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Attracting and engaging sponsors

Mohammad Hijazi
Mohammad Hijazi
Mohammad HijaziCommunications Consultant & Trainer | Global Active Citizen

Getting the right sponsors to join forces with you can make a big impact on the success of your event or project. It’s a guaranteed revenue source, and if you partner with relevant companies, the relationship will also provide added value to attendees. 

Attracting and engaging sponsors

1 of 50
Attracting and Engaging Sponsors
JCI Vice President Mohammad Hijazi
Introduction
• Sponsorship is a means of
supporting an event, project or
organization by providing
money or other resources of
value to the activity in question.
The sponsor generally receives
advertising space or other
publicity at the activity in
exchange for its support.
Introduction
• Getting the right sponsors to join forces
with you can make a big impact on the
success of your event or project. It’s a
guaranteed revenue source, and if you
partner with relevant companies, the
relationship will also provide added
value to attendees.
Rules for Sponsorship Hunters
Sponsorships are about more than sticking logos on everything. Follow
these rules to ensure you find the right sponsor for your organization.
There’s no such thing as
free money.
Sponsorship is not just about your needs, it's also about
the sponsors’. It won’t work if the relationship is too
lopsided one way or the other.
Sponsors don't have to
love you.
Sponsors don't need to share your passion for your cause
in order to sponsor you. They just need to be able to see
the commercial benefit. It is important, though, that you
have compatible values.
Ad

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Attracting and engaging sponsors

  • 1. Attracting and Engaging Sponsors JCI Vice President Mohammad Hijazi
  • 2. Introduction • Sponsorship is a means of supporting an event, project or organization by providing money or other resources of value to the activity in question. The sponsor generally receives advertising space or other publicity at the activity in exchange for its support.
  • 3. Introduction • Getting the right sponsors to join forces with you can make a big impact on the success of your event or project. It’s a guaranteed revenue source, and if you partner with relevant companies, the relationship will also provide added value to attendees.
  • 4. Rules for Sponsorship Hunters Sponsorships are about more than sticking logos on everything. Follow these rules to ensure you find the right sponsor for your organization.
  • 5. There’s no such thing as free money. Sponsorship is not just about your needs, it's also about the sponsors’. It won’t work if the relationship is too lopsided one way or the other.
  • 6. Sponsors don't have to love you. Sponsors don't need to share your passion for your cause in order to sponsor you. They just need to be able to see the commercial benefit. It is important, though, that you have compatible values.
  • 7. Look for a good fit. Do your very best to gain sponsorship from companies, organizations or brands that seem a natural fit with your event or organization. It’s exhausting to have to be continuously trying to ram a square peg into a round hole.
  • 8. It's a job for a team. Be sure your whole organization understands why sponsorship is important to you and is prepared to treat your sponsors like marketing partners.
  • 9. Vaccinate against logo-itis. Sponsorships are about more than sticking logos on everything. While your sponsorship agreement might include use of logos, if that’s all you’ve got to offer you can’t really ask for all that much in return.
  • 10. Get started early. Don’t count on starting your sponsorship search one day and getting it all under way the next. These things take time (sometimes a very long time). Allow plenty of time in your forward planning.
  • 11. Get it in writing. Firm up all details of your arrangement in writing. That way no one is left in any doubt as to what has been agreed to.
  • 12. Aim high. It's better to get one or two big, meaningful sponsorships in place than lots of small ones. There's less clutter for them, and less sponsor management for you.
  • 13. Allow time for relationship building. Don't ever think that once you've got the cheque your job is done. As with most things in fundraising, sponsorships are all about the relationship. You need to be in regular contact, you need to give thanks where it’s due, and you need to ensure that you’re always doing what you said you’d do.
  • 14. How to be well prepared You have to be well prepared in order to achieve the desired results. You cannot approach a sponsor without having done the necessary research and work.
  • 15. Define the fundamentals of your project • Before you can start finding the right sponsors, clearly articulate the differentiating factors of your project. Below are a few questions to reflect on to help get to the core of the project identity. • What is the overall vision of your project? • What overarching goals are you trying to achieve through the project? • What are the values your organization or project? • Even if you were to find companies who are interested in your project, you will only win them over once they buy into the project goals and vision. Thus, make sure to have these core factors explicitly defined before beginning the search. Being able to clearly communicate these values will be crucial in helping you find sponsors.
