How to get sponsors for an event

Have you ever considered getting your event sponsored? It could be a brilliant way to forge new partnerships, alleviate some of the costs of your event and enhance the experience of your attendees. However, if you’re new to it, the world of sponsorship may seem a little overwhelming. Who should you approach for sponsorship? What should you ask for in return? How will the relationship with a sponsor work? You’ll need to ask yourself a lot of questions and do your research before making any decisions and the following list of considerations is a great starting point.

What is a sponsor?

A sponsor is another company that pays for, or contributes towards, the costs of your event in return for advertising. The partnership might not actually see any money change hands, but instead the sponsor may provide goods or services either directly to you or your guests.

Who should you approach?

Sit down with your team and think about your event’s core values, purpose and identity. Then brainstorm other brands which share or complement these. Catering companies or businesses that can offer products or services that will benefit your attendees should go on the list, as should potential sponsors who share the same target demographic as your invitees. 

How to approach sponsors for an event

Make sure you know exactly what you want from anyone you approach and what it is you’re offering in return. The relationship between event and sponsor is hugely varied depending on the dynamic of the two companies. It’s important to neither over- nor under- value your position within during negotiations.

Benefits of a company sponsoring an event

If you’ve done your homework on the companies you’re approaching for sponsorship it will be a good match. This means you can be confident you’re offering them targeted advertising to an already engaged audience. Your invitees will trust you and your brand, so aligning themselves with you should be a sure-fire way to tap into some warm leads. It’s also a chance for both you and your potential sponsor to create a relationship that could have future benefits for both parties, so don’t worry if you get a knock back this time as there could be other opportunities further down the line.

How to display sponsors for an event

There are lots of places you can display your sponsor’s information or branding at your event. It’s important to have decided on the options before you approach anyone as this is an integral part of the ‘sell’. Always talk to your venue about their facilities so you aren’t making any promises you can’t keep, plus, they may have some ideas you’ve not yet thought of.

  • Signage – this could include welcome signs and directions to talks in different spaces
  • Promotional goods – think pens, mugs and notepads for people to use on the day
  • Goodie bags – treats for guests to take away with them. This is a great way to keep your attendees thinking about your event and your sponsors after the day is over
  • Digital displays in the venue – a great way to also brighten up blank spaces and infuse your event with your brand and your sponsors’ information
  • OHP and projector displays before and after talks/seminars
  • Physical graphic displays during network events
  • Verbal mentions during speeches – having someone from your team personally thanking your sponsors will help build the trust between them and your guests
  • Logos on pre- and post-marketing material – joint marketing material will help show your invitees that the partnership between you and your sponsor runs deep

Goals and targets

Make sure you and your sponsor have clear ideas of how you plan to measure the success of the partnership. The last thing you want is a partnership that ends in disappointment because of crossed wires. It might be that the intention is simply to have exposure to your guests, there’s nothing wrong with this, but just make sure you aren’t suddenly expected to provide data or access to your guestlist if this isn’t something you’re happy with (or is prohibited by the new GDPR rules).

When to pitch for sponsors

Timing is everything. Approaching a company at the end of their financial year with a short notice turn around for your event isn’t likely to end well, so try and think about sponsorship opportunities at the beginning of the planning journey. If there’s a genuine reason a company can’t get involved due to their budgets, make sure you keep the budding relationship going as they might be able to offer you something in the future.

Getting sponsorship for your next W12 Conferences event

Speak directly to the Event Management Team here at W12 to understand more about the advertising opportunities you can offer potential sponsors at your next event at our West London conference venue. Our experienced team can offer you lots of advice and support wherever you are on the planning journey. You can reach them on 020 3313 1606.