When you're running an event—whether it's a trade show, sporting event, carnival, or blues concert with multiple performers—you'll likely need some sponsors to help you finance it.
Having an understanding of how the sponsorship will benefit the sponsor's business is a good place to start. Then you can apply the right mix of proposals, letters of agreement, and invoicing to help ensure that your event succeeds and your business benefits as well.
What is event sponsorship?
Sponsorship is a relationship whereby a sponsor company invests in another company to promote its brand or goods and services. It allows the sponsee—the company in which the sponsor invests—to promote the sponsor's name, logo, image, and products by means of name and logo placement where people are able to see them.
Event sponsorship involves having a financial sponsor for a particular event, so that when patrons go to the event or see it televised, they'll see the name of the sponsor and its logo prominently displayed.
The best way to have an effective event sponsorship is to match the type of event to the type of sponsor. If you're planning a local blues concert, you might want to find a sponsor that sells musical instruments, guitar strings, or sound systems because concertgoers likely use such products.
How do you get an event sponsor?
Finding an event sponsor requires research, but, depending on the type of event, you can start with a commonsense approach, such as writing down the type of sponsor you'd find at a trade event such as a flower show. Any company that sells garden tools, seeds, or pottery would be good matches for a flower show. The idea is to target the type of people who attend the flower show so that the sponsor gets something from sponsoring the event. In return for its financial investment, the sponsoring company will be exposed to, and likely get, new customers, and your event will have the finances from the sponsorship to help put on the show.
Getting an event sponsor takes some work, because you'll have to send out event sponsorship solicitation letters or event sponsorship proposals. One school of thought is to reach out to the companies by phone or personal visit first. The problem is that this is cold calling, which isn't necessarily helpful or popular anymore. Instead, sending a good event sponsorship letter containing a proposal is a better idea, as it's more personal, and you can present your well-thought-out pitch.
In your event sponsorship proposal, make sure to include:
- The names of both you or your company and the proposed sponsor company
- What your event is about
- The name, date, time, and place of the event
- Why the proposed sponsor would be interested in partnering with you or your company
- A statement that sponsorship would be mutually beneficial for both companies
- A breakdown of approximately how many attendees you expect at the event
- What your company can do to market the sponsor, such as providing prominent placement of their name and logo for all attendees to see, or handing out free samples from the sponsor if they agree to it
- How much sponsorship will cost, and if there are different levels of sponsors, so you can attract and receive both large and small sponsorship fees
- Any visual aids showing your event, such as videos, graphs, charts, or photos
What is an event sponsorship agreement?
An event sponsorship agreement is the document whereby you and the sponsor enter into a contract for sponsorship of your event. Event sponsorship contracts protect both you and the sponsor so that you each know what you're getting and what the terms and conditions are.
Event sponsorship agreements vary, but there are some basic terms that are always part of writing a sponsorship contract. Some of the contents include the name and place of the event, how you'll promote the sponsor, what the potential sponsor must pay to become a sponsor, and the relationship between the parties. Both an officer of your company and an officer of the sponsorship company must sign the contract.
What is a sponsorship fee invoice?
A sponsorship fee invoice is the actual invoice you'll send to the sponsor, showing the date and time of the event, its location, the names and addresses of both sponsor and sponsee, the cost of sponsoring, what form(s) of payment you take, and whether there's a schedule of payments if the sponsor makes partial payment. Sending invoices is administrative work, but it's important so that you and the sponsor both have records of when you sent the invoice and how much you billed.
A common issue is how much to charge as the sponsorship fee. The best way to come up with a fee is to do some research. Find out what your closest competitors charge and see if you can either offer more value for the same price, or if you can offer different levels of sponsorship if your competitors don't do so. After all, your company and similar companies are both competing for the same sponsors, so you want to show why a potential sponsor should sponsor your company's event. Also, sending the invoice to the proper address is crucial; otherwise, you might not get paid. It sounds obvious, but, in many cases, companies send invoices to the wrong address.
Event sponsorship allows events to happen that ordinarily wouldn't because sponsors help fund the event in return for marketing exposure. This is a sweet deal, as it benefits both of you and your sponsors. Hopefully, if you hold the event annually, you'll have a company or companies you can count on to sponsor your event every year.