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Sponsorships can feel like a daunting task when it comes to raising funds for your event, both corporate and nonprofit alike. Having sponsors is the lifeblood to many events and important to understand why to have these partnerships.
When starting out in developing a good sponsorship ratio, our philosophy is that your sponsorship dollars cover the expenses of your event. Your income from ticket sales or fundraising activities and any “other” income generating areas are applied to your net revenue.
It is bad practice to wait until your event day, in hopes that you made enough to pay your catering bill.
Assuming you currently have an event that has sponsors, let’s look at ways to increase or maximize your current sponsorship line up. Here are 3 things you can do to maximize your sponsorship dollars with existing sponsors.
Make sure you are going after marketing dollars.
This is especially common in the nonprofit arena who is typically looking for donations or foundation funds. As an organization you are providing marketing to a specific demographic that companies want to market to, not donate to. Whether you are a corporation or nonprofit, know your demographic. Make sure you are collecting information from your attendees so you know who they are. The more you know about them, the more you can increase your packages to attract the right sponsors to market to the right the people.
You are never out of sponsorship opportunities.
Don’t base your sponsorship opportunities off a checklist of ideas. Talk with your sponsors and understand what is important to them and then find a way to bring them in that meets their goals. Use your list of opportunities as a resource, not a final checklist and once they’re all gone they’re gone.
For example, I had a client tell me once they turned a company down interested in sponsoring their event because they were out of sponsorships at the level they were interested. Instead of coming up with a creative way to incorporate them at their desired level, they chose to offer them a lower level sponsorship and lost out on raising more dollars. Never say NO to Money!!
There is always a way to give a sponsor something outside of the box. If you are having a hard time coming up with ideas, use your team to brainstorm creative opportunities that don’t live on the list.
I had a client mention during an event planning meeting that they had a sponsor request a specific area to sponsor and a set dollar amount they were willing to give. The dilemma was another sponsor had already spoken for this area. The response was to offer the sponsor a lower dollar table sponsorship instead. I suggested instead of giving up the higher dollar offering and compromising on a lower one, why not create a new item to sponsor that would appeal to the sponsor? Instead of a photo booth, they were given an elevator sponsorship. This included a branded backdrop, elevator hosts taking selfies as guests traveled upstairs and social media posts linked to a feed on big screens in the main ballroom. The sponsor was thrilled and as already reserved this for next year!
Next time you’re having a conversation with your existing or new sponsor, be sure to stay creative, ask questions and most of all don’t say NO to money!
Danielle Snelson | CEO | Sona Events | firstname.lastname@example.org