How to Create Knock-Out Sponsorship Packages for Recurring Events
Are you trying to line up sponsors for recurring events with little lead time in between? Here are a few things to keep in mind as your sponsor needs will differ from other one-off events.
Securing event sponsorship for any event can be challenging and sponsorship models and expectations of the past are changing. Recurring events come with their own set of challenges when creating sponsorship packages. If the recurrence is annual or bi-annual, it’s easy enough but what if those events are weekly, maybe even throughout the summer? How do you create sponsorship programs? Do you sell out the entire season as one sponsorship? Or sell them individually on a weekly basis? Follow these tips for creating knock-out sponsorship programs for your recurring event.
Ideally, when it comes to weekly recurring events, you want a sponsor to sign on for the duration of your event season, assuming it’s not an ongoing activity for as long as you can imagine in the future. If that’s the case, you’ll probably need to divide the sponsorship request quarterly or have some other way of designating a set time commitment. But if your event runs for a set number of weeks or a season, looking for sponsors who will become true partners will save you the headache of the administration of switching horses mid-stream.
Help Make It Easy to Say Yes
In order for them to become partners, they may need to see certain actions on your end. An event planner who will help them smooth out whatever needs they may have with local government commissions or the city for recurring events would be the type of person they’d enjoy partnering with. While these activities don’t normally fall to event planners, when it comes to recurring events sponsors, these organizations become more like business partners because a commitment to an entire season is much harder to accomplish than a one-time donation. Look at these sponsors as business partners and you’ll be more successful in landing them.
Give Them the Data
Before signing them, ensure they have the data they need to understand the value of your event in the eyes of their demographic by coming up with a strong sponsorship proposal. Ideally, they will sign a contract to be part of your event for the entire season but even if they don’t, it’s a good idea to continue to provide them with this critical data throughout the timeframe that you’re hosting the event. People do business with, and sponsor, those they know, like, and trust. Providing this information in near real-time will help them trust your operation.
Help with the Visibility
If you are approaching a business for the first time, a business who has not sponsored something previously or over the long term, it may not have all of the materials it needs. Look for ways in which you might be able to help by calling in business contacts and minimizing the friction involved in them being able to support you and your event.
This can also be true if you’re trying a creative new event sponsorship idea, one that’s out of the box. The proposed sponsor may not have the necessary branding and collateral to make it advantageous for them. Look for ways you can help them obtain these things at a reasonable price. You can often do this through additional business partnerships in the community. Communities love recurring events because it often means recurring revenue for the area as well. Remind your local business partners of this when trying to line up mutually beneficial agreements.
Be Honest About Your Recurring Event
Is your recurring event the type that draws a new crowd each week or is it the same old group all summer? This will be important to sponsors. Sponsors who sell a product or service that has a long sales cycle may enjoy having the same crowd visit each week because they can begin to build a following and reach out. Sponsors who are looking to create brand recognition may also enjoy the same group.
However, some sponsors will shy away from weekly recurring events because it is the same old group of attendees. These sponsors will often be businesses who do not deal in repeat business. Once they’ve satisfied the need of the consumer, they won’t get their business in the future.
Be honest about your crowd so your sponsors are not under any delusion about attendees. It’s better to have someone bail in the planning stages than mid-way through your season.
Study the Event Calendar
When you are approaching sponsors for recurring events and hoping for a seasonal or multi-week commitment, you’ll be well served to check the local event calendar. What else is going on during the time you are hosting your events? Are the sponsors you are approaching involved in any of these other events? Does it preclude them from participating in yours?
If it does, you don’t need to walk away before even approaching them. Instead, come to the meeting with ideas for them on how they could do both, perhaps a sponsorship that didn’t require any manpower or one that required very little. Being prepared for this by doing your homework means you’re more apt to walk away with some sort of sponsorship deal.
Go for the Commitment
Administrative headache and cost will be lower if you can secure the sponsor for your season or event duration. If not, try to secure the largest time possible such as a month or six week commitment. This will help them establish themselves with the event and will save you money in printing, showcasing the sponsors, and other administrative and marketing concerns.
Understand Their Needs and Customize Accordingly
You should never treat a potential sponsor with the same familiarity you do a date, and you should never say anything along the lines of, “I don’t care. Whatever you want to do.” Customize and personalize event sponsorship opportunities. Find out what their needs are or their pain points, or their ideal customer, and create packages that sing to them. You want them to support you for your season, you need to show them this relationship is important to you and you can do that by creating something just for them.
Creating knock-out sponsorship packages for recurring events is not all about the “donation” of time or money they’re making to you. More goes into these weekly occurrences. Whether your sponsorships are seasonal or year-round, these type of relationships become true business partnerships in a way that occasional sponsorships don’t. Recurring events require a much larger partnership between your business and theirs. You want to forge and nurture the relationship throughout the event season and beyond. They are making a strong commitment to you and you to them.
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