Organizing an event can be challenging as you need adequate funds to get all the logistics in order. Besides, you must develop ideas and activities to keep your audience engaged.
Lack of funds compromises the customer experience, while low engagement can turn off your audience.
But there is a solution — Event sponsorships. Sponsors fund your events, offer in-kind benefits such as food, prizes, and host activities to engage your audience. It’s a win-win for both parties. But, to get the sponsorship, there is a lot you need to learn, and we will help you with that.
The right sponsorship can support your event finances, boost event visibility and help you develop good connections with the sponsors for future opportunities.
Table of contents
- What is event sponsorship
- Benefits of event sponsors
- Types of sponsors
- How to get event sponsorship
- Event sponsorship email template
What is event sponsorship?
Event sponsorship is when an organization or an individual offers assistance to an event in exchange of something invaluable. You can get sponsors for any kind of event — hybrid, in-person, or virtual.
A sponsor can be a brand, non-profit, agency, or individuals such as social media influencers. Event sponsorship is a win-win strategy for both parties; the organizer gets financial or some other kind of support while the sponsor gets more visibility.
One of the greatest examples is Coca cola’s sponsoring 2016 RioOlympics. Instead of displaying their brand in the game, they went a step further with their #ThatsGold one-year long social media campaign.
The campaign aim was to widen the Olympics reach to the general public and deliver a message — Gold is a feeling. Gold moments are the ones that bring everyone together. The campaign worked as it generated more than 30 Million views while it was active.
What are the benefits of having an event sponsor?
When your event is backed by well-known brands you get eyeballs from their network. This gives your event more exposure, increasing your chances of getting more attendees.
We have summarized some of the major benefits of having an event sponsor:
1. Build credibility among your audience
When well-known brands sponsor your event, it increases your credibility among your target audience. Your audience is already familiar with these brands, and if they find out they sponsor your event, it will incentivize them to attend the event.
2. Widen your event reach → more leads
Apart from your promotional strategies, you will generate more eyeballs when your sponsors share your event in their network. This can even help you generate more leads from their network. So, it’s a win for you as you can tap into your sponsor’s network.
3. Get opportunities to collaborate with other businesses
Sponsorships increase awareness of your event and, by extension, the awareness about your brand and your product and services. When renowned sponsors back you up, other people or brands will be more willing to sponsor your events in exchange for something valuable.
9 different types of sponsors
You can choose from different sponsor types while pitching your event to the target sponsors. From finance sponsorship to venue, you can choose the sponsorship based on your event type, venue, budget, and goals.
We have picked the most popular type of sponsors in the following section:
1. Technology Sponsors
Technology sponsors are tech brands who offer gadgets for your event in exchange for publicity. For instance, Apple can provide iPads for a big event or Boat can lend speakers. The whole crowd watches speakers, performers, or event managers use these gadgets and become aware of their functionality.
2. Energy & Sustainability Sponsor
Energy and sustainability sponsors make your event more eco-friendly. Eco-friendly events include recyclable event badgers, paperless agendas, digital promotions, etc. If you want your event to be fully sustainable, you can pitch to partners with sustainability certificates.
3. Outreach & Media Sponsor
Outreach and media sponsors advertise an event. They expand media coverage to get more eyes on the event so you don’t have to spend additional money on marketing. They write articles and publish event updates on social media platforms. In turn, they get promoted through the event.
4. Venue Sponsor
The sponsors offer you a venue to host your event. The location of your event matters, especially if it’s a physical location.
If you are hosting a virtual event, you can ask event marketing platforms such as Nunify, Airmeet, or Zoom to sponsor your event in exchange for their brand promotion.
5. Prize sponsors
You can ask for prize sponsorships if you have in-event games and other fun activities. These sponsors arrange the goodies packages to give to the winners. Often these packages contain the sponsor’s name and logo, and it’s a good way to generate long-lasting awareness for your sponsor.
6. Food & Beverage sponsors
For in-person events, food and drinks are a must, and you can have sponsorship for the same.
7. Promotional sponsors
Promotional sponsors are often individuals – content creators and social media influencers. Due to their impact and social media following, you can partner with them to promote your events.
