How to Find Event Sponsors in a Hurry
With an event planning certificate in hand, it’s time to put your knowledge and skills to use! If you find yourself employed at a corporate event planning firm, or running your own business, you’ll inevitably end up planning an event that requires sponsors. Especially in the case of a company that’s relatively new with a modest budget, you’ll need to seek out funding for your upcoming event – and sometimes you won’t have the advantage of time!
If you’re in a hurry, with your event happening in a matter of weeks or months, there are ways in which you can seek out (and secure) event sponsors. Don’t be intimidated – read on for our guide to finding event sponsors in a time crunch!
What are event sponsors?
Before we launch into ways you can seek out and pin down event sponsors, it’s important to understand exactly who they are and why an event planner should use them.
Companies who are interested both in your event and in the attendees will pay to be associated with it. It’s a win-win situation, as you’ll benefit from their funding and presence at your event, and they’ll be able to build brand awareness and network! Before approaching any potential sponsors, it’s important to focus on the event at hand and really reflect on what the sponsors will get out of funding your event.
For example, if you’re organizing an upcoming trade show or bridal show, you’d want to get in touch with large sponsors such as Procter and Gamble or Kleinfeld Bridal, who could bring their brand, logo, products, and company presence to your event. Of course, these are examples of highly successful, famous sponsors, and you can certainly seek out sponsors who are more local. Look for local shops or businesses that would help fund your event – ones that guests would recognize and appreciate.
Your choice of sponsors will depend on the nature of the event you’re planning, the scale, as well as your demographic audience. You want to be sure that you choose sponsors whose values align with your company and brand, and that it will be a mutually beneficial situation.
Do your homework
You may not have much time to research potential sponsors, but trust us – any time you can spend studying your options will pay off in spades. Make a quick list of companies you’d like to reach out to, then do a speedy search on each to find out if they’ve recently released a new product, held an event of their own, or if they’re planning on holding an event in the near future.
This is important information for you to have. You can reference it in your proposal, and mention to them that they can showcase their new product, or promote their upcoming event, to the guests at your event (this is where that knowledge of your demographic audience comes in handy). Sponsors will appreciate the effort you’ve put into getting to know their company and product, and if they see a direct way to benefit from sponsorship, they’ll be much quicker in making a decision!
Pro tip: Spend some time on the sponsors’ blog and social media profiles to really understand who they are and what they do. This is an easy and efficient way to get a sense of their corporation and brand, and how they can benefit from sponsoring your event.
How to attract the right sponsors
This is no easy feat. In fact, it’s much like searching for a job! Your efforts to send out cover letters and resumes will often be met with silence or rejection, but this is part of the process.
If you’re pressed for time, this can be especially difficult. Use these tips to make your brand look attractive, and secure those sponsors in the nick of time:
1. Know your demographic audience: This is key. When finding the right sponsors for your event (any type of event!), you’ll need to submit a proper proposal, which is not unlike a cover letter (we did mention that this process was similar to job searching). You’ll have a very short amount of time to convey exactly who your audience is, so be sure to figure it out as soon as possible – before you start reaching out to potential sponsors. Understand who will be attending your event – is it brides? Engaged couples? Perhaps it’s a corporate event and you’ll be expecting business owners. Or maybe it’s a non-profit event, and the guests will fall into that particular niche.
Whatever the demographic may be, you need to have a firm grasp of it before crafting any kind of proposal. Show your sponsors who their brand will be exposed to and who they’ll be networking with, and they will be much more likely to give you a quick and clear answer of whether they want to come on board or not.
2. Make it attractive: If you’re in a hurry to nail down those event sponsors, you really need to make your proposal both attractive and full of incentives. No matter how large or small your event planning business is, you can find ways of attracting the right sponsors through small tokens – offer discounts for customers who buy the sponsor’s product or sign up for their services, or post the event sponsor’s logo on all of the promotional material for the event.
Event sponsors want to know that they’re making the right choice by funding, and being part of, your event. Show them by promising incentives and deliverables, such as the number of attendees you expect, and how many social media followers, newsletter recipients, or website visitors will be exposed to their brand. The more you can add to your proposal to make it attractive, the more likely they will be to offer their support.
3. Set the right price: Not only will event sponsors ensure a great experience for your attendees, they will also help to fund the actual event, which is crucial. When preparing your proposal, it’s essential to set the right price – and this can be tricky when you’re in a hurry.
There are a few things to consider when figuring out how much to ask from your sponsors. First and foremost, you want to make it worth their time, so asking for $500-$1000 isn’t going to cut it. While it may seem scary to go above those prices, consider the corporations that you’re approaching – they are likely profitable, and they are probably sponsoring other events, as well. The bottom line? Don’t be afraid to ask for $5,000-$10,000 to fund an event that will draw your sponsor a lot of attention.
While $10,000 may seem like a colossal amount, especially if your business is still relatively unknown, you can suggest a “trial” deal. Settle for $5,000 (even though you really want $10,000) and set them up with a booth, promotional materials, and any other incentives you can throw in. This is a great idea if you’re just starting out because it allows you to bring on the event sponsor in a time crunch (which is a huge win!), get to know them, and help them decide whether they want to work with you again on future events.
Being easygoing and flexible will go far in your event planner career, especially when trying to secure sponsors!
Through all of your research, proposal-writing, and networking remember to stay calm. Potential event sponsors will respond to how you react in stressful situations, so keeping a level head and a positive attitude is extremely important. No matter how pressed you are for time, maintaining a professional attitude is essential.