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Acquiring Corporate Sponsors and Mastering Sponsorship Levels for Successful Fundraising

Written by
Jaclyn Risser
April 3, 2024
5 mins
A team working on their sponsorship levels

Identifying and acquiring event sponsors is a critical component when planning a fundraising event. What are sponsorship levels, and how do you set them up effectively? This element of event planning defines the scope of partnership opportunities for the right event sponsors. This article will discuss how to identify event sponsors, pitch your ask, categorize event sponsorship package, offer effective incentives at each tier, and satisfy both your event needs and your sponsors’ expectations while steering clear of common pitfalls.

Key Takeaways

  • Selecting the right sponsors is crucial and involves aligning sponsors with the event’s goals and values, considering in-kind contributions, and accommodating local businesses when applicable.
  • In order to provide value to sponsors, an event sponsorship package should be customizable, showcase sponsors’ products or services, and clearly outline a path to measurable ROI.
  • Understanding and establishing clear levels are essential to set realistic goals, diversify event revenue sources, and offer event sponsorship inclusivity for various financial capacities.

Identifying the right sponsors

Potential sponsors at an event

Choosing the right event sponsors is not a one-size-fits-all process. It’s a strategic operation that requires a deep understanding of your event’s goals and values. Potential sponsors should align with these values. For instance, an eco-friendly event may find it beneficial to partner with businesses that practice sustainability. And, of course, the more the sponsor’s audience aligns with your event’s demographics, the better. This alignment not only ensures that sponsors understand the value of event marketing but also boosts your event’s success.

As an event organizer, the role of research can’t be understated. Identifying potential sponsors whose corporate goals align with your cause can help establish lasting partnerships. Furthermore, the location of your event could also influence event sponsorship options. Local events may appeal more to businesses with a strong local presence.

When it comes to in-kind event sponsorships, careful selection is key. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Avoid potential conflicts with paying sponsors
  • Align with the event’s values and audience
  • Partner with established companies to lend credibility and brand recognition to your event

By following these guidelines, you can make your event even more attractive to prospective sponsors and secure event sponsorships with an event sponsor.

Aligning sponsor benefits with their objectives

How can you ensure your event provides value to potential sponsors? The key lies in building event sponsorship packages that align with their interests and goals. Offering customizable event sponsorship package options, including a la carte choices and trial deals, can make your proposal more attractive to potential sponsors.

In-kind sponsorships can be particularly beneficial. They allow sponsors to showcase their products or services, leading to extended exposure and potentially additional purchases. Some benefits of in-kind sponsorships include:

  • Extended exposure for sponsors’ products or services
  • Potential for additional purchases from event attendees
  • Clear path to ROI, such as through travel accommodations or prominently displayed digital signage at the event

Corporate sponsors are more likely to engage in partnerships when they see these clear benefits.

In-kind sponsorships

In-kind event sponsorship is a unique form of support where companies provide goods or services to your event instead of monetary investment. Such a partnership can be mutually beneficial, lowering event costs while enhancing the sponsor’s business visibility.

Securing a food sponsor, for example, can boost event attendance and encourage participant interaction, enhancing the overall event experience. It’s a win-win situation: the sponsor gets exposure, and your event gets an attractive feature that draws in event attendees.

Digital ads on a busy street

Digital assets and virtual experiences

In the digital age, overlooking the power of digital assets and virtual experiences is a missed opportunity. Some examples of digital assets and virtual experiences that are integral for brand exposure in event sponsorship packages include:

  • Banner ads
  • Social media posts
  • Social media ads
  • Email marketing inclusions
  • Digital swag

These elements can greatly enhance brand visibility and engagement.

Virtual experiences can also be a great way to involve sponsors. Offering virtual tours, online workshops, and bespoke digital content during events can drive sponsor engagement. Gamification techniques, such as attendee achievement badges and online contests, can further boost engagement while featuring the sponsor's logo and branding.

Opportunities like displaying their logo on your event site, display screens in the room, and auction item cards are all great options to increase exposure and utilize digital assets.