For example, if you’re hosting an event on a social media summit with many industry leaders, you can contact creators in the same niche and ask them to promote your event. In exchange, you can pay them or talk about them at your event.
8. Merchandise sponsors
Offering sponsored merchandise is among the most common types of sponsorship seen in the events. Do you remember those branded pens and notepads at a conference meeting? Well, that’s a merchandise sponsorship.
9. Tourism & Transport sponsors
The tourism and transport sponsors support travel arrangements for the event. They assist guest speakers, VIPs, and other important people to reach their destinations. They take care of flights, stays, and visits while marketing their brand.
How to get event sponsorship?
Finding the right sponsor for your events can break and make your event. Here’s how you can find the perfect sponsor for your events:
1. Find your target sponsor
Work on your sponsor’s ideal persona which is similar to your target customer persona. Answer the following questions to find your ideal sponsors:
- Which industry do they belong to?
- How do they benefit you?
- How will they add value to our events?
It helps narrow down your ideal sponsors so you personalize your pitch and bag the right sponsors without wasting resources.
2. Map out the ins-and-outs of your event
Your sponsor needs to know all the event details to decide. Some of the questions you should answer include:
- When and where is the event taking place?
- What’s the theme of your event? Is it a workshop, a summit, or a conference?
- How many attendees are you targeting? What’s the current number of registrants?
- What type of attendee profiles are expected to come?
- Are you inviting more than one company from the same vertical/industry or is it exclusive to one?
You must have all these details documented to show to your target sponsors. It will enhance transparency and reduce the time to close the deal.
3. Communicate the value your sponsors will get from your event
The first thing any sponsor would ask you is, what’s in it for me? You must have a solid pitch to answer all of their questions.
Some of the most common questions you should answer include the following:
- What will sponsors receive from the event?
- How will you promote their brand in your event?
- What will bring the most value for them?
Now, most event organizers use sponsors’ brand names and logos. That is one way to increase their visibility. But you can go beyond that and involve them more in your events:
- Offer sponsored breakout rooms for virtual events such as summits and conferences
- Set up sponsored booths for in-person events such as trade shows and exhibitions.
- Offer sponsored sessions → Invite your sponsor to talk to the attendees to fill the gap during intervals or technical issues.
- Include your sponsors in your event promotion strategy.
Once you have all the details mapped out, it’s time to reach out to your sponsors. But where do you find them, and how do you approach them?
You can find the right sponsor with these two methods:
- Marketplace for sponsors
There is a marketplace that helps event organizers to connect with the right sponsor. You can even choose the best companies to approach for sponsorship through these marketplaces.
Some of the most famous marketplaces are:
To be a part of the marketplace, you must register as an event organizer and post your event details. After that, you can contact your target sponsor and initiate the conversation. The marketplace helps you manage all the sponsors, from communication to the final transaction.
Reach out to your target sponsors, communicate your sponsorship package and evaluate the progress in one platform.
Another marketplace is Fanoema.io, where you can reach out to target sponsors. The best part is that this marketplace has the highest open rate, which means you can easily reach your sponsor and close a deal with them.
- Cold outreach
Another approach is to reach out to your target sponsors via email or social media.
Let’s discuss how to reach out on social media channels such as LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter.
The first step is to find sponsors that would be relevant to your event. You can decide which social channel to use based on your event type.
For instance, if you’re hosting an event whose target audience is B2B, then LinkedIn or Twitter should be your go-to channel. For e-commerce brands, Instagram would be best.
No matter which channel you choose, never send your pitch right away. That won’t work as your target sponsor might not know you, and their chances of accepting your pitch are close to zero.
Here are some tips for writing cold DMs to get a response from your target sponsor:
- Be clear about your intention before you reach out to people.
- Research your target sponsor. Don’t copy-paste templates.
- Focus on adding value to stand out in your recipient’s DMs.
- Talk about the benefits they’ll get out of this sponsorship.
Let’s talk about reaching out to your sponsors through cold email outreach.
Email outreach begins with finding an active email address to target sponsors. There are two ways to collect the email address:
- Check out their LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is one of the first places you should use to get an email address. Often many professionals have made their email addresses public, which you can find in the ‘Contact info‘ section. If it’s not there, check their ‘About‘ section.
