Event Marketing

How to Find the Best Sponsors for Your Event

Looking for tips on effective ways to increase your event budget? Getting sponsors for your event is a simple way to boost your bottom line and make your event stand out! By offering unique sponsorship opportunities to local organisations that fit perfectly with your brand, you’ll not only fund your events but also grow your sponsors’ businesses and build stronger relationships with them. Eager to learn how? Check out our detailed guide on how to get sponsors for an event to help put yours on the map!

How event sponsors can help you

Hosting a successful event is a team effort, and sponsors can help you achieve that! Simply put, a sponsorship is a partnership between you (the event organiser) and a company or individual who provides funding and/or resources, usually in exchange for visibility and other promotional opportunities at your event.

For one, sponsorship deals will give you a nice influx of cash to increase your budget and supplement your other revenue streams (ticket sales, merchandise, etc.). Sponsors can also help you reach a wider audience by promoting your event on their social media or by doing a ticket giveaway with their customers. Find creative ways to incorporate them into your different marketing strategies, and you’ll get more people to come to your event!

What type of sponsor is right for your event

Finding sponsors who’d be a perfect fit is the essential first step to successfully getting sponsors for your event. Here are some tried and true steps to help you in your initial research:

1. Determine your event’s target demographic

Your sponsors will want to ensure their target audience aligns with yours. To determine this, use answers from your registration questions at checkout to learn more about your ticket buyers. This could include a breakdown of your audience’s age, gender, location, and general interests. The more data you have, the better!

2. Compile the stats

Put together a sponsorship deck or document to highlight these attendee demographics as well as your various offerings (we’ll get to this in a moment). Based on your event’s expected attendance and online traffic via your social media, website, newsletter, etc., you can present hard numbers to your potential sponsors about how much exposure they’ll receive and how many new leads they could gain. In this initial stage, this’ll help you determine the ideal size of the businesses you’ll target and later you can use these stats in your pitches to them.

3. Put together your list of potential sponsors

Think about what kinds of companies would want to connect with your audience. If you have a niche audience, look for companies that match those interests (like an indie artist partnering with a local radio station for their concert). If you have a larger audience with a wide range of interests, focus on organisations that are looking for brand awareness and want to promote heavily. Local businesses like restaurants and utility companies can be a great fit here. As a rule of thumb, smaller events are the perfect outlet for small business partnerships, while larger events may be better suited for corporate sponsors.

a. Use your network

Increase your odds of getting a sponsorship by starting with the people on your list who you already know. An established relationship can go a long way towards getting a yes. If you get a no, that’s alright! Use it as an opportunity to get feedback on how you can be more appealing to sponsors, increasing your success with future pitches.

b. Pinpoint your community’s heavy hitters

Research local organisations who are popular locally or are actively promoting themselves. You could also investigate who tends to sponsor other events in your area, or even stop their vendor booths yourself at other local events like festivals, fairs, markets. That way, you can network with potential sponsors in person, so when you reach out to them, they’ll remember your conversation!

c. Find sponsors online

Don’t underestimate the power of a simple Google search! By doing so, you can target organisations that align with your mission. You can see what events they might already be sponsoring and who to contact about sponsoring yours. Plus, you may come across partnership suggestions that you might not have come up with yourself. 

What kind of sponsorships you should offer

Want to know how to get sponsors for an event? It’s no secret – offer irresistible sponsorship packages! For example, if you’re hosting a beverage festival, giving a local brewery the chance to show off their latest brews is a match made in heaven. By showing prospects that you’ve done your homework and already have effective sponsorship ideas like these lined up, you’ll gain the confidence of sponsors and land some awesome deals! 

Custom sponsorship placements

Think about your event’s unique experiences and how you can incorporate potential sponsors into them in a natural way. Consider giving them a booth onsite to interact with attendees, collect their contact info, and convert them into future customers. Use their company’s name and logo across your event’s signage and promotional materials to increase brand visibility. You could also use their logo on merchandise, drinking cups, handheld fans, or even a photo booth with the sponsor’s name printed out on the photo.

Consider what your attendees may really want too! Branded art installations, sponsored cooling stations on a hot summer day, or a meal provided by your sponsor are sure hits, leaving attendees with a positive impression of your sponsor’s brand. 

