So your event is presents enough value to your target demographic to start bringing on sponsors. Congrats! This probably means you’ve spent a significant amount of time and effort growing your following, or at least perfecting this particular event to attract a new following. Either way, it’s no easy feat. To secure money, product, and services from the desired sponsors, you need to showcase your event.
Be clear and be certain. Whether we’re talking about your target audience, the date(s), the expected attendance, the event schedule or any other details, know your plan and stick to it. Nothing scares off a potential sponsor like uncertainty. Convey to them the exact situation and exactly what they’re going to get out of it.
Perfect your sponsorship deck. It should be well designed and clearly show the value add for brands. Strike the right balance between getting brands excited and giving enough information to make a decision.
Recruit appropriately. Pick the sponsors you want to go after based on your relationships, the target demo, and geography. For example, alcohol brands will need distributors in your event’s home state. Chances are, brands that sell primarily to baby boomers aren’t going to want to sponsor your college campus events. Be able to tell potential sponsors why your guests are well suited for their product or service.
Make it personal. There are some sponsorship marketplaces or forums that will take your event info and make it available to a large number of brands. We’re not saying to avoid services like hellosponsor. We’re saying, similar to how you do PR outreach, it doesn’t replace personalized emails and calls. After all, you should be packaging your event messaging to be specific to each potential sponsor. While the event itself won’t change, the way you describe its value to a charity versus an alcohol brand should.
Follow up. Sure emails are a great way to introduce the opportunity and work for quick correspondence, but be prepared to live on your phone. Remember, they may want to be involved but you need their money, product or services to get your event off the ground. Without driving them insane, show them that they are important to you. Most will assume that the more attention they’re receiving when being courted, the more attention they will get when they have sponsorship requests or last minute inquires.
Be an expert. If this is your event it should be second nature to you. Have an answer to every questions imaginable. Make it seem as if coordinating this event is cake for you and you’re just giving others the opportunity to take advantage of all of the prior work that you’ve put in.
Be accommodating and thick skinned on the day of your event. Not everything is going to go as planned and it’s your job to stay in control and keep sponsors happy. Good luck!