? Is there a social media account your audience always interacts with? Consider what companies or type of industries your audience will be most enthusiastic about. You would not want to get a company that they do not like as your sponsor.
4. Contact Event Organizers on Social Media
Ask other businesses and organizations that have been in your situation how they were able to get their sponsors? Who did they contact and how did they find out beneficial information? Other companies in your industry might even know businesses that you can contact about a possible sponsorship.
5. Create a List of Possible Sponsors
One of the best ways to determine which sponsors to communicate with and find information on is by creating a list of candidates. Once when you have a list of companies to contact, you can research data about their company, figure out who will be best to contact, and include any information to remember the next time you are seeking a sponsorship.
6. Figure Out What Type of Sponsorship You Want
There are four types of sponsorships that you can propose to companies. Financial sponsorships are when a company gives you money in exchange for something like logo placement on all your marketing materials. Media sponsorship is getting local TV stations or publications to include your advertisement. In-kind sponsorship is when a company provides a certain product, such as venues or catering, for your event. Promotional partners are when you team with influencers or celebrities to promote your event on social media. Knowing what kind of sponsorship are you looking for with your event will make it easy to find potential candidates.
7. Look Into What Companies Have Been in the News
Are there any press releases announcing a company sponsoring an event? This can be a helpful tool in finding out what businesses are willing to be sponsors. It can also help you find out other information about the sponsor before you contact them, such as if they have a new CEO or just launched a product line.
8. Ask Them at the Right Time
Timing is particularly important because some places do sponsorships during certain times of the year. Does your event occur at a time that would be beneficial to any companies? You have a better chance of finding sponsors during the fall and summer seasons because that’s when most events are held. Do further research into your possible candidates to see what time of the year they have sponsored previous events.
9. Look for Recognized Name Brands
This does not mean that the company needs to be internationally known. They can be well-known locally, too. Look around your area for reputable companies that will make good sponsors. Getting a brand that your attendees know will add credibility to your event.
10. Look for Places with the Right Resources
Make sure that you are looking for companies that can give you what you need. Do they have a budget that suits how much you are asking? Do they have a department dedicated to marketing that you can contact directly? This will make locating and contacting a potential sponsor much easier.
10 Ways to Ask Businesses for Their Sponsorship
We’ve covered general tips and tools you can use for deciding on and contacting a business to sponsor your event, but how do you convince them to say yes to your sponsorship packet?
Here are some tips for when you approach companies for their funding:
1. Explain the Mission of Your Event
When you are discussing a potential sponsorship with a business, one of the key things to do is to explain the mission of the event in a clear way. What does your company or organization hope to accomplish with this event and how can your sponsor help? What does your brand represent that aligns with the mission statement of their company? What goals are you setting for this event? Make your purpose clear so that the sponsor is more likely to invest in what you are doing.
2. Include Data
Most businesses that you are trying to have sponsor your event will be interested in facts. They want to hear about why your values are like theirs, but they also want to be sure that they are making a good investment. Look into an event software program and select some data to present, such as how many tickets you have sold, your recent revenue from sending out event promotions, or how many active members you have currently in the community.
3. Have Different Tiers of Funding
Come up with different levels of donations to offer to businesses. The higher the tier, the more the company will get in return. For example, you can have tiers from $500 donations to $5,000. For the $500 level, you can offer listing the company in marketing promotions while with a higher $5,000 donation, the company will receive tickets, listings, social media promotions, naming rights, etc. Try to ask for a higher tier donation first when you are communicating with the sponsor but let them know that there are other options and benefits that they can choose.
4. Make Your Pitch Personal
Do not always give the same pitch to every company you contact for sponsorship. Make sure you tailor each request to suit that specific business. Explain how their exact contribution will benefit your event, give specific instances of how supporting your event will help their business, etc. Let them know that you have the same sponsorship goals that they have. If you make your request sound generic, then it will not come across as sincere and will seem like you are just interested in financial donations rather than a long-term partnership.
5. Contact Businesses Early
Timing is especially important and, as always, the early bird gets the worm. Make sure you reach out to businesses long before your event starts so that you have enough time to hear back from them and come up with a sponsorship packet. Try reaching out to potential sponsors roughly four months before your event begins. This way you will get your budget needs out of the way, and you will be able to secure the sponsorship before other similar events ask.