A group of professionals meeting together to discuss a proposal

Approaching Potential Sponsors

The approach to acquiring ideal sponsors requires a certain finesse. Personalizing your approach by demonstrating how your event aligns with their goals and values can significantly increase the chances of securing a partnership. Crafting a tailored event sponsorship pitch that addresses the specific needs and objectives of each potential sponsor can help you present a compelling case for a sponsorship package. To achieve this, it’s essential to develop a well-structured event sponsorship proposal that highlights the benefits for both parties.

Securing sponsorships hinges greatly on effective communication. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Prompt replies to emails and messages
  • Polite follow-ups
  • Ongoing communication to strengthen the relationship and keep the sponsorship package on the potential sponsor’s radar.

Strategic outreach can also play a pivotal role in successful events. Event organizers can reach out to sponsors from related events, as these sponsors are likely to understand the value of event sponsorship and have audiences that align with your event’s target market. Offering a variety of options at once through a calendar of events can be more effective than sending out individual requests.

a group of people working on a project

Tailoring your pitch

A pitch that is tailored to potential sponsors necessitates a profound comprehension of their current objectives and recent activities. This could include leadership changes, major business events, or product launches. By customizing your event sponsorship pitch to address each sponsor’s unique interests and objectives, you can enhance the attractiveness of your proposal.

A persuasive tailored pitch encompasses specific details like:

  • the event’s narrative
  • its mission
  • audience demographics
  • a lucid outline of the required funding

As an organizer, it’s also crucial to maintain the quality of the attendee experience, which may sometimes mean declining sponsorship package requests that conflict with the event’s interests.

This demonstrates the preservation of the event’s integrity, a factor which can be highly attractive to potential sponsors.

Understanding Sponsorship Package

Sponsorship package and benefits

Fully realizing your event’s potential is tied to understanding an ideal sponsorship package. These levels allow you to set realistic goals, attract donors and businesses, and accommodate various financial capacities of sponsors.

Establishing pre-determined sponsorship types can help event organizers predict the number of sponsors needed to support event costs effectively. Moreover, differentiated sponsorship offerings can reduce reliance on ticket sales for event revenue, leading to more accessible pricing and wider event attendance.

The purpose of having different levels

Sponsorship options serve a purpose beyond mere classification. They provide a variety of options catering to sponsors with different budget capacities, including media sponsors and past sponsors.

Employing a tiered model for sponsorship packages ensures inclusivity for organizations of multiple sizes. This flexibility not only caters to a wider range of sponsor opportunities but also facilitates opportunities for creative collaborations, enhancing the event and offering valuable benefits to sponsors.

Factors influencing sponsorship packages

Several factors influence your levels. The type of event, the size and market alignment of the target audience, and the needs and goals of a potential sponsor all play a part.

Therefore, careful pricing of corporate sponsorship and packages is necessary to strike a balance between the estimated value provided and the financial capacity of ideal sponsors.

Sponsorship plans, composed by classifying benefits according to their value and prestige, must also consider the feasibility of delivering on the commitments made to sponsors.

An effective event prospectus, providing an overview of event demographics, expected attendee numbers, and historic ROI, can be key in securing sponsor interest and support.

Crafting Attractive Sponsorship Packages

Attractive sponsorship packages

The creation of appealing sponsorship packages blends elements of both art and science. Creative naming of your levels, complemented by an attractive layout and graphic design, can contribute to their appeal and memorability, encouraging prospective sponsors to align with the theme of the event.

These packages should clearly articulate the value proposition to identify potential sponsors here, including:

  • Lead generation
  • PR impact
  • Partnership and networking opportunities
  • Detailed examples of branding, marketing, and exposure opportunities

Allowing for customizable options within event sponsorship packages provides flexibility, enabling sponsors to tailor their level of support to personal preferences, thus enhancing the attractiveness and relevance of the sponsorship package.

Offering exclusive perks for higher event sponsorship packages

Offering exclusive perks for higher sponsorship packages can augment the appeal of sponsorship packages.

Incentives such as free booths at trade shows and promotional branding opportunities at virtual events can significantly enhance sponsor engagement and provide valuable sponsorship benefits.

