Acquiring Event Sponsorship: The 30,000 Foot View [Sample]


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Acquiring Event Sponsorship: The 30,000 Foot View is the closest thing to a manual for how to effectively finance your events. There’s no frills. No fancy graphics. Just solid information. Moving forward, it’s our hope to give you useful advice on fundraising for future events.

Acquiring Event Sponsorship: The 30,0000 Foot View is for individuals/organizations who plan events, but don’t want to be burdened by the full cost of putting it on:

* Conference/Workshop Planners
* Non-Profit Organizations/Charities
* Party Promoters
* Political Organizations
* PR/Marketing Firms
* Religious Organizations
* Small Businesses
* Event Venues

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Acquiring Event Sponsorship: The 30,000 Foot View [Sample]

  1. 1. sponsorshipu This is a sample from Sponsorship U. You can download the full version for free at www sponsorshipu org Acquiring Event Sponsorship: T H E 3 0 , 0 0 0 F O O T V I E W SponsorshipU @sponsorshipu #sponsorshipu spo so s pu - The Business School for Event Organizers February 2010
  2. 2. Why Are We Doing This? We get slammed with requests on a daily basis for advice on acquiring event sponsorship or connections to sponsors. In a nutshell, it isn’t easy. We can’t spend 10 minutes on the phone with people, and expect to solve their problem (not to mention it's time-consuming and impossible to help more than a few people). There a e The e are a small number of e ent o gani e s that are very good and get the majority of the sponsorship n mbe event organizers ae e majo it sponso ship dollars. But there’s a large number of event organizers that are deficient in a few correctable areas and they work really hard, but don’t get any sponsorship. Many event organizers want a sponsor to fund their idea, but it often takes them a long time to realize that such sponsors don’t exist. By this time, they are bitter and tired and blame the companies, rather than their own lack of understanding of what it takes to get sponsorship funding. For brand/marketing managers and agencies, we hope to increase the quality of pitches in your pipeline, and, thus, hope to improve the quality of events produced. , p p q y p We’ve pretty much made all of the mistakes listed in this guide. Often times, more than once. You’re encouraged to read this, read it again, and read it once more. This guide won t guarantee that you ll get funded, but it will put you in a better position. At the end of the day, won’t you’ll you’ll realize that either (a) you don’t need to pursue sponsorship as a method for financing your event, or (b) you have to make some adjustments to your current strategy. 2
  3. 3. Who Is This For? Individuals and organizations who plan events, but don’t want to be burdened by the full cost of putting it on: • Conference/Workshop Planners / p • Non-Profit Organizations/Charities • Party Promoters • Political Organizations • PR/Marketing Firms • Religious Organizations • Small Businesses • Event Venues • Learning Institutions Remember, you’re building a business case, not simply putting together a “proposal.” 3
  4. 4. Foreword “Will this type of presentation guarantee you funding? Of course not. Even if you have the Will not world’s best event you might find out that your particular market might have a really, really high bar of achievement for funding. In fact, just trying to implement these concepts showing tangible progress will make most event organizers realize how hard really raising money is. Try it.” -Steve Bank (paraphrase) This document is intended to show you “the what” about raising funds for events. There’s so the what There s much information to cover that we have to keep this as high-level as possible (if there’s enough demand, we’ll dig deeper and develop a paper discussing “the how”). We ve We’ve tried to simplify our language as much as possible. But in the end, people who get funded have that intangible quality of finding the answers to terms/concepts they don’t understand by themselves. In short, they want to be great. To help you out when additional research is required, we’ve we ve added a Google icon or a Help bubble. - Jarel, Joey, & Tirrell 4
  5. 5. SPONSORSHIP IS EVIL It implies you are looking for someone to foot the bill. Partnerships are reciprocal, sponsorship is selfish and one one- side. If no one but you wins, then don't expect the sponsor to sign on for the next event. Partnerships/Partners always come back… - Leontyne Brown Former Brand Jordan National Advertising Director