  • 16. Know why companies want to sponsor • If the goal is to find companies the are interested in sponsoring projects, the primary step should be to understand why these companies are looking for sponsorships. In the end, sponsoring a project or an event is a significant investment so it is important to become knowledgeable on the types of ROI (Return On Investment) that these companies are expecting to see.
  • 17. Benefits of sponsoring Increasing social media impressions • Because projects and events are a great platform for social media content, companies see the perfect opportunity to elevate their social media presence through sponsoring projects. If your project is particularly well suited for social media sharing, companies will be very much interested in promoting their own social media channels and thinking of ways to push partnered content. If executed properly, this can be a win-win for all parties involved. Collecting customers leads • Many companies are excited at the prospect of gaining more potential customers through sponsorship. Especially if the attendee demographic overlaps with a target customer base, companies see sponsorships as a great opportunity to grow their sales pipeline and increase the number of potential closed deals. Gaining access to specific demographic • Sometimes companies have a difficult time tapping into a certain demographic due to limited resources or general lack of exposure. However, sponsorships offer a way to get in front of a specific target audience that may have been inaccessible otherwise. Companies are especially interested in sponsoring projects if the sponsorship can give the brand the exposure it needs in regards to a specific demographic.
  • 18. Define the sponsorship criteria • Having clearly established criteria for the types of sponsors that you want to partner with is crucial for the overall success of the sponsorship. • It's helpful to keep in mind a few questions when speaking to potential sponsors to see if they would align with your project vision.
  • 19. Research companies that have sponsored projects similar to yours • A good place to start would be to look up other events or projects similar to yours and to check out their sponsors pages. If these companies were interested in forming partnerships with these events or activities, there’s a good chance they’ll be interested in yours. • If possible, (and if they’re not a direct competitor) get in contact with the project manager and ask for tips on shaping your sponsorship package. Conversations like this will provide key insight as to what these companies are looking for.
  • 20. Use online resources that connect organizers with sponsors SponsorMyEvent is a platform for organizers and sponsors alike to connect with one another for potential partnerships. SponsorPitch facilitates quick, smart connections between sponsoring brands and sponsorship opportunities. SponsorPark is geared towards event organizers, requiring all organizers to post event sponsorship proposals and then wait to be contacted by interested sponsors. Sponseasy can be used by event organizers to create aesthetically appealing proposals and then posts it on the network for potential sponsors to look through.
  • 21. Find Companies With The Right Resources Companies interested in sponsoring projects must also be in a position to do so •Companies with sufficient budget •Companies with advertising or marketing departments •Companies through referrals from current sponsors
  • 22. Where do you find corporate sponsors? Gather a list of prospects with contact info from last year’s projects. Have your project committee members make a list of businesses they have connections with.. Ask your board and members who they know at local businesses. Look through your donor/sponsor database. Look through your payables for sponsor prospects. Look around the community for companies that have a mission that’s in alignment with yours.
  • 23. Focus On Key Decision Makers • In the end, it will only be a handful of people who make the ultimate decision to sponsor your project. With that in mind, make sure to reach out to those individuals sooner than later. • Tools such as LinkedIn and Hunter.io are helpful for targeting these relevant stakeholders. Once you find their contact info, send them personalized sponsorship emails that will pique their interest. • The more you know about each stakeholder, the more you'll be able to craft the ideal messaging to further persuade them to become a sponsor.
  • 24. Focus On Key Decision Makers Avoid obvious titles. Finding the right contact for selling sponsorships means positioning yourself as strategically as possible. The “sponsorship manager” at your target sponsor is probably swamped with offers right now, so go left when everyone else is going right by seeking out less obvious options. 1 The brand team is your BFF. Brand managers focus on public image, which is one of the strongest benefits of sponsoring an event or project. Put them at the top of your list when reaching out. 2 For smaller companies, follow the money. Anyone in charge of budgeting at a national or regional level will likely be in control of funds available for sponsorships. 3 Consider who you already know. There’s no reason why a company you already have a relationship with couldn’t be your sponsor. Start within your network and reach out to people you have a dialogue with already. 4
  • 25. Get the timing right • Experts say that May, June, and September are the best months since sales will likely be at a high. • The holiday months (Christmas, Easter, Eid, etc..) are the worst times of year to pitch sponsors because companies are spending their marketing budgets on holiday promotions. • Make sure to send in your proposals at least one month before the financial fiscal closing of companies, usually done in December so that they can include your sponsorship in their budget.
