DOCKSIDE JOURNAL ENTRY / August 22, 2017

The SHW Guide to Getting Your Best Event Sponsors

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When you’re planning a big event, finding sponsorships can be one of the most daunting tasks. Whether it’s a local food festival or an international conference, having a fantastic lineup of sponsors can offer a lot of benefits. As event professionals, we’re often asked to put together sponsorship packets, so here are our tips for snagging the best possible sponsorships for your event!

Outline your own goals for what you want get from sponsors.

If this is a recurring event, are you looking to grow your sponsorship revenue year over year? Do you want 25% more revenue over last year? Do you want “X” number or sponsors, or do you just need “X” amount of funding in the door? Also make sure you’re giving thought to what kind of sponsors you’re reaching out to: if this is a community event, partnering with popular local businesses could boost help boost your event’s reputation, or for a bigger conference making strategic business partners that align with you brand could be a smart move for your company. 

Understand how it benefits the sponsors.

What are they getting out of it? Besides being a part of your (we’re sure) awesome event, the bottom line is that businesses are thinking about their ROI (return on investment). Sponsoring an event can be great publicity and even generate sales increases, so make sure you design your sponsor packages in a way that offers them that marketing boost in an effective way.

Get creative with what you’re offering

Especially if you’re looking to do tiered sponsorships, it might help to get a little creative with what you’re offering. Consider things like event apps, which offer a sleek attendee experience with marketing built in. Event apps are a great way to direct attendees to a centralized location for all the information they need, and apps like Swurvey can design things like interactive “Meet the Sponsors” pages that provide great visibility for sponsoring companies that are a little more engaging than banner ads.

For big ticket sponsors, naming event sections or offering interactive stations can be a huge incentive. Music festivals have started doing this more and more recently, such as a special lounge with virtual reality demonstrations sponsored by HP at Coachella, or the chance to test drive a Toyota on an off-road course at Stagecoach Country Music Festival. Those are big ticket items, but the idea is easily scalable. Try offering free branded merchandise with sponsor logos to attendees during the event. Try to provide items that the guests would actually have a use for over the course of the event too to increase brand awareness.

Make sure that you’re making a profit.

This should go without saying, but it’s important when you’re building your sponsorship packages that you make sure you’re bringing more money in than you’re spending.  Sure, sponsorships aren’t entirely about the money; having good sponsors can also boost event attendance and strengthen partnerships, but, at the end of the day, you need that cash flow to put on the kind of event you’re advertising.

Say, for example, that you do offer advertising via an event app, but the app development is a much larger line item than you can afford at the low buy-in you’re asking from sponsors. This is a complicated process, and a bit of a balancing act, so make extra sure your numbers are lining up the way you want them to.

Did we miss anything? If we can answer any questions, or if you need help with your event, we’d love to hear from you! Click here to contact us.