  6. 6. Contents 1. Your Path 2. What You Need To Know 3. Awesome Events 4. Financing The Event 5. Partners 6. Returning Value 7. Traction 8. 8 The Ask 9. Pitching 10. Closing The Deal 11. Prove Your Value 12. A New Hope 13. Before We Let You Go 14. Questions? 6
  7. 7. Choose Your Fundraising Strategy Before we get to the good stuff, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to spend your time raising funds. You, pretty much, have three options: The Chosen One Strategy: Wait until you’re obviously fundable before you raise money. Keep building value until partners come to you. The Hobby Strategy: Keep working on the event while you raise money as a hobby. Spend less than 25% of your time fundraising so you can focus on activities that have Hint: a greater chance of creating value. Don’t Choose the Hobby Strategy. The Efficient Strategy: Raise money full-time and test the market very efficiently through focus and lessons learned. 7 Source: Mark Suster
  8. 8. IDEAS ARE WORTHLESS only thing that matters is execution execution.
  9. 9. Why Proposals Get Declined Now that you know how you will be spending your time. Let’s look at the people you are pitching. Brand/marketing managers get thousands of pitches/ proposals a year g g g p p p y (unsolicited in many cases), and most get ignored. The most common reasons for getting turned down are: • They don’t answer the key questions the partner is asking h d ’ h k h k • Isn’t in a format that they can sell internally • They don’t show how the partner will get their money back Hint: • They aren’t directed to the decision-maker If you kkeep getting tti • The concept isn’t a match for the partner’s marketing strategy asked non-key • A solid relationship has not been built questions, then • Information came in at the last minute something is wrong o 6-8 weeks for large companies (Nike, P&G, etc.) with your pitch. o 5-6 weeks for smaller companies (Brand Jordan) o 2 weeks or less: get the heck outta here… • “The Ask” is not included (you know, what you're actually asking for) Bonus: Large compa i s Bo us: Larg companies start s tti g their budget 12-18 mo ths i adva c They ll setting th ir budg t months in advance. Th y’ll need time to include your event in the budget. Once the money is gone, its gone… 9 Source: Eric Ries
  10. 10. Ten Common Mistakes These are the some of the mistakes event organizers make when raising funds for their event: 1. Inadequate Preparation q p Today’s economic climate requires you to get inside the head of the typical brand manager and a deliver a plan and event model that will meet his/her concerns. 2. Mass Sponsorship Solicitation Emails Sending a generic deck via email to many brands at once. 3. Failure To Understand The Partner Failing to learn or understand your partner’s business (i.e. how they make money). 4. Tied To The Plan Failing in love with your plan (creating stubbornness, inflexibility, and defensiveness). 5. No Team Hint: It’s key to Failing to recognize that proven ability to create ROI is what really matters to brands. cultivate the 6. 6 Bigger Is Better relationship even if Providing decks that are four inches thick (size does matter and shorter is better). Be prepared to have multiple presentations in different lengths. you don’t get 7. Bad Timing sponsorship dollars Forgetting that timing is everything. Don’t raise money at the last minute. It will be already be too the first go-around. g late, late and the cost of desperation will be too high high. 8. Price Wise/Partner Foolish It’s not just about getting the best financial deal, it’s also about learning what other strategic benefits the partner brings to the table. 9. No Competition Believing and professing to brands that your event has no competition g p g y p 10. Fear Being so afraid of sharing your idea that you don’t tell anyone about it. You can’t see if you don’t tell. 10 Source: Atlanta Urban League
  11. 11. The Key Questions Let’s show you what key questions they are asking. They should describe how you will create ROI for partner’s product/service: 1. Does this concept fit a marketing need? 2. Are you going to blow the partner’s investment? 3. Can you really pull this event off? 4. Are those numbers real? 5. How big is the total addressable market? g 6. Can your team execute the growth plan? 7. Can you monetize that traffic (or drive traffic to a profitable destination)? 8. Who is the customer, and how do you know? Tip: 9. How do you know anyone would want the partner’s product/service? Basically, these 10. Have you made money for your partners i the past? 0 d f in h ? questions are intended 11. Are you domain experts? to reduce investment 12. Are you committed to an idea in your domain expertise? risk 13. What kind of risk do you need to mitigate (concept risk, market risk, team risk, risk funding risk)? 14. Why was your last event not successful? What lessons did you learn? 15. What are the explanatory events? 16. Why can’t you grow faster? 17. 17 What are the accelerating effects? 11 Source: Eric Ries & Glen Kelman
