How do I find sponsors for my event?

The idea for this article came after I saw a number of Quorans* asking similar questions on the social media Q&A platform. Whether the questions is “How do I find sponsors for my hackathon?” or “How much should I charge sponsors for my college event?” the issue is one and the same. But instead of focusing on the amount of money a sponsorship may bring, first we need to start with a more basic question…

Why do companies sponsor events?

From my experience, in general, sponsor companies are interested in events that are either:

  1. Large scale with high media coverage

or

2. Smaller events where audiences fit the sponsors’ target market or customer profile

Acquiring sponsorship for a mass, large scale event is no easy task, but it is much easier compared to finding sponsorship for a smaller, lesser known event. Mass events have a history, high attendance numbers to show off, great traditional, digital and social media coverage and on top of that the organizers have the know-how, experience and contacts to sell a sponsorship.The question here is how do you find sponsors for a smaller, local event, with little or no history.

If your event is not a mass one, but is aimed at a group of people sharing specific interests, you will find your chances of finding a sponsor increasing. This is because a company will find advertising to the right audience much more valuable than an advertisement to a mass, mixed audience. To connect to the ‘right’ sponsors, first you need to find companies whose products or services match the audience of your event, or in other words, your target attendee fits their target customer profile.

Here are some questions that will help you find the right companies for sponsorship

  • What’s the topic or theme of the event? Is it a niche topic where specific individuals will turn up? Does it concern a business sector? Or is it a mixed audience one?
  • Will there be any company representatives attending? By inviting professionals you are likely to attract more sponsors, who are interested in attracting business-to-business (B2B) clients.
  • Who are the lecturers, speakers or performers? Are they popular with young people, with professionals, young professionals?
  • What’s the price of attendance? Determining the social status of your attendees can serve you well in sponsorship negotiations, products are after all marketed to selected audiences.
  • How many people will be attending the event? This number is essential not only for sponsorships, but also for all the event’s planning, from venue to catering and swag.
  • What’s the location of the event? You may want to start your sponsor search with companies operating within a certain geographical area.
  • When are you holding your event? Think season, date and time, what sponsorship opportunities can be approached? For example if your event is in the summer you may look for ice cream companies, if it’s a late night one – drinks companies, winter – hot chocolate or tea manufacturers.
[Tip: Company budgets usually get allocated at the beginning of a calendar year, so try to reach out to them then. At the end of the year companies may not have a budget for sponsorship.]

Use these questions to formulate a holistic picture of your event, including an audience profile – a general characteristic of your event’s participants. When you have defined your event and your audience profile, create a list of companies that “fit” both.

It’s time now to finally answer the initial question:

“How much should I charge companies to sponsor my event?”

If the scale of your event is smaller, then start with small sponsorship sums, maybe around $200-$1000 for a ‘Standard Sponsor‘ package (more on sponsorship packages below). Increase the sum up to $1500-$3000 for a ‘General Sponsor‘. Sponsorship packages for big events can start from $5000 and range to $40,000 and $50,000. The variety of options should lead to plenty offerings for popularizing the sponsors and their products.

Here are some basic sponsorship ideas:

– A banner on the event website.
– Sponsor mention at the event opening.
– Banners with the sponsor’s name at the event.
– Sponsor table or booth at the event
– Sponsor talk at the event
– Special experience with the Sponsor at the event
– Sponsor name or logo in the event’s newsletter and emails.
– Promotional materials during visitor registration.

When organizing an event aim to break the monotony of the sponsorship opportunities you offer to companies by adding innovative solutions to each event. For instance, allow the ‘General Sponsor’ of your next event to ask the attendees one question. Integrate that question in the online registration form of the event. At the end the sponsor will receive the inquiry results, which will supply them with useful information!

So there you have it, you need to ask yourself “Why do companies sponsor events?”, to understand “Why should a company sponsor my event?” and finally be able to find out “How much should I charge companies to sponsor my event?”.

*Quoran(s) – user(s) on Quora

Featured image by Vigan Hajdari licensed under CC0 1.0

Guest Author

Dimitar Toshkov
I’m a wiseacre Millennial, but you’ll find my articles are the result of meticulous research and careful observation.