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Mar 14, 2017 · 3 min read

What are the criteria to find sponsors for your event?

What are the criteria to find sponsors for your event?

Running events isn’t easy, and sometimes you’ll need all the help you can get. Sponsorships from local or even large businesses are a great way to help you out.

But obtaining a sponsorship isn’t easy. It takes time, relationship-building and nuance in navigating what could potentially be a little bit of a minefield.

When it comes to sponsorships, it pays to do a lot of research beforehand. Here’s what you should know:

Don’t ask just anyone to be a sponsor

This is one of the mistakes organisations make when approaching sponsors: they’re just looking for anybody that has some cash to help fund an event.

Instead, think carefully about who you want as a sponsor. Which brands will align with your organisation? Which values do you share, if any, and how can you cross-promote the goals of both organisations?

Additionally, you also need to think about the theme of your event and which sponsors would best fit that theme.

It’s a give-and-take relationship

Sponsors aren’t going to always approach your event and offer you cash out of the goodness of their heart. Like any customer or client, they want something – so be prepared to offer them that something straight away.

Is that branding on event invitations, or at the event itself? Is it access to a list of attendees who can then be used for marketing?

For businesses, a sponsorship is a form of promotion so they need to see they’re getting something back from their investment. The more concrete offer you have for them in writing, the more organised you are, and the more likely you’re going to win a sponsor.

Make them feel involved

Like any customer, a sponsor wants to know they have a good relationship with you. Don’t just ask for some cash and then run away. Instead, build up the relationship – spend some time speaking with the owners, figuring out what their needs are, and see in what ways you can offer some help.

Partnerships with local businesses, for instance, can last a long time – even decades. Be sure to put the effort into making your sponsors feel they are trusted partners. Update them on the event and what’s happening, give them regular communication on how preparations are going.

They’re more likely to be emotionally attached to your events if you do, and will go the extra mile to help you out.

Start with local businesses

The quickest way to get good sponsors is to approach decision-makers. The first place to look is through your own business network – Linkedin does a great job of helping you find anyone who might be able to help.

If you have no luck there, try approaching local businesses first. Smaller businesses in the area will be easier to deal with, and the owners will be more accessible. Try directories to find businesses in your area who you think might align with your events, and then approach them to talk about what you can offer each other.

Be clear on expectations

Some event organisers view sponsorships as charity – they aren’t. They’re a business deal, and as such, they need a lot of care and attention. Make sure you have a written agreement drawn up, checked for legal cracks if necessary, and signed. Everyone’s expectations need to be crystal clear from the beginning.

Doing this might seem a little awkward, but it protects both you and the sponsor if things go wrong. And if you have a good sponsor they’ll be all the more willing to do so.

Follow up between events

Like any relationship, sponsors need nurturing. When you haven’t spoken with them for a while, keep them updated. Ask how they’re doing, what they’re up to, and see if you can help them out. The best sponsors are ones who will go out of their way to help you and come up with new ideas. Remember, you might think sponsors are only good for you – but you can help them as well. Keep in touch for any potential partnerships that might pop up during the year. 

Good luck finding the perfect sponsors!

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