Creating strong relationships with event sponsors is crucial for the event planning process. But where do you even begin? How do you connect with the right people who will take your event to the next level? Read below for a guide on crafting the perfect “love letter” to your potential sponsors.
Start by figuring out precisely what sponsors want. When you provide prospective event sponsors with a strong event plan and offer unique opportunities for them, they will have a harder time saying no. Creating an incentive for your sponsors that might go beyond the event itself can also be a critical deciding factor.
Here is a checklist that we created for attracting sponsors:
To begin, make a list of potential sponsors you feel are most likely to participate in your event. Consider your target audience and then focus on brands or businesses that would be interested in engaging with that audience. Then, think about the number of attendees you are expecting. For example, going after corporate sponsorship may not make sense for a small conference.
You increase your chances of a successful partnership by honing in on what your event is all about and what your addressable prospective sponsor audience might be.
Create sponsorship levels to make your event sponsorship request more polished and appealing. Offering various tiers of sponsorship opportunities will allow you to cast a wider net of prospective sponsors and exhibitors.
Be sure to create different names and contribution amounts for each level, and offer appropriate benefits accordingly. Benefits and incentives can include things like
When seeking sponsorships or exhibitors for an event, any potential event sponsor you approach must clearly understand your event’s goals. Nothing will help you more than hard data. Here are some examples of data points you can reference:
When making a sponsorship request for an event, share the desired big picture ‘end goal’ you hold for the event. These tactics give your prospective sponsors and exhibitors the details they need to make an informed decision and feel ‘in’ on your event goals. Inspire them to join your team!
Now that you have added the essential ingredients for a captivating event, it’s time to craft your event sponsorship request. Before sending your official sponsorship form or application, you need to send potential sponsors an introductory email that clearly identifies what you need.
This first email isn’t an information dump; instead, it’s more like an introduction to new potential sponsors you haven’t met yet. Conversely, a proposal is for sponsors with whom you may already have a relationship. Here are some tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way for writing both an introduction and proposal letter:
A warm greeting is always on the menu when meeting anyone with whom you want to establish a relationship. Be sure you know your audience by researching the business, company, or brand you are approaching. This is the part where Linkedin becomes your strong “go-to” for relevant details.
After looking at the company’s website, hop on Linkedin and decipher which employee is the best email contact for your correspondence. You will likely be sifted through a few employees before arriving in the right inbox. For the content of this introduction email, read below:
You will send proposal letters to people you are already familiar with and have worked with in the past. The goal of this letter is to set the intention for reacquaintance and to spark interest in your upcoming event.
Like the introductory letter, you will want to keep this pitch short and share only the relevant and vital details. If the business or individual has sponsored one of your events in the past, share a quick hit of stats reminding them of that event’s success. Because you are already familiar with this sponsor, you don’t have to work too hard to sell yourself. Just remind them how much you (and hopefully they!) enjoyed your previous partnership.
After sending your introduction or proposal, you will need to follow up. Similarly, follow up if you have met someone at a networking event or around town and think that person could be a good fit. You never know who might unexpectedly express interest!
It is best to follow up directly or in person. If someone has shown interest in event sponsorship, set a meeting. Call the appropriate employee and set a date. This allows you to go over your sponsorship package in person and show them exactly how they are the right fit for your event.
Remember to send a follow-up letter or email if you met a potential sponsor at an industry event or through a mutual connection. As always, keep the letter brief. If you have met before, remind them in detail of your conversation for context. Ask for their opinion on your event plans by requesting a 15-minute meeting or phone call. You can go over your packages and plans once you have gotten to know each other a little better.
Do not be afraid to be direct in your request for a face-to-face and give them a clear call to action. Pick a specific date and time and wait for a response. They will either accept that meeting, choose a new time, or say then and there that they aren’t interested, saving you both time and money.
One of the most essential elements of a sponsorship request comes after your event is over. Sending a thank you letter will not only show your sponsors your genuine appreciation it will also help build a relationship that secures funding for your future events. While showing your gratitude for their sponsorship, let them know what exactly you did to highlight their company or brand, the number of attendees you had, and any statistics relevant to your partnership. Be sure to send this thank you within a week of your event. Your thoughtful consideration will not go unnoticed!
Making a sponsorship request can feel overwhelming. It may take a hard ‘no’ or two before you find your perfect matches. But if you and your team follow the best practices laid out above, you’ll find that this systematic process will really yield results for your event.