Premium benefits like VIP experiences and access to valuable attendee data underscore the exclusivity and added value of top-tier sponsorship packages. Some examples of premium benefits include:

  • VIP access to exclusive events or areas
  • Personalized concierge service
  • Reserved seating at keynote sessions
  • Access to private networking events
  • Recognition as a top-tier sponsor in event materials

In addition, introducing celebrities and notable keynote speakers as part of in-kind sponsorship deals can bring the sponsoring company an aura of prestige and draw greater attention to higher sponsorship plans.

Creative Ideas for Sponsorship Perks

In the process of crafting your sponsorship packages, incorporation of creative ideas for sponsorship perks is worth considering. For instance, you could provide sponsors with customized branding opportunities like charging stations, press releases, hosting receptions, and producing branded event T-shirts.

You could also offer branded lounges and session sponsorships for added exposure and engagement during presentations. Facilitating sponsor engagement with attendees through moderated Q&A sessions, contests, and partnering in creating event gift bags can also serve as attractive sponsorship perks.

Securing Long-Term Sponsor Partnerships

Long-term sponsor partnership

Long-term sponsor partnerships demand more than the success of a single event. It requires:

  • Maintaining year-round contact
  • Sharing success stories
  • Sending holiday cards
  • Checking in periodically.

Building long-term relationships with sponsors through negotiations and delivering on promises can lead to ongoing partnerships and future sponsorship opportunities. Expressing gratitude to sponsors through thank you notes and acknowledgments is a simple yet essential part of relationship maintenance and development.

Providing ongoing value

Maintaining long-term sponsor partnerships hinges on the provision of ongoing value to sponsors. This could involve communicating your organization’s mission and values as part of sponsorship packages, underscoring the importance and long-term impact of sponsorships for nonprofit organizations.

Lead retrieval tools provided to sponsors can help capture onsite leads and integrate them with their CRM systems, offering value after the event concludes. Sponsors who fund specific event elements like coffee carts or lunch sessions receive prolonged exposure and ongoing engagement with attendees.

Evaluating sponsorship success

It’s necessary to evaluate the success of your event sponsorship. Measuring sponsorship ROI can focus on controllable metrics such as:

  • Logo placements
  • Speaking engagements
  • Attendance numbers
  • Emails sent
  • Social media posts made

A detailed sponsorship fulfillment report should be compiled after the event, capturing each sponsorship asset and activation, along with pre and post-event values, and their performance outcomes. Sharing this report with sponsors and discussing their sponsorship’s success tailored to their goals can foster a deeper connection and encourage ongoing support for future events.

Securing successful sponsorships involves more than just reaching out to prospective sponsors. It requires a strategic approach that includes identifying the right sponsors, aligning sponsor benefits with their objectives, understanding and utilizing different levels, crafting attractive sponsorship packages, and maintaining long-term sponsor partnerships. These practices, coupled with creative ideas for sponsorship perks, can significantly enhance your event’s success and foster enduring relationships with sponsors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 4 levels of sponsorship?

Event sponsorships typically include four tiers: platinum, gold, silver, and bronze. These tiers offer varying degrees of visibility and benefits for choosing event sponsors through.

How do you name sponsorship plans?

You can name your levels using tier names like Diamond, Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, or create new ones based on your event theme or brand identity. This can attract greater sponsor interest.

What are the 3 types of sponsorships?

The most common types of sponsorships are financial, in-kind, and media sponsorships. These types of sponsorships offer different forms of support for events or organizations.

How can I identify and find the right event sponsors for my event?

To identify the right sponsors for your event, consider your event's goals and values, evaluate prospective sponsors based on audience alignment, and research to ensure their corporate goals align with your event audience and cause. Choose sponsors who are a good fit for your event and its audience.

What are some ways to align sponsor benefits with their objectives?

To align sponsor benefits with their objectives, research potential sponsors' interests and goals, offer custom sponsorship packages, and showcase a clear path to ROI. This will help ensure that the next sponsorship deal is mutually beneficial and meets both parties' objectives.

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