It doesn’t matter how much you hate to do it, it must be done. I’m talking about getting out there and asking for sponsorships for your next meeting, conference or trade show. Most individuals in the event planning arena, postpone this like a trip to the dentist or doctor. And this is knowing that sponsorship dollars are even tougher to get.

What can you do to make those dollars flow your way? Eventbrite posted a blog about the 15 ways to perfect your pitch deck of which I gleemed some ideas and have thrown in a few of my own. Please let me know if these thoughts are working for you and any other ideas you have to gain new sponsorship funding.

8 Steps to Sponsorships

  1. Research your prospects. Based on what you know about your attendees and exhibitors, figure out which sponsors make the most sense to go after. Make your list and do some research about the company, top management and their involvement in your industry BEFORE placing that call.
  2. Present factual details about your conference. Don’t try to snow your sponsors with how many attendees and exhibitors you are going to have and the type of speakers you are trying to get. Sponsors want to know what you have right here and right now. Share with them the dates of your event, location, agenda, booked speakers, booked sponsors and confirmed attendees.
  3. Paint a picture about last year’s conference. If you are asking early in your conference cycle, give them the facts about past conferences.
  4. If possible, always go for a face-to-face ask. Sponsorship asks should not be handled through blanket emails or social channels. They should handled over a meal or at your sponsor’s office. After all, you are asking them for thousands of dollars.Your order for requests should be: face-to-face, telephone call or videoconference followed immediately with an email, or an email followed up with a phone call. Whatever you do, don’t send out blanket emails or social channel requests. These type of requests smack of laziness and apathy on your part. Show that you care and you will get the respect, if not dollars, you deserve.
  5. If they sponsored your event in the past, remind them what year(s) they did so and at what level. 
  6. Make it very easy to connect with you. At a face-to-face meeting, give your business card and all your pertinent contact information. Make sure you are on LinkedIn and all your contact information is filled out there, as well. Make it a point to let prospective clients know you are very responsive and they can reach you via phone, text, email or social. And then respond within at least 24 hours.
  7. Always be willing to customize your offerings. Throw out the concept of diamond, gold and silver levels. Those are dead, dead, dead.Look at new digital offerings such as video sponsorships on charging stations or via electronic registration kiosk rentals. When event participants log onto the WiFi splash page or access an app, sponsors can show a brief video prior to that access permission.Ask what they want and be flexible.
  8. Give them time.Don’t expect the sponsor to pull out their checkbook on the first call. It might take up to 7 touches and several months before they say yes. You want them, so give them the time to run it up the flagpole for approvals. Typically, the larger the company, the longer the process.

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