6 Strategies for Securing Event Sponsorships

Securing event sponsors can be a complex task, so we’ve gathered insights from industry experts to share their strategies. Discover the top tips on how to effectively secure sponsorship for your events.

Benefits of Event Sponsorship

When you’re hosting an event, securing sponsors isn’t just about financial support; it’s about forging strategic partnerships that benefit both parties. Here’s why offering sponsorship opportunities for your event can be advantageous for your brand:

Enhanced Brand Exposure: By offering sponsorship opportunities, your brand gains increased visibility and recognition among your target audience. Sponsors will promote your event through their marketing channels, extending your reach far beyond your existing network.

Revenue Generation: Sponsorship deals can provide a significant source of revenue for your event, helping to offset costs and potentially increase profitability. With the right sponsorship packages, you can create mutually beneficial partnerships that align with your event’s goals and objectives.

Access to Resources and Expertise: Sponsors often bring valuable resources and expertise to the table, whether it’s in marketing, event planning, or industry knowledge. Leveraging the skills and resources of your sponsors can help you enhance the quality and success of your event.

Networking Opportunities: Collaborating with sponsors opens doors to new networking opportunities within your industry. By partnering with reputable brands, you can connect with other businesses, industry influencers, and potential future sponsors.

Credibility and Authority: Securing reputable sponsors adds credibility and authority to your event. When well-known brands endorse your event, it enhances your reputation and positions you as a leader in your industry, making it easier to attract attendees, speakers, and media attention.

Types of Event Sponsorship Opportunities

Event sponsorship opportunities come in various forms, each offering unique benefits and levels of exposure. Here are some common types of event sponsorship opportunities:

1. Title Sponsorship: Title sponsors receive top billing and exclusive rights to associate their brand with the event. This package may include prominent logo placement on promotional materials, naming rights, and extensive brand recognition throughout the event.

2. Category Sponsorship: Category sponsors align their brand with a specific aspect or category of the event, such as a keynote speaker, networking lounge, or VIP reception. This type of package allows sponsors to target their audience more precisely and showcase their brand in a relevant context.

3. Exhibit or Booth Sponsorship: Sponsors can set up booths or exhibits at the event venue to showcase their products or services directly to attendees. It provides an opportunity for face-to-face engagement and product demonstrations, helping sponsors forge connections and generate leads.

4. Digital and Virtual Sponsorship: With the rise of virtual events and digital platforms, sponsors can now reach audiences online through digital sponsorships. This package may include sponsored content, ads on event websites or social media platforms, or virtual booth experiences.

5. Networking and Hospitality Sponsorship: Sponsors can host networking sessions, cocktail parties, or hospitality suites during the event, providing attendees with opportunities to connect in a relaxed setting. It fosters goodwill and strengthens relationships between sponsors and attendees.

6. Content or Session Sponsorship: Sponsors can support specific sessions, workshops, or panels within the event program. Sponsors align their brand with valuable educational or thought leadership content, positioning themselves as industry experts.

6 Strategies for Securing Event Sponsorships

1. Ensure Ethos and Theme Alignment

It’s always important to make sure that any sponsors you partner with align first with your client’s ethos (ethical, women-led, BIPOC, small business, sustainable), but also with the event theme (Mother’s Day, fitness event, Earth Day, bridal). 

When securing a sponsor, the partnership should be beneficial for both companies involved. Whether the agreement involves a monetary exchange, can grow your audience, or has mutual promotional benefits (shared content, social tags, and followings), both companies should feel that the arrangement is mutually favorable.

Machell Espejo, Public Relations Director, Moderne Press

2. Follow Reason, Reality, Requirements

It’s important to be realistic in the sponsors you are chasing, and while you may be keen to chase big names, don’t let this overshadow the fact that looking for community sponsors is also important and can often yield a better result. Especially if your event is focused in a specific area, gaining community sponsors is not only easier but can also be important to ensure that this really is a community-based event.

Gaining sponsors will be a lot easier if you give over specific requirements of what is going to be expected of them. The way I approach this is by having a tiered system, so there are different benefits for companies that can afford to do different types of sponsorship deals, but also for ones who may want less or more branding. This ensures that I’m not pricing any of the more local sponsors out, or asking too much from those who want to offer less.

Brett Downes, Founder, Haro Helpers

3. Craft an Engaging Event Story

I’ve discovered that developing an engaging story around an event is a crucial tactic for attracting sponsors. It involves telling a tale that emotionally connects with potential sponsors and illustrates the possible impact of their investment. When we host cybersecurity conferences, for example, we emphasize the story of enabling companies to safeguard their digital assets in a cyber environment that is becoming increasingly unstable. This strategy aligns with sponsors’ brand values of security and durability while also appealing to their desire to be perceived as innovators and guardians.