  • 26. The best way to get corporate sponsors is to make your project and sponsor experience worthy of their investment.
  • 27. Creating a Sponsorship Kit Create a sponsorship package to send to the sponsors on your list. Your goal is to make sponsorship appear to be a win-win business deal, rather than as a simple donation.
  • 28. Write an executive summary • A sponsorship packet must always start out with an executive summary, or mission statement about the project or event you hope to have sponsored. • This should be around 250-300 words that describes in detail what a sponsorship will fund, why you seek sponsorships, and how being a sponsor will benefit them.
  • 29. Information to include An overview about your organization and past projects Attendees profile Event or project purpose Event or project video Sponsorship packages or benefits Terms & conditions (including what happens if either party doesn’t fulfil their obligations or the event was cancelled) Provide a call to action Contact person
  • 30. Two sponsorship modules Tiered Sponsorship Model: traditional approach where a variety of features are included in the sponsorship package offerings, depending on the sponsorship level A La Carte Sponsorship Model: commonly used to serve sponsors with specific needs or goals, so flexibility and customization in their sponsorship package are key
  • 31. The Tiered Sponsorship Model Create Tier Levels Tiers are commonly labeled as Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Exhibitor, but you have lots of creative freedom to name the levels whatever you think best fits your project theme or brand. It’s your chance to make it sound fun and appealing to sponsors. 1 Decide Quantities Per Tier The next step is to determine how many sponsorship packages of each tier level you need to sell in order to achieve your project revenue goals. The more limited the quantity, the more you can change for the sponsorship package because of its exclusivity. This will also encourage sponsors to commit earlier so you’re able to better predict your revenue and plan your project. 2 Distribute Sponsorship Benefits Per Tier The higher and more exclusive the tier, the greater the number of high-value benefits. 3
  • 32. The A La Carte Sponsorship Model • The a la carte sponsorship model approach is an alternative model for sponsors looking to achieve specific goals or outcomes. This can include attendee engagement or brand exposure.
  • 33. Sponsor benefit ideas ● Include the sponsor’s logo on your event registration page and any marketing communications promoting the event, such as registration invite emails ● Provide social media shout outs to promote sponsors ● Promote your sponsors’ speakers to encourage session attendance ● Include pre-event sponsored giveaways when promoting registration ● Send sponsored emails to a targeted segment of your audience Pre-Event ● Include challenges where attendees need to interact with sponsors and visit their booths in order to collect points and prizes ● Promote sponsor offers and/or giveaways that can be included in your main program ● Send sponsored emails to a targeted segment of your audience ● Enable sponsors to connect with attendees one-on-one via a chat or messaging function ● Place the sponsor’s logo on any printed and/or digital marketing materials/signage displayed in the event registration area ● Hold on-site competitions and/or giveaways by your sponsors On-site ● Include the sponsor’s logo and/or mention them in the post-event email or survey sent to attendees ● Create social media posts to thank your sponsors and showcase the results of the event Post-Event
  • 34. Innovative Sponsor Benefit Ideas Interactive Art Installations Sponsored Live Streams Virtual Reality Installations Sponsored Lounges Wi-Fi and Phone Charging Stations Branded Food & Drinks Stress Reducing Stations Illuminated Smart Wall or Table Sponsored Social Media Feed Short Fitness & Wellness Sessions Unique Giveaways
  • 35. Approaching Sponsors Now that you have everything prepared and thought out, it is time to approach sponsors.
  • 36. Craft an initial packet when you inquire • Don't give sponsorship details just yet • When approaching a warm or cold lead, you're trying to drum up interest in the project itself, not make an ask yet. When you're sending your initial email, give a prospective sponsor an intro email with a well-designed and branded 3-page PDF. The project’s mission statement Who is coming to the event or who are the beneficiaries of the project (demographics, names, ages, etc.) What things or themes you'll be addressing during the project Why this project is unlike any other project that already exists The date, time, place and any other logistical details
  • 37. Set up a call or meeting before you send them details • It is more likely to increase their interest in your project if you talk to them on the phone or meet them face-to-face rather than just sending them an email requesting sponsorship. • This is especially important with large sponsorships or big media partners. • You want them to feel like you're working together to co-create an experience, and the best way to do that is to start building a relationship rather than simply asking for money.