Tiered sponsorships

With tiered sponsorships, your sponsor can determine what price suits them and, in exchange, how much their brand is used throughout the event. A lower tier might offer brand placements in your newsletters and promotional materials or a shoutout on social media. With higher tiers comes greater visibility, like sponsoring a happy hour or your performance lineup. They could even take advantage of a title sponsorship, if they want to go all out for your event!

Non-monetary sponsorships

While sponsorships typically money, they might offer other resources or perks instead in exchange for exposure at your event. If you’re in need of a caterer, consider finding a local food truck to feed your attendees in exchange for free event promotion. Work with a local radio station to help spread word about your event in exchange for a booth at your venue. The recipe for the perfect sponsorship is one that lets you use each others’ strengths and meet each other’s needs.

How to approach sponsors

Now you know how to find sponsors for an event as amazing as yours, but how do you convince them to partner with you? One of the trickiest parts of landing sponsorships is figuring out the best way to approach potential partners. An email is a great way to start the conversation, but you’ll need to put in some effort to make sure yours is at the top of their inbox (especially because business owners and other decision makers get tons of requests and pitches every day). Here are some questions to consider so you can cut through the noise and get the response you’re looking for:

  • Who? – Know who to email. At large companies, it’s often the marketing team who makes the decisions about sponsorships, so contact them directly. In the case of smaller businesses, you’ll want to reach out to the owner or general manager.
  • What? – Give a brief description of your event (including the planned date and location) and its goals.
  • Why? This is the most important part of your email. Tell them why they should sponsor your event. This initial email is not the place to focus on yourself or a specific dollar amount, but rather what your prospective sponsor will be getting out of the partnership. Be as specific as possible about what you can deliver.
  • How? – Show the organisation that you’ve chosen them for a reason and that you have a good understanding of what they do. Give them a taste of the ideas you have in mind for this partnership and they’ll see that you’ve put some thought into your decision to reach out to them.

Keep your letter short and sweet, including only the most important details. That way, you'll have more luck in getting sponsors for your event to read your entire email. Also, consider your audience when determining the tone of your email. You want to be polite and friendly, but there’s no need to be overly formal—especially if you’re reaching out to someone you already know.

Starting a relationship with your sponsor

You emailed everyone on your list and all that hard work paid off — you got a response! Now is the time to grow that relationship. If possible, try to meet with them face-to-face, ideally in-person or through a video call. To help ensure this meeting is a success, prepare your answers to anticipated questions about your sponsorship proposal. This might include pricing options, event logistics about where their logo and name will be seen, or how the sponsor will benefit from working with your event. Having an event day checklist can make this discussion easier as well. To help, here are the top questions your sponsors will want answered:

What is the cost per reach? (And what does that mean?)

‍The total cost of sponsoring your event is important, but sponsors are more interested in how much they are paying per attendee. The more aligned your attendees are with their target demographic, the more potential sponsors will be willing to spend.

What are the additional costs in sponsoring your event?

To make the most out of this partnership, sponsors need to spend more than just the check they write to your event. When sponsors spend money on independently promoting and marketing sponsorships, it’s called sponsorship activation. This includes finding PR opportunities before the event, giving out swag, displaying banners at the event, and building a booth. Being aware of and showing sponsors that you understand these activation costs is reassuring to sponsors.

Does your event match their company’s core values?

One of a business owner’s priorities is to uphold their company’s values and ensure their partners do the same. This sponsorship proposal is your chance to demonstrate how your organisation’s unique story aligns with their company’s values, and explain how your audience matches their target market. 

Are there any indirect benefits?

‍If a company sponsors your event, will they get any added bonuses in return? For example, you could give away tickets to your event. If you have a celebrity speaker or performer, they could pass those free tickets on to their VIP clients, extending the effectiveness of their sponsorship.

Making those relationships last

Once you’ve scored your sponsorships (congrats!) and your event has come and gone, sponsors will be thinking about how beneficial their partnership with you was, and whether they’d like to invest into your future events. Did you give them what you promised? Did they gain contacts of potential new customers thanks to your event? Did you follow up right after the event?As the event organiser, it’s your responsibility to ensure your sponsors will be taken care of well after your event ends. Keep in touch with them to show you appreciate their business and in case they’d like to support your other events in the future. As part of your post-event strategy, send them an occasional email during your event’s off-season (like around the holidays) to keep you in the back of your sponsor’s mind. This’ll make reaching back out to them for another sponsorship easier. With these established relationships, you’ll know exactly how to find sponsors for an event in the future!

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