Organising and hosting an event such as a conference or a charity ball can be quite a challenge. One of the most crucial aspects of the planning process is getting event sponsorship, which requires you to use irresistible offers and creativity along with your relationship and networking skills.
It is important to put yourself in the shoes of the sponsor and ask yourself:
- Why should I sponsor your event?
- How will I benefit?
- Does your event fit my company image and my customer base?
- Will my company be participating in the event?
When you can answer these questions effectively and irresistibly, you are ready to arrange sponsorship meetings.
Straight to the Top
When you decide to go to any company for sponsorship or any sort of advertising for your event, you should go straight to the top. It is best to ask for meetings with supervisors who have the authority to make decisions about sponsorship before setting up a meeting or pitch date. This will save both you and the sponsor valuable time and energy.
Lead with a Large Sponsorship
In many books that talk about persuasion and negotiating tactics, you will see the same concept: “reciprocity”. The idea is that you should start any negotiations with a large request, in this case, the largest sponsorship available.
If your potential sponsor accepts it, then you are in the clear; however, if they decline it, you have the upper hand. You can then ask for a smaller sponsorship that seems more suited to their budget. They will often feel that the second offer you make is a reasonable offer, even if it is higher than they anticipated since you led with a much larger proposal.
A proposal requesting sponsorship is quite standard, and a template is a great way to save time; however, it is a good idea to customiseyour proposal for each sponsor. It is important to localise the requests to each business or individual sponsor, to make them more targeted and effective.
You should try to create mockups of the event with their logo or branding in several styles and locations. This will allow them to visualise how their sponsorship will actually look. People tend to be more willing to offer sponsorship if you have a physical representation that they can use to see their money in action.
It is usually a good idea to have an ace up your sleeve in case your pitches seem to be less effective than planned. Many potential sponsors often come to the edge of accepting, then back out because it does not seem worth it. Having a secret weapon such as an additional service or offer that you can “throw on the table” can be just the thing that they need to make the decision to sponsor your event.
Make Closing Quick and Easy
Whenever you go to a pitch meeting, you should enter with the mindset that you will sell the sponsorship since it makes you appear more confident. It will also make the sponsorship that you are selling seem more appealing. Before you conclude your meeting and you have used your secret weapons to get that ever important “yes,” you need to seal the deal.
It is usually best to seal the deal before you leave because if they decide to withdraw their acceptance before any documents are signed, you will be left out in the cold. You should have copies of the sponsorship contract drawn up and ready for signing to make closing easy.