  • 38. Avoid the scattergun approach • It may be tempting to send out as many packets as possible to as many different places as you can think of, using a bland broadcast designed to reach as many different avenues as possible. But this approach is wrong. • Be judicious in sending out packets, sending packets only to the companies you honestly think will be interested in your project.
  • 39. Individualized sponsorship packets • Send the potential sponsors on your list your individualized sponsorship packets. • Personalize every single email, packet, and correspondence you send out. • Taking the lazy way out will only ensure that your project never gets the sponsorship it deserves.
  • 40. Customize your approach • Customize your approach to each sponsor as they get on board. • If you've got one company contributing $10,000 to your project, how will you treat them differently than the other company contributing a couple hundred bucks? • The difference should be notable and substantial, from the perks you offer to the publicity to the way you talk with them on the phone.
  • 41. Customize your approach • Customize your approach to each sponsor as they get on board. • If you've got one company contributing $10,000 to your project, how will you treat them differently than the other company contributing a couple hundred bucks? • The difference should be notable and substantial, from the perks you offer to the publicity to the way you talk with them on the phone.
  • 42. Sponsorship in Times of COVID-19 How can you find and manage sponsorships during the COVID-19 pandemic and how should you adapt your approach?
  • 43. Don’t hibernate • The worst thing you can do now is nothing. • Reach out to your corporate sponsors by phone, personalized email and handwritten notes. Ask how they are doing. • Remember, companies are made up of human beings; they, too, are worried about the future. Ask them how COVID-19 is impacting their company and its employees.
  • 44. Don’t panic • Some of your sponsors will pull their funding; now is the time to position yourself as an organization that can adapt and that can continue to make an impact on the community. • Remember that corporate sponsors want to jump on a winning bandwagon, not a sinking ship.
  • 45. Turn Mission: Impossible into Mission: Virtual Leverage this opportunity to catapult your mission into the modern era by bringing your services online and upgrading your in-person efforts to digital sponsor development. Going virtual will teach you: a) expand the reach of your mission to the entire globe, increasing the impact of your sponsorships; b) reach sponsors online c) develop more robust ways to recognize sponsors outside of events, improving your ability to secure general/program sponsorships.
  • 46. “Ask not what your sponsor can do for you, but what you can do for your sponsor!” Ask what you can do to support their company, their employees and their customers. You are, after all, a provider of vital services in our community. Is there a way you can use your services and expertise to support your corporate partners now? Tips for dealing with anxiety Employee training how to use technology Poverty relief for the community Motivational team building exercises Social events to get morale up “How can you we help your team?”
  • 47. Consider the three P’s POLL Ask your sponsors what they think of turning your project into a virtual one. Give them some ideas about how you can possibly meet their sponsor benefits in a different way. Get their suggestions as well. PIVOT Instead of canceling, consider implementing a virtual event, a collaborative marketing event or a non-event (stay home and give). POSTPONE Canceling should be the last resort. Postpone your event to give yourself more time to plan if needed but consider how you might be able to pivot to an online format.
  • 48. Highlight the advantages of sponsorship • This is a good time to remind partners and sponsors of the benefits of working with you. • For example, your project can give their brand more exposure and help them generate effective leads. • Not only are these conversations productive and positive, but they’ll also help to cement your working relationship going forward. • One of the first things you can ask your sponsor is: What can you add to their sponsorship package to sweeten the deal, and thank them for their patience and support?
  • 49. Ask your sponsors to help you solve problems Could they remove restrictions on their last sponsorship so that you can use it for general operations or COVID-19 response? Could they shift from being an project sponsor to a program sponsor, potentially making a greater impact on your mission while also giving them a more unique branding opportunity? If they are not able to fund you this year, could they give you notice so that you can plan ahead? Could they introduce you to other funders who are doing better right now and who may be able to help fill the gap? In lieu of cash, could they give you access to their talent or resources to help you with converting an in-person event to an online one?