6. Provide Incentives
Come up with what incentives you are planning to offer your sponsors before you ask. They are more likely to say yes if they know what they will be getting in advance. Some ideas for incentives include, giving them free booth space at expositions, placing their logo on all your promotional material and giveaways, spreading brand awareness for the sponsor through social media and newsletters, giving them discounts to your products or at the event, etc. You will recruit more sponsors when you show them that their business is important by offering them benefits.
7. Research the Company
Make sure you know what the company sells, their mission statement, and any recent news, before you ask them about a sponsorship. Showing that you know about the company and have done your research beforehand will make you look more professional and make the business feel important and appreciated. Find useful information by searching their blogs, newsletters, and social media accounts.
8. Show Confidence
Even with all the previous recommendations on your plate, you aren’t going to get very far with a possible sponsor if you lack confidence. Let them know that you think they are getting a good deal. They will not be interested in a sponsorship if you seem nervous or uninterested in the proposal. Show them that you are confident that a sponsorship will benefit them in the long run and that your event will be successful.
9. Create a Sponsorship Proposal
Before you discuss a possible sponsorship with a company, you need to come up with your complete proposal. This information includes the different donation tiers, what incentives you will be offering, and how you will communicate that to a business. What key points do you need to address? What will each sponsor package include? How will you be asking the company for a sponsorship? Come up with a tangible plan to follow and talking points to bring up so that you are prepared and articulate during your pitch.
10. Follow Up Afterwards
Finally, another way to make sure a business accepts your sponsorship is by following up with them. Give them some time to process the information before asking them whether they accept or not. Ask them if they have any questions or concerns about the proposal. Sometimes you will need to reach out more than once to get a definitive answer.
Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is an event sponsor?
A sponsor is anyone, whether it be a company or a person, who gives you money or free/discounted services in exchange for something at your event. The person or business can provide financial support for the event, or such services as food, tents, giveaways, etc. The exchange can be promoting the business in your marketing materials, giving them free tickets or discounted items, advertising the business through your social media, etc. When asking a business or person to sponsor an event, the main thing to bring up is what they will get in return for their support.
How do I know if I need a sponsor?
There are several ways to tell if you will need a reputable company or person to sponsor your event. Do you need a bigger budget to achieve your event goals? Or do you need a certain service to help you, such as everyone getting enough to eat? People are more likely to attend your event if you have a lot of activities, games, and food, but those things cost money and you might not have enough for everything you need. Are you looking to get a bigger audience for your small business or organization? Having a distinguished business or person sponsor your event will bring awareness to new audiences and customers so that more people will attend your event and support your cause. Having an established company or person promote your event will also give you more credibility.
How can I make companies say “yes”?
It helps to already have a relationship with the business before you contact them about a sponsorship. Are you a long-time customer or are they a local company run by people you have connections with? This will make the business more likely to help. It, however, is not the only way to get sponsors. Make your proposal personal rather than a general request. This will make the company know that you care about their sponsorship. Also try to find the right person to contact. See if you can find the email or phone number of someone who will be willing to listen to your proposal. Do not call or send an email to a general email, such as their “info@” email or their customer service. Another key tip is to think about what you are going to say beforehand and what you will offer the sponsor for their contribution. Be clear, confident, and listen!
Are there any kinds of events sponsors like?
If you’re struggling with how to get sponsors for an event, remember that they like events where their business can be promoted. If you are working for a good cause or are a small business, sponsors like adding their logo to your materials to show that they support your organization while also spreading brand awareness for them. Potential sponsors also like events where they can reach a similar audience to their customer base. For example, local businesses will support local events because people who live in that region are more likely to use their services. A business in a specific industry is more likely to help an organization that has a cause that relates to their mission statement. Therefore, it is important to find a sponsor whose audience is like your event attendees.
How long before an event should I contact a sponsor?
When it comes to timing, the main thing to take away is that you need to contact your potential sponsors early. Come up with a list of potential sponsors and what you plan on offering them depending on the amount of money they donate. You should know all of this when you request the sponsorship of a business so that you can clearly communicate with them what they will be getting in return for their money or services. Try getting into contact with possible sponsors a few months before your event, roughly four months.
These tips will help you in locating and persuading a sponsor to back your event. Once you have landed a sponsor(s), the next crucial thing to do is to make sure that you have the best event possible. If your event is a success and you establish a working relationship with your sponsor, there is a good chance they will want to sponsor your next event and any others you have. Therefore, it is important to find a suitable company and to win them over with your pitch. Remember that sponsorships work both ways. If a company is willing to give you money for your event, you need to make sure that they are getting something in return and that your event will be worth their time. Keep this in mind the next time you are seeking sponsorship for an upcoming event.