We recently published a blog post on tips for finding a good event sponsor. We hope you found it useful. While we were writing the post, it occurred to us that another post was warranted. This time specifically about the sponsorship package. What do we mean by that?
The sponsorship package is your “pitch” to potential supporters in order to convince them to invest in your event. It should feature not only a list of benefits the sponsor will enjoy but also strategies you will take to make this proposed partnership successful.
There is so much variation on what sponsors are offered when soliciting for event sponsorships. We’ve seen great examples and some not-so-great examples. Sponsorship is so critical to the success of your events. Why waste everyone’s time by offering a package that is unremarkable or even downright unacceptable?
The framework for a good sponsorship package should include:
- Event description including location, date, time, agenda, expected attendance
- Target audience personas Goals for a sponsor partnership
- Sponsorship details including marketing and promotion tactics
- Any marketing and promotional partnership requests
- Sponsorship benefits
- Sponsorship investment
- Event timeline with sponsorship actions highlighted
Let’s talk a little about each section.
The event description section should include basics like date, time, venue and agenda. Include any confirmed speakers, vendors and partners. If you have other sponsors, make sure to add in those details as well. Also, add in your expected attendance numbers, ticket prices, and your website URL and social media accounts.
Prospective sponsors want to know who will be attending your event so that they can be assured your guests are their target audience. Incorporate your marketing personas’ demographic and behavioral details that are important to your prospective sponsors in the pitch. For example, when a women’s leadership conference planner pitches a sponsorship package to a beauty brand, she should include persona details in the pitch around gender, age, income levels, and personal shopping habits. These details will help to convince the beauty brand that their target market will attend the event.
A good pitch will feature specific goals. Sponsorship is not just a transaction of funds. The best sponsorships are long-term partnerships. Each partner works together to meet common goals. Propose these goals at the start of your negotiation. They should absolutely reflect your event goals, as well as your prospective partner’s goals. For example, a good goal would be to meet and/or exceed a percentage of lead prospects based on final event attendance. Or, achieve a positive event ROI, not only for you as the event planner but also for the sponsor and their investment. Each goal should benefit both parties.
The next section is the fun section. This is where you can be creative. How will you highlight the sponsor not only at the event but also before and after? Outline all of your proposed plans including advertising and marketing campaigns, brand activations at the event, promotion on signage, digital platforms and apps, public relations campaigns, and influencer campaigns. Keep the prospect’s goals and targeted audience in mind when developing this proposal. What will drive the attendee to engage with this sponsor? How can you make your sponsors shine? Be creative yet authentic and leave room for negotiation with your prospect. Offer exclusivity whenever you can. Here are some examples of proposed details that might be interesting to a prospective sponsor:
- Hosting a sponsored live stream at your event
- Setting up a sponsored “quiet room” or lounge at your event
- Offering an exclusive sponsorship of your event app
- Promoting the sponsor CEO as the keynote speaker
- Offering an exclusive sponsorship of a meal or a snack break
- Offering a sponsored takeover of your event social media accounts
- Offering a sponsored Early Bird ticket sale for your event
The possibilities are truly endless. Dare to be different! Just remember that the package should always drive your event goals and your bottom line.
Next, list any requests you have for the prospective sponsor to partner with you on marketing and promotion. Build on your detailed plan above to make these requests so that it is clear to the partner why you are asking. For example, if you are proposing that the sponsor CEO act as your keynote speaker, you can ask that the sponsor promote that fact on their social media channels and to their customers via email with a call-to-action to attend the event. Cross-promotion is key to a successful partnership. Most sponsors understand that. Be as specific as possible in this section so that there are no surprises later.
Next on the list, using your sponsorship details in the section above, list the benefits your sponsor will enjoy. Frame these benefits in relation to both the goals for the event and for your partnership. Again be as specific as possible. Include your expected reach, impressions, and engagement rates on digital platforms, in advertising, PR, and expected in-person engagements. Try to think of both the short-term and long-term advantages to your prospect. And always bring the benefits back to your goals for the partnership.
Lastly, incorporate a complete timeline for your event partnership, detailing deadlines for confirmation and all launch dates for marketing, advertising, PR campaigns, ticket sales and anything else that is pertinent. It’s important to set clear expectations as to when the work needs to be done right upfront.
This framework can be customized for your event needs and for the needs of your prospective sponsors. If it makes sense to combine sections or delete sections altogether, go ahead and do so. The bottom line is that sponsorship is critical to event planning and we are experiencing an unprecedented amount of competition in securing those sponsorships. You can’t just leave the process of securing sponsors up to chance or to the processes we have used in the past. Using a strategic sponsorship package framework like this one is critical to the success of your events.