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How to Get Event Sponsorship: Your Ultimate Guide for 2024

Author: Nicole Chin
February 13, 2024
🕑 9 min read

Getting event sponsorship can be a huge win for your next event. But the road to securing one can be a point of stress in your event planning. A recent survey stated that 90% of event planners put finding an event sponsor as one of their top two concerns.

So how do you get an event sponsor? And how can you give a prospective sponsor the information that really matters to win them over?

In this post, we’ll tackle:

  • What is Event Sponsorship?

  • Why is Event Sponsorship Important?

  • What Are the 4 Types of Event Sponsorship?

  • How to Find an Event Sponsor

  • 11 Tips for Getting Event Sponsors

  • What Are Examples of Event Sponsorship?

  • Sponsor Management Software: Make Sponsor Management Easy With a CRM

Alright, let’s get into it!

What is Event Sponsorship?

Event sponsorship is a partnership between a company, brand, or corporation and an organization or nonprofit. Typically, the sponsor will give monetary or in-kind donations to support the event.

In return, the sponsor gets perks like:

  • Having their name and logo on promotional materials
  • Exposure to new audience
  • Gives competitive edge
  • Shows social responsibility

And for the organization, benefits of having an event sponsor include:

  • Helping to offset costs
  • Driving more attendees
  • Boosting your organization’s profile
  • Widening your audience
  • And more!

Ideally, you and your sponsor share similar values and interests. Your missions should be complementary!

But that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy. What you put in is what you get out. A successful event sponsorship is about both the sponsor and the organization working together to create a win-win situation.

Click through to claim your 60-day trial of WildApricot to create effective QR codes that will speed up event check-in.

Why is Event Sponsorship Important?

Having an event sponsor can help out your organization in a lot of ways. If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably already thinking about adding this to your event strategy. But let’s hone in on why it really matters and how it can benefit you!

1. Diversifies Your Revenue

If you’re looking to develop your revenue streams, having an event sponsor is a great place to start. Getting sponsorship from a company means you’ll get a significant, reliable amount of money from one source that can make a big impact on top of any other revenue sources you may have.

2. Provides In-Kind Support

Your event sponsor’s support doesn’t have to be monetary. A company can give you in-kind donations to help you offset costs or bring your event to the next level. If there are gaps in your expertise or exclusive items you’d like access to that a sponsor could help with, an in-kind donation might be the answer.

3. Creates Company Partnerships

As mentioned, a winning event sponsorship is when you’re partnered with a company with similar values and missions. Why? It opens the door for future collaborations, and the potential for a long term, mutually beneficial partnership.

4. Gives Exposure to New Audiences

An event sponsor is a great way to meet new audiences (for both you and your sponsor!). You’ll get exposure to their partners and customers, while they’ll get exposure to your nonprofit. This widens your reach and can be a way to potentially attract new members or volunteers to your organization.

5. Adds Credibility to Your Organization

If you choose to partner with a well-known company, having them as a sponsor adds credibility to your organization. By being your event sponsor, they’ve already vouched for you. People who are already familiar with them and trust them will be more likely to extend that to you.

What Are the 4 Types of Event Sponsorship?

Depending on your organization and its needs, there may be one type of sponsorship that’s better-suited for your event over others.

To help you make the right decision, here are the four main types of event sponsorship:

1. Financial

The most common type, where the sponsor gives cash and the organization offers perks, publicity, or benefits in return.

2. In-kind

Rather than giving money, the sponsor gives services or goods. Examples of in-kind donations include:

  • Prizes
  • Venue support
  • Food
  • Digital sponsor (apps, social media, media wall, etc).

3. Media event

If your event sponsor is a media outlet, their support can be through a free ad, funding for your advertising or help with general publicity.

4. Promotional partner

This is similar to a media event sponsor. The main difference is that it’s an individual using their own channels to promote your event – such as a social media influencer.

How to Find an Event Sponsor

Okay, but how exactly do you find event sponsorship opportunities?

There are a lot of ways to go about it. You can either:

  1. Look within your own network
  2. Use tools and research

Let’s take a look at what both options look like.

Look Within Your Network

You’d be surprised to find out that maybe the best sponsorship you can get for your event is already among the people you know.

According to Cause Marketing expert Joe Waters of Selfish Giving, there are three main types of people you can reach out to in your network:

  1. Supporters – Existing supporters in your organization. They’re already on your side and are the people you should reach out to first!
  2. Contacts – People who know you, but haven’t given money to your organization yet. They’re usually familiar with your mission and are people you should reach out to after your Supporters.
  3. Suspects – These are people you don’t know. They know nothing about your organization and are the most difficult people to reach out to. Contact them last.

Make a list of people within your network that make up the first two categories, and how you’d like to go about finding people in the last category. Which leads us to our next method, which is using tools and research.

Use Tools and Research

Let’s say you’ve contacted Supporters and Contacts and want to find some good Suspects. Or maybe you just want to expand your outreach from the get go. Whatever your motivation, here are some other ways you can find an event sponsor using tools and research.

11 Tips for Getting Event Sponsorship

Alright, so you’ve got a dream list of the people you want to reach out to.

