So, you have an upcoming special event and you want to seek sponsors, and now you are wondering how to develop sponsorship opportunities that make sense and that inspire businesses to support you.
Well, when I advise my clients on how to develop sponsorships, one thing that I urge them to do is to consider the benefits of any given sponsorship level and to ensure that they are experiential rather than transactional meaning that they are focused less on the tickets and more on the experiences provided.
Here is what I recommend:
1) Consider higher levels of sponsorship. Rule of thumb: Assume that you will raise at least 50% of your overall fundraising goal through sponsorships (if not more). Thus, if you want to raise $25,000 from your event, your sponsorship goal should be in the $12,500+ range.
2) Come up with more creative names for event sponsors rather than Lead, Community, Silver, Gold, etc. maybe “Partner in Hope,” “The Great Gatsby,” etc. Think out of the box and use your organization’s mission and cause as a framework. Don’t be borning with naming opportunities.
3) Enhance your top-level sponsor benefit packages with things such as:
- Exclusive sponsor branding based on their interests and discussions
- Corporate executive to speak at the event or be recognized on stage
- VIP tent staging day of the event
- Corporate naming rights for one of the event areas i.e., stage, mile markers, water stops (already existing), etc.
- Using corporate logo on all event materials beyond i.e. walker registration forms, posters, fact sheets, etc.
- Radio spots or joint appearances
- Give them some form of event VIP participation i.e., employee walk team, volunteer opportunities, etc.
- The inclusion of a sponsor representative as an event chair or co-chair or at least part of the committee
- CEO photo and welcome message on the event page of the website or other event materials
- Provide sponsor related walk incentive or giveaways
- Included in all event “day of” event PR
- Company offering promo items and sampling at their tent.
- Use of your brand logo on their company e-communications and print communications to employees, their PR, etc.
4) In sponsorship materials, note who the target audience is and what access they will have to them i.e., what is in it for them? Are they reaching their target audience to market to? Remember corporate sponsorships are all about “What is in it for me as a business?”
5) In addition to the Gold, Silver, and Bronze levels (or something more inspiring, see #1 above), you may want to think about having sponsors for such things as your VIP Cocktail Reception, VIP Auction Preview, Beverage Sponsor especially if you are offering an open bar, Dinner Sponsor, Entertainment Sponsor, Dessert sponsor, Program Sponsor, Décor Sponsor, Table Wine Sponsor, Host Bar Sponsor, etc.
The most important thing to remember is that nothing is off limits and think expansively about your possible sponsorship opportunities. Don’t limit to the traditional if you can package them in such a way that will inspire a business to want to sponsor.
6) Don’t forget or shall I say this should go without saying, but offer the entire event itself to a Title or Event Sponsor. This is usually an exclusive sponsorship offered to one company, sometimes, perhaps two shared jointly as a Co-Sponsorship, and is the top level of sponsorship with the highest price tag attached.
7) Don’t forget to offer in-kind sponsorship levels for such things as Media Partners who provide media coverage in exchange for recognition.
8) Remember that the details and logistics of the event will drive the possible sponsorship opportunities that can be made available. And, oftentimes theme can be a driver of possible sponsorship opportunities and level names.
9). Think about offering “Category Exclusivity” to your sponsorship levels even beyond the Title or Event Sponsor. Category exclusivity provides a level of interest to a business if they know they will be the only type of business marketing to your audience.
10) Be able to estimate and capture key metric impressions to show the value of sponsorship at each level. Again, sponsors want to know “What is in it for me?” And, being able to demonstrate the marketing impact to an audience that they may be interested in reaching is a tremendous motivator for a sponsor.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to custom tailor a sponsorship package to meet a top-level potential sponsors needs.
So, there you have the ten simple steps needed to establish your sponsorship levels for your next special event. Don’t forget that this is more than a philanthropic consideration for a business, it is a marketing one. Design your sponsorship opportunities with this fact in mind.