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How to Find Sponsors for an Event

BY Mark Novelli|Conferences|Tips for Planners|Add a comment

Event sponsors can help immensely with offsetting costs. But finding them can be tricky—you have to know when to do it and how to address the potential sponsor. Once you do find the perfect match (or matches), sending proposal letters, determining the audience, finding the right person to contact and knowing the appropriate time to approach a potential sponsor are important to landing the sponsorship. And, when planning your event, keep sponsors in mind instead of confirming your event plans and then brainstorming on company sponsors—this can save time in the long run.

Right away, you need to understand who your event audience is. By doing so, you narrow down who is more likely to support you as a sponsor. The two types of events that work best are those with a large audience and those that have a specific focus. The first gives sponsors more people to reach out to and the second helps those in a particular niche.

Once you find your audience, it’s time to get going. Determine sponsorship levels. Instead of having a fixed amount that sponsors must contribute, offer them options and then provide different benefits based on the amount they are spending. For example, if they’re donating $50, you could provide them with a small ad in the event brochure, if they donate a higher number, feature their logo throughout.

Next up is creating a relationship with your sponsor. Send them individualized proposal letters so that it doesn’t look like you’re mass sending. Heavily research their company and make phone calls to specific people within their organization who can help you with a sponsorship. To find these people, talk to your board, staff and volunteers. They all will have great ideas on who fits within your event.

After doing so, follow up. Wait about two or three weeks to contact them again whether via email, phone call or personalized company. This can also help you determine whether or not they even received your first communication.

When you’ve acquired the necessary sponsors, and your event goes off without a hitch, don’t forget about them. You want them to feel as though they did make a difference in creating a successful event. Even after you send a thank-you note, continue providing them with updates about your organization. You’ll likely need them in the future, so keeping in touch is of the utmost importance.