It’s not just about the financial transaction; it’s about becoming part of a story that will be told and retold within the industry, enhancing the sponsor’s prestige and perceived thought leadership. Remember, people invest in stories and visions they believe in, and that’s where true sponsorship value lies.

Eugene Klimaszewski, President, Mammoth Security

Let’s take a brief break to learn how to get sponsors for your event.

4. Provide Tiered Sponsorship Options

A high-yield lever we recommend is tiered packages accommodating any budget. Don’t gate with rigid one-size-fits-all pricing. Open wide and allocate options.

At the nosebleed Marquee Sponsor level, integrate premium activations like keynote ownership or co-branded swag. But don’t ignore the long tail either.

Even bare-bones Supporting Sponsor rungs present opportunity. Custom logo placements and app presences elevate brands in front of your captured audience.

Map each tier meticulously. Weave together tangible visibility elements with tailored lead-generation assets. Foster long-term partnerships, not transactional spikes.

Creatively collide potential sponsor verticals into robust seller journeys.

Scott Schaper, President, RSM Marketing

5. Leverage Your Existing Network

For me, leveraging your existing network is crucial in securing sponsors for events. Building strong relationships with industry peers, clients, and local businesses can open doors to potential sponsorship opportunities. Networking events, conferences, and even informal meet-ups are great venues for discussing upcoming events and gauge interest from potential sponsors. Remember, a personal connection often makes the difference in convincing a sponsor to invest in your event.

For example, we have built a solid network of clients and partners over the years. We make sure to maintain strong relationships with these individuals by keeping them updated on our latest projects and achievements. This way, when an event opportunity arises, we already have a list of potential sponsors who are familiar with our work and may be interested in supporting us.

Tristan Harris, Demand Generation Senior Marketing Manager, Thrive Digital Marketing Agency

6. Research and Align with Sponsors’ Audience

Sponsors are like teammates for your event. To find great ones, think “win-win.” Research companies whose target audience aligns with your event attendees. Then, show them how sponsoring benefits them.

Highlight how your event can get their brand in front of the right people. Offer creative sponsor packages with logo placement, social media shout-outs, or even speaking opportunities. By making it a valuable partnership, you’ll attract sponsors who are excited to be on board.

Daniel Florido, Chief Web Development & Director, Pixelstorm

How to Approach Potential Event Sponsors

Approaching potential event sponsors requires a strategic and personalized approach to maximize your chances of securing partnerships. Here are some key steps to consider when reaching out to potential sponsors:

Research and Targeting: Start by researching potential sponsors that align with your event’s audience, theme, and objectives. Look for companies that share similar values or target the same demographic. Consider factors such as industry relevance, geographic location, and brand reputation when identifying potential sponsors.

Craft a Compelling Pitch: After identifying potential sponsors, craft a compelling pitch that highlights the unique benefits of sponsoring your event. Tailor your pitch to each sponsor, emphasizing how their brand can add value to your event and aligning your proposal with their marketing objectives.

Highlight Mutual Benefits: Clearly articulate the benefits of sponsoring your event, focusing on the mutual value it will bring to both parties. Highlight opportunities for brand exposure, audience engagement, networking, and lead generation, demonstrating the tangible return on investment sponsors can expect from partnering with you.

Offer Customized Sponsorship Packages: Provide potential sponsors with a range of customizable sponsorship packages that cater to their specific needs and budget. Offer a variety of sponsorship tiers with different levels of benefits and recognition, allowing sponsors to choose the package that best suits their goals and objectives.

Follow Up and Persistence: Don’t be discouraged by initial rejections or non-responses. Follow up with potential sponsors regularly, staying top of mind and demonstrating your enthusiasm and commitment to working together. Persistence pays off in sponsorship negotiations, so don’t be afraid to be proactive in your outreach efforts.

Provide Value Beyond the Event: Offer sponsors opportunities for ongoing engagement and collaboration beyond the event itself. This value could include post-event marketing opportunities, co-branded content, or joint promotional campaigns that extend the reach and impact of the partnership.

Track and Measure Results: After ou’ve secured sponsorships, track and measure the results to demonstrate the value of the partnership. Provide sponsors with comprehensive reports and analytics showcasing the ROI of their investment, including metrics such as brand impressions, lead generation, and attendee engagement.

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