One of the most uncomfortable problems planners deal with is finding people or companies who'd be interested in financially supporting their event. Why is it so uncomfortable?
The truth of the matter is that most of us just aren't eager to ask other people for money, especially when you don't know how to do it, or if you lack the proper 'hunting tools'.
But as uncomfortable as it is, it’s necessary if you want to find an alternative way to increase your budget. As eventplanner.tv founder Kevin Van der Straeten notes in his book EVENTS, "This is unquestionably the most widely-used method for reducing the costs for event participants."
The big question is how you are doing it. You most likely use an event presentation template and are prepared to impress potential investors with vivid details of all the great things you have prepared for the attendees. You’re also probably ready to promise them prominent logo placement in your materials (such as your event program, brochures, etc.). After all, this is what they want, right? Think again.
As Kevin explains, "The possibilities for sponsoring even in these difficult times are not always fully exploited. It is important never to lose sight of the possible ROI for your sponsors. Why should they sponsor your event? What's in it for them? A mention on your flyer or a logo in your folder is no longer enough. Think hard about how you can create value for your sponsor."
To help you be more creative in your search for financial support, here's a list of tips to help you attract new sponsors:
Tip #1. Help your sponsors find prospect clients during your event
A strategical step for your event would be to invite a few hosted buyers and schedule meetings with those buyers and your sponsors. There's nothing more appealing for your sponsors than to take advantage of the environment you are providing and create new prospects for their businesses. Keep in mind that you may have to pay travel and accommodation costs for some buyers, but it's worth the investment if it means attracting new sponsors.
Tip #2. Design a powerful promotion platform for your sponsors
Forget about plastering your event in logos. This doesn't work anymore and provides almost no value to your sponsors. Instead, try a different approach and efficiently intermediate the communication between your attendees and your sponsors’ products or services. Consider blocking off some time slots during your event for guests to engage in different experiences that involve the sponsors' products. For example, if a virtual reality company is financing your event, you could encourage your audience to immerse themselves in another dimension and experience the gadget your sponsor wants to sell.
Tip #3. Promote your sponsors' content on your event site
Another way to add value to your (potential) financial supporters is to increase the natural traffic of their websites. You can do so by offering to publish their content (articles, eBooks, blog posts, etc.) on your online platform. This way, you'll help them increase their online visibility and promote their brand.
Tip #4. Invite your sponsors to speak at your event
Offer your (potential) financial supporters the chance to co-create your event and be part of the keynote speakers list. This will give them the opportunity to speak to a large audience, explain their product, and increase the brand awareness of their businesses.
Tip #5. Organize meaningful B2B meetings for your sponsors
Your event can be a great networking opportunity for your potential financial supporters. Focus on helping them find new collaborations, employees or volunteers, or even sponsorships by scheduling B2B meetings between them and your attendees. You will add incredible value to their companies and help them build new, significant connections.
Call to action
Whenever you are about to pitch your event to potential sponsors, your main focus should be on highlighting the benefits they’ll gain from financing you. Make a list of the things you can offer them. Prepare a solid argument in favor of your event and explain how financing your event will positively influence their business and increase their brand awareness and revenue. Talk less about yourself and your (financial) needs and more about their gains, and design your communication based on what they may want.