Stop right there. Before you start thinking about sponsors and colors and times and invitations, you need to ask yourself a question. A very simple one:
Do I have the skills to pull this off, or is it going to be a train wreck?
If the little voice in your head screams “No! No! No!” – you need to quit pretending and call Nuila Events, LLC. Corporate or Non-profit, we can help. But before the lightning strikes the merry-go-round, get a pro to handle this event.
Now, if you’ve held an event before, you probably know how important a role sponsors play in event success. Sponsors can help with providing resources, marketing the event as well as help with overall participation of the event. But the reality is that securing a sponsor is much harder than you may perceive. Securing the right sponsor takes a mix of marketing strategy, relationship building and creative thinking. The real catch for many sponsors, before they decide to get involved, is what exactly is the plan? Think about it from a strictly business point of view. Any investor in a business would want to see a pro forma. In a way, your potential sponsor does too.
First, stand in the "buying" shoes
When you ask for sponsorship, don’t be surprised if things don’t go your way at first. Very seldom will companies give you money simply because you’re holding an event. Here is where having your plan for the event, and perhaps a successful partnership with a company that handles large events, will pay off. Companies invest only when they know they’ll get something in return. Therefore, try to think from a sponsor’s perspective when pitching them. Ask yourself the following questions before calling potential sponsors:
What’s the event objective and event program?
How is my company benefiting from sponsoring this event?
What’s the demographic of the target audience? Is it the same with my own customer base?
Why is this event unique from others?
Does my company have an opportunity to directly engage the event participants?
How about brand exposure, promotion rights, or exhibit booth?
Sponsors are not necessarily expecting monetary returns, but rather wanting to leverage events to create brand awareness and interact with customers. You have to think like a marketer and come up with a sponsorship package that’s appealing to buyers.
Second - Know WHEN and WHO to pitch
The process of applying for sponsorship is really time-consuming, especially when you’re approaching renowned brands. So start early and make sure to have plenty of time for your sponsorship campaign. If you have an urgent timeframe, then talking to the right person can make a great difference. Smart sponsorship advocates know the importance of figuring out who makes the final decision. You are going to have to get past the “gatekeeper” to get to the decision makers, and that just takes time. If time is of the essence, you need to figure out ways to get there quickly or look elsewhere.
Third - Target the right brands that suit your event "objective"
This is so obvious we shouldn’t have to say it, but every year, as professional event organizers, we hear the horror stories. Beer and alcohol companies asked to sponsor a carnival to help sick children. Barbecue sauces asked to sponsor vegetarian events. It seems like common sense, but as deadlines loom, sometimes the ideas get crazier and crazier. Simply put, don't collaborate with a sponsor that has an opposite value to the event you're hosting. Emphasizing the “fit” between your audience and your sponsors can tighten-up the event theme as a whole. Think of your event goal and target audience first, and then match the right businesses to collaborate with.
Fourth - Don't forget sponsor's employees
Studies indicate that employee involvement is becoming more and more crucial to businesses. Lots of businesses also invite employees to participate in volunteering or participating in corporate social responsibility activities. Therefore, when you are securing the right sponsors, don’t forget to ask for their employees’ involvement! For example, if you’re holding a running related event, have sponsors’ employees build a team and participate in the contest. Not only will you secure more attendees, but you also provide your sponsors a great chance for internal team-building activities.
Lastly - Creative Thinking!
The chart below showcases what sponsors care about when sponsoring an event.
Based on the above chart, one can see that brand exposure is definitely a ranked priority for businesses. But there is more to offer than brand exposure and a social media presence. You have to create exceptional value to your sponsors, think out-of-box, and explore every possibility. Possible choices could be guerilla marketing or even linking sponsors with event programs. If you don’t have the answer, that’s okay. They have a marketing department, start asking them!
A great example of going above and beyond for your sponsors would be Kohler, a bathing appliance company and the official sponsor of Bonnaroo, who brought a stunning shower experience into an event. Kohler provided two rows of container structures for private shower and clothes-changing. Kohler successfully promoted its products by satisfying the needs of event-goers. What a brilliant sponsorship idea! By looking at other successful venues such as Kohler’s, one can gather many great examples and ideas for their events.
Okay, the little voice in your head should really be working overtime now, and that’s what we’re here to do. We’ve been saving our clients from disastrous events for years, and we know that not everyone can be an expert like us.
No, seriously, we have helped clients out of some real dumpster fires.
You are an expert at what you do, Nuila Events is an expert at planning and executing amazing corporate and non-profit events. In fact why don’t you just tip –toe over to our website while the boss isn’t looking, reach out to us here, and let us help you figure out just how you are going to pull off that next amazing corporate event. You can find us on the Social Media of your choice, and isn’t it better to have somebody to guide you through this process than to try to map it out on your own?
We know. We help folks like you everyday.