How to Write a Perfect Event Sponsorship Proposal
Bringing on sponsors is a difficult but necessary task. If you’re not prepared with the perfect sponsorship proposal, you can bet someone else is. Here’s what you need to know in order to craft a winning sponsorship proposal.
Years ago I worked for a company that wanted to make a big impression on the industry. The chief marketing officer approached the events person of a very prominent association and told her we wanted to do more. She smiled brightly, as many of us would who are being told, I want to give you money. He asked how they could work together in a more mutually beneficial way, which those in the industry know is code for I want to give you lots of money but you have to tell me about return on investment.
Ahhh. There’s always a hitch.
Still, his mind was already writing a check, all she had to do was give him the numbers (or a little encouragement) so he could go back to his CEO and board with a solid marketing strategy.
Her response was, well, we can do anything.
“We can do anything” is not board-acceptable. There’s no exact return on investment for “anything.” He needed something concrete and she lost an opportunity.
Without a well-written event sponsorship proposal, you’ll be in the same boat she was – scratching your head wondering where it all went horribly wrong. I wonder what she told her board.
So what was she missing besides everything? Here’s what she could’ve included for the perfect event sponsorship proposal.
5 Things You Need in the Perfect Event Sponsorship Proposal
There are two main things you need to accomplish in an event proposal – show a return on investment and build the confidence with the sponsors that you can achieve what you are telling them you can. Today’s marketers are charged with understanding data and analytics and they will ask the tough questions because their CEOs are reading Forbes and Harvard Business Review and they’re being told data is king. If you don’t help them by at least showing a preliminary estimation of possible return on investment, they won’t present it to their boss. They don’t want marketing to look like a non-revenue generating department.
They want to work with an event organizer that can help them shine and that means producing a sizeable return on the investment.
Personalized Pitch Deck
However you are presenting the sponsorship opportunities, you will be most successful if your approach is personalized to the sponsor. The days of one-size fits all are over. But don’t worry, all the information you need is at your fingertips. Do your research on LinkedIn and Google. Read press releases. What is the company targeting and what do they seem most concerned with? What’s going on in their industry? Use this information to create a personalized approach using the data you learned and crafting a sponsorship opportunity that will meet their needs. Make sure you explain this is not your regular “Gold” sponsorship. This is something that was created specifically for them.
This document should be designed well, visually appealing, professional, grammatically correct, and tailored to the potential sponsor. It will be used to “shop” your ideas around and while you may be lucky to have received a face-to-face presentation initially, you won’t be there when a decision is made. You need this document to speak for you. Some of the areas you’ll want to address include:
In order to show them a return on investment, you need to present them with numbers on how many attend, what level decision maker they are, what’s your main demographic and any other insight that can better help them understand whether their ideal customer is represented in your attendees.
If your potential sponsor’s main competitor has been coming to your event for years, you need to tell the potential sponsor. The presence of their competition suggests that it’s a worthwhile event (companies don’t come if there’s no return). It also helps you play on the potential new sponsor’s fear of missing out.
You’ve explained who will be there, and they’re delighted, but now they need to know how they will reach your attendees. You need to spend a lot of time on this. Many vendors have been burned by sponsorships that don’t get them the attention they expected. Be specific. Walk through the scenarios. Think of potential questions they will have before they bring them up so you’re ready.
The first several things you include in the proposal affect their decision making in the investment. But that data is not beneficial if they glance over it or miss key information. That’s why you should take the time to do at least minimal formatting. Keep in mind they will be scanning the information at this initial stage so make it easy to read and visually appealing. If you have statistics about your attendees (and we hope you do), create graphics that make them easy to digest. Adding graphics also breaks up the visual monotony of text.
You can include images of the event (or video) but try to keep them as pertinent as possible and not just generic marketing shots. Another fun addition is attendee testimonials in the form of social media posts. If the potential sponsor believes there’s a lot of possibility to be shared on social media, this will add an avenue of additional exposure and presents them to an even wider audience.
Keep this section brief, but stories are often a good introduction. One of the most effective ones you can tell in a sponsorship proposal is how your organization helped another sponsor have their most effective return to date. Set the stage by introducing the challenges they faced and how you helped, but ultimately they did the work.
The reason you take this tack is because it will help them easily envision their own success. It places the head marketer in the hero seat, which is a much more intoxicating thought than merely paying money to your company. You will help them shine, and that is very appealing to most employees.
Less is more in the perfect sponsorship proposal. You need the items and details that will convince them to sponsor your event (or a portion of it) but you needn’t place every detail of the event in what you give them. They don’t have the time to dedicate to reading a complete history of the organization and the event. Instead, provide the details they’ll care about; the ones that will make them money and help them gain exposure. That’s all they need to make a decision.
Don’t forget to sign up for our forthcoming sponsorship webinar.
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