How to Build Relationships with Sponsors
A major part of planning and executing an event is gaining sponsors. These businesses and individuals will contribute money and sometimes in-kind donations to support your event and potentially a cause it’s benefiting. Yet, it can be a tough process to snag enough sponsors, especially when you have multiple and annual events. But when you know the key to successful event sponsorship, you can gain a built-in list of supporters you can turn to again and again.
What’s the key? It’s about building positive sponsor relationships. So how do you create sponsor relationships that keep them coming back to your brand?
Search for the Right Sponsors
If you want long-term sponsors, don’t reach out to just anyone. Instead, do research on potential sponsors to see if they’ll be a good fit for your organization and event. The best chance you’ll have of building a strong relationship and keeping a sponsor is to find one that is in line with your mission. Then, you’re both staying true to your brands and can cross-promote -- plus, you're giving more value to the same audience.
Discover Ways to Incorporate the Brand Into the Event
Instead of only putting your sponsor’s name on some event marketing materials and programs, try to come up with methods to integrate your sponsor into the experience – at least for a small number of top sponsors. You could work with interested sponsors to figure out how to make their products or a presentation part of the event. For example, serve a sponsor’s food or have a station where event goers can try products. When you find ways to include a sponsor, you encourage lasting trust and loyalty.
Offer Varying Sponsorship Levels
By creating different sponsorship price points and benefits, you can make everyone happy. You’ll be able to satisfy smaller brands with a limited budget while providing better perks to the big guns. Brands will be happier to work with you when they can choose from different types of sponsorship to best fit their needs and goals. You could even consider customized benefits to ensure that certain brands have the right sponsorship experience.
Focus on What They Get Out of It
On the hunt for sponsors, it’s smart to focus on the benefit to a brand rather than making a plea for help. Sponsorship tends to be a mutually beneficial concept, which you should embrace. Tell potential sponsors about how they’ll be supporting your event while gaining perks in the process. Make sure you create strong benefits to becoming a sponsor for your event, and then promote those benefits.
For example, the sponsor could gain brand visibility by having its name printed on materials and included in advertising and social media promotion. Try to offer different types of promotion to help your sponsor achieve prime exposure out of the deal. Maybe you could allow brands to make a presentation or give away products at the event. If possible, you might be able to offer a top brand the chance to be the only sponsor out of their competition. To have the most success at this, it’s important to try to understand what the sponsor would want to achieve and help the brand do that.
If you can make brands happy that they sponsored your event through benefits and positive results, they’ll want to return on their own for next year or the next event. Put effort into finding the right sponsors and providing the right perks, and you’ll gain repeat sponsors that are exciting about working with you year after year.