Before you start creating your sponsorship package or crafting your sponsorship letter, here are 11 tips for attracting the right sponsor.

1. Explain the sponsor benefits

Make sure that your sponsor knows what they’ll get out of your event and why it stands out from others. You can highlight benefits like:

  • Past successes and impact stories

  • Sponsor incentives like:

    • Branded videos

    • Social media content

    • Event swag and goodies

  • Return on investment (ROI)

    • Visibility

    • Reach

    • Engagement

2. Write a comprehensive description

Describe your event in a way that makes sponsoring feel like a no-brainer. This comes down to know your WHY. This includes things like:

  • Your projected impact

  • Your audience demographics

  • The community and cause you’re serving

  • Your mission

  • Your organization’s story

3. Create a winning sponsorship package

When you’re creating your sponsorship package, be creative, flexible, and only include crucial information. What you include should rebuff any statement that says, “So what?”. Above all, focus on your sponsor’s interests, budget, and needs. You’ll also want to give them more than one sponsorship option to consider.

5. Offer low-commitment options

Some companies may hesitate because of their size or resources. So offer sponsorship options that speak to those needs like:

  • In-kind donations

  • Scalable cash donations

This means you’ll probably need more than one sponsor. However, having a range of sponsors comes with its own benefits. You’ll be growing your network of companies that know and support your organization, which means a wider audience for your event!

6. Reach out to supporters

As we mentioned, your network is powerful! Reach out to the people you know. And if they end up saying no to sponsoring you, don’t consider this as a final close door. They may know of similar brands or companies that would.

7. Reach out to established brands

It comes as no surprise that established brands have audiences that know them well and trust them. That good rapport can help boost your event, your organization’s recognition, and ultimately expand your reach.

8. Data, data, data

There’s power behind good numbers. Besides your audience demographics, take a look at past event surveys you may have done and what data you can use for your pitch. When information is quantified with impressive stats, it creates a convincing argument.

9. Contact the right person

Do your research for your prospective sponsors and identify who the best contact is within the company or corporation. Often, this is someone who works in the marketing department.

10. Build your connection

A good relationship is never rushed! Take time to get to know your prospective sponsor. If you have them on your list of potential sponsors, it means you likely have shared interests and values. Use that as a jumping off point for building a genuine connection.

11. Follow up

Follow up in a timely manner. Be professional, concise, and personable. Sometimes people just want to know that someone is willing to listen to them. But also remember: if someone says no, that doesn’t mean no forever. Keep them on a list to reach out to for your next event.

What Are Examples of Event Sponsorship?

What your event sponsorship ends up looking like can take a wide range of forms. A great way to appeal to your potential sponsor is by giving them a variety of options. It shows off your creativity while still being realistic.

To kickstart your brainstorm, here’s a list of event sponsorship examples:

  • Sponsor logos
  • Lower thirds
  • Promo videos
  • Webinars
  • Speaker sessions
  • Joint virtual experiences (Lunch and Learns, Roundtables)
  • Themed events
  • Coffee breaks
  • Booths
  • Giveaways
  • Branded Swag
  • Floor Decals
  • Sponsored WiFi (customized WiFi name and password)

Sponsor Management Software: Make Sponsor Management Easy with a CRM

Nothing makes life easier than a great tool! Whether you choose one big kahuna of a sponsor or a bevvy of them, a contact management tool (like a nonprofit CRM) can keep you organized.

A Customer Relationship Management tool (or CRM) is a database for your contacts. It can keep all of your prospective sponsors’ contact information in one place and can help you record all your interactions. It’s like the ULTIMATE rolodex or phonebook.

Some features to look for when choosing a great CRM include:

  • Shallow learning curve. It should be easy to use and it should be easy to onboard new users.
  • Integrates with your event software. It should work well with any existing software you’re using for your event.
  • Offers personalization. There should be options to personalize messages so you’re saving time without losing your human touch!
  • Easy to automate processes. A CRM is there to streamline things so you can tackle more important tasks. These automations should work as smooth as butter.
  • Mobile-friendly. You should be able to use your CRM on your mobile device. If you’re planning an event, you’re probably going to be on the go, meeting a lot of people. You don’t want to have to log everything down in your notebook and then transfer it to your CRM.

If you’re looking to streamline your technology stack and have everything in one place, you may be in the market for an all-in-one member management solution like WildApricot. WildApricot can take care of everything you need to do member management-wise as well as all of your event management tasks including:

  • Event registration
  • Event calendars
  • Email automation
  • Online payment
  • Mobile apps for events

Sounds good? WildApricot’s 60-day free trial is worth checking out. Get started here!

You’re Well On Your Way to Getting an Event Sponsorship

So that’s it! Everything you need to know about event sponsorship.

If you’re looking for more great tips on securing a sponsorship, check out How to Get Sponsorships: The Complete Guide written by Joe Waters, sponsorship expert and author of Selfish Giving.

We hope you’ve walked away feeling prepared to take on finding that special event sponsor. And remember, it all boils down to what drives your organization every day: your WHY! The right event sponsor will connect with the WHY behind your event and your mission. And that is what will create a relationship that will be meaningful in the long run!

So take your time, make your plan, and be confident in what you have to offer.

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