How to effectively search and contact sponsors
April 13, 2018 |
by Lennart Hohneck
Conferences , Endurance , Exhibitions
Let’s all be honest: In our heads, we like to distort reality. This also applies to the planning of events: the decoration, the guests, the ambiance. We have an idea in mind. A quick reality check usually brings us back to the bottom of the facts. Especially when it comes to budget restrictions.
This is where sponsors play a role.
They can be decisive for the realization of your event.
But: before you start writing to sponsors, there is still a lot of work to do!
The first analysis
Before you look for sponsors for your event, you should be aware of a few things.
Because: You want to get money from your sponsors. In return, you should be able to tell them what you are offering them.
You should first get clear about the key data:
- When does the event take place?
- How much time do you have left?
- What still has to be done in this time? “Everything” is not an adequate answer here. If you are just at the beginning of your planning, create a rough overview (e.g. “Select location,”, “Plan staff”), which you fill in little by little with content and details.
- How much money do I need?
- How much money do I already have?
After you have answered these questions, you already have a better overview of your event. This will help you formulate your cover letter or prepare you for a direct conversation.
A detailed demand plan
After you know what you already have for your event and how far you are in your planning, you can decide what your sponsors should cover for you.
But differentiate between:
What do you want from your sponsors?
And what do you really need from them?
Of course, it would be great if your sponsors took over all the basic costs for your location.
But can your event take place differently? Because you have to offer the sponsors something worthwhile.
Tips on what you offer to which sponsor can be found in the next section.
The ingenious concept
Often, there are rules which define the type of sponsoring a company can get depending on their sponsoring level. This means that you will not have to negotiate or compromise on the hard facts.
The big pyramid problem
Simply writing to all sponsors in your area (or even remote ones) is pointless.
You’ll have to put a lot of time into the preparation. Many letters and e-mails will be formulated and send without a response. Therefore: develop a concrete concept, which you will present!
Based on your needs plan, you decide what you want from the respective sponsor:
- Tangible resources
- Know-how of the sponsor?
Here you can see: You can’t ask the same thing of every sponsor you have in mind.
Because some can’t even offer you what you need.
So save your breath and categorize the sponsors according to the resources you need and the services they can provide.
If you are looking for sponsors to provide you with funds and equipment, note that the sponsor’s budget must be correspondingly large. Because if your potential sponsor has little money at his disposal, he will hardly be able to give you anything of it.
Or want to.
This is why you should contact larger companies, for example. Since the sponsoring expenses for your event will not be very important for them, the inhibition threshold for a commitment is much lower.
The correct added value
Sponsoring is, in contrast to donating, a give and take: You get money from the sponsor and he expects something in return. This must, of course, provide a suitable added value for your sponsor. Given a partner with an affinity to the Internet, for example, you can promote your partnership through one of your social media channels.
You can offer other sponsors advertising space on your event tickets or decoration.
Therefore, look for a thematically suitable sponsor for each service. Offering a sponsor an inappropriate return with little to no added value for him or her quickly brings you a refusal.
And you wasted time again.
The appropriate consideration
One point you should consider is the scope of the consideration.
This depends on the means that the sponsor offers you. With a sponsor who will advise you, a month-long promotion of your partnership, e.g. via your homepage, would be too high.
Because what would you then offer to the sponsors, who would be available for larger funds?
The other way round: if your location is completely sponsored by someone, they want more than a short “And many thanks for sponsoring the location to eventbaxx” in the last sentence of your blog article.
So make this consideration clear when you write to sponsors.
The conditions of sponsorship must be defined for both sides right from the start.
The right sponsor
Now, after you are clear about all these points, the search for sponsors can start.
Consider the point that is already important in your concept: the sponsor’s budget.
Don’t stack too small.
Don’t be afraid to approach large companies!
They will have a larger marketing budget of which they can give you a share.
But always answer the following question before contacting us:
Does the image of the sponsor you want to write to fit you and your event?
If you are looking for partners, you can look for sponsors of events that are similar to yours. It will then be easier for you to show the thematic relevance.
Do also consider: Does the added value I offer the sponsor fit his profile and image?
Which sponsoring idea do I offer to this sponsor?
So, you have created suitable concepts for suitable sponsors.
Great! And now?
You sell your concept to the right person.
Find out exactly who is responsible for sponsoring.
As you should know, sponsorship is not always the same as marketing.
If you can’t find the right contact person: ask directly!
Best by phone – that’s the fastest way.
Because: Your concept, your event or your idea can be as good as it gets; if you present it to the wrong contact person, there’s only one thing he can do:
Because he has no authority to make such decisions.
Sometimes it’s not that difficult: on the Red Bull website, for example, you’ll find a contact form for sponsoring inquiries only.
As soon as you have found the right contact person you need to be concrete.
Talk to him or her directly. Enter a specific reason in the subject line.
Don’t hesitate to mention the word “sponsoring“.
Because the higher the relevance of your e-mail, the sooner the person responsible will look at it.
Also, make sure that you have entered your contact details in the signature when contacting sponsors via email:
- Times when they can reach you
Complete your e-mail with a clear definition such as “I will get back to you within the next 14 days”.
In this way, you have set a time frame that facilitates planning & communication with your potential sponsors.
Considering sponsors in your event planning is an important point of financing.
That’s why you should think about it early on.
Because, as you can see, good preparation is everything if you are really looking for sponsors.
You should be clear about the conditions of sponsoring and your event before you write to the sponsors.
Detailed sponsoring concepts and suitable offers require creativity, imagination and nerves.
Because not everyone to whom you send an offer will agree to it.
The search for sponsors can take several months.
But hold on: because it’s worth it!
How do you design the search for sponsors? And what are you offering them?