Couldn’t find email through LinkedIn? Email finder tools can help.
- Use email finder tools.
There is an email finder tool that’ll help you give the email address of your target sponsor. To do that, you must have their name and the organization they currently work in.
Any additional information would be useful too. Once you have that, you can put this information in any of these tools:
- Find that lead
Once you get their active email address, the next step is to reach out to them. To ensure you get a response to your email, you must perfect your sponsorship pitch.
How to pitch your sponsors?
Pitching an event to potential sponsors is about communicating why your event is a great fit for the sponsor and what value you offer in return. Here is how you can nail your event sponsorship pitch:
- Begin with introducing yourself, your organization, and the event.
Provide all the details about yourself so that the respected party knows who you are. If you don’t introduce yourself clearly, there might be a window for interpretation, which can affect your credibility.
So, make sure your email includes the following:
- Your name
- Your organization name
- Your désignation
- Details about your events.
- Talk about why you reached out to them
After the introduction, shift your focus from yourself to the sponsor. Talk about why you decided to choose them over other sponsors.
- Did you attend an event sponsored by them?
- Did you hear good things about them in your network?
- Are they the right fit for your brand?
This step is crucial as it will show your interest and readiness to have them as your sponsor. The more personalized you make this section, the more the recipient will be eager to read further.
- Include social proof to build your credibility
This is important as you need to build trust with the target sponsors, and testimonials, reviews, number of attendees, and past sponsors can help you build that trust. Talk about the kind of events you have organized in the past and what was the attendance and engagement rate. All this helps increase your chances of closing the deal with the target sponsor.
- Don’t forget to add the sponsorship package – Your golden ticket
A sponsorship package is a golden ticket to help you close more deals. It’s a document, PDF, or slideshow that shows what the sponsors will get if they partner with you. It also includes all the event details the sponsor needs to know to make their decision. You won half the battle if you have a compelling sponsorship package.
- Close by thanking them and asking for a follow-up
Always thank the recipient for their time and end with a clear call to action. Often the CTA is to discuss the sponsorship opportunity further. But, you can also ask them to check out resources to know more about you and your offer. It will familiarize them with your brand which increases your chances to hear back from them.
If you haven’t heard back from your sponsor, don’t hesitate to follow up.
- Follow-up after the right interval
A follow-up email is helpful as the recipient might get hundred of emails daily. To reduce your chances of getting lost in the crowd, follow up after the right interval. Besides, follow these tips to nail your follow-up email:
- Always open with context – If the recipient didn’t reply chances are they didn’t even read your last email. So, giving the context is helpful.
- Get straight to the reason for contacting them – After giving the context, jump straight into why you are trying to reach them.
- Include additional details: This is optional but given that the recipient didn’t reply to the previous email, try to add details from that email. You can either remind them to check your previous email or add all the details again in the follow-up.
- End with a clear call to action: Always give the recipient something to act upon. It can be to book a call with you or check out any document you share.
Bonus: Event sponsorship email template
Steal this sponsorship letter sample and increase your chances of getting the right sponsor:
Hi there, [name of the person you are contacting],
I’m an event organizer and writing to you because I am planning an exhibition in the first week of December and would really love to work with you.
I have heard a lot about your company, and we can take this event to the next level with your collaboration. I have been in the event industry for more than a decade and have conducted events with 1000s of attendees, and I am projecting that we can gather the same audience for this event too.
I have detailed every piece of information in the attached sponsorship package to make your decision even easier. Besides, we are partnering with Nunify, a leading hybrid event platform for this event. The platform offers interactive gamification options such as polls, quizzes, and contests to help engage the attendees. So, if you partner with us, your brand will get exposed to such engaged audiences, increasing your visibility and opening up opportunities for you.
Thank you for your time. Let me know if you are willing to get on a call.
I will follow up with you by the end of this week.
Once you have the sponsors for your events, your task doesn’t end there. The sponsor entered into an agreement with you after considering the benefits they’ll get from your event. As an organizer, showcase your event’s ROI as it will attract more sponsors for future events. The ROI can be the number of attendees, brand exposure to sponsors, or leads generated through your event for them.
All this will help you position yourself as a credible organizer which might help you grab even more better sponsors through referrals or word of mouth.