  12. 12. Here s Here’s What You Need Thought you had it all, huh? In short, do you have: • Ability to Sell the Brand Manager/Agency Account Manager • Amazing Concept/Unique Event Model • Rock Star Team • Traction • In a Large or Fast-Growing or Hard-to-Tap Market • y Defensibility • Repeatable ROI Model • Financials • Reasonable Financial Terms • Measureable Milestones for Success ROI = • Knowledge of Product/Service Governmental Regulations l d f d /S i G l l i Return on • Agility To Adapt to Market Reality Investment • Mastery of the Art of Persuasion 12
  13. 13. assume you have 30 competitors. assume half of them have more money than you do. assume they’re ahead of you. don’t worry when they launch before you do…. do EVERY OVERNIGHT SUCCESS STORY IS THE RESULT OF YEARS OF SUSTAINED, FOCUSED SUSTAINED EXECUTION Source: Babak Nivi
  14. 14. Amazing Concept So you have a concept for an event do you? What makes it so awesome? Your event should provide the ability to touch the consumer in ways the brand can’t. Ask yourself: • What problem in the market are you trying solve? • How is your concept solving this problem and what’s so amazing about it? • What is the opportunity(s) for the market and partner? pp y( ) p Tip: • Who are your competitors? Competitors • What is your revenue model (if applicable)? aren’t just similar • What’s the next version of the concept/ What is the end game? events. Other • Is it designed for the “everyday person” in your domain? entertainment Your proof that you options ti s have a great concept The objective is to find a model that repeats. You are on a manhunt for a model comes from people that is more science than art. To achieve this, you should: attending your event. • Execute the basic version of your concept (without the bells & whistles) • Test your assumptions in front of consumers • Preserve cash until you have a model that works • Turn guesses into facts • Understand why the model works • Repeat 14
  15. 15. Rock Star Team Ok, so now your concept is awesome. Who is going to help you execute it again? You aren’t going to do it by yourself are you? A rock star team includes: • Management Level Participants o There is more than one of you, right? o Are any of you marketing ninjas? y y g j o Do you have a following? o Do you all have the right amount of experience/expertise in your niche? o Do they have numerous key relationships? Tip: Find a mentor Um, key Um “key o Any relevant skills? l kill ? that will provide you relationships” don’t honest feedback with mean Facebook recommendations to friends and those • Service Providers better you & your you follow on Twitter. o Design (Web, Graphic, etc.) team. o Public Relations Firm o Talent (deejay, band, speakers, etc.) • Advisory Board o Industry Veterans o Old Clients 15
  16. 16. Location + People + Culture = Market Now you have an awesome concept and a rock star team to execute it. Who is attending your event? This will go a long way in helping to estimate a reasonable ROI. Keep in mind, market requirements drive concept development. • How many people are really in your market? • How do they operate? • What are their needs? Tip: p • What do they do everyday? y y y If your following • How many of these people are really going to purchase the partner’s already purchases product/service? “product x”, then why • How do you know? would the • What products are they using that fulfills a similar need (substitute Brand want to partner with your products)? d )? event? They already • How are they currently purchasing these products? have them hooked. • What is their degree of loyalty to current products/providers? • What are the growth trends? Market Size = # of buyers in your niche x quantity purchased by average buyer in market per year x price of average unit 16
  17. 17. Defensibility Your concept is awesome, your team is full of rock stars, and people are coming out in droves...If you have, even, moderate success, your concept will probably be stolen. Anticipate and pivot: • Find the things that only you do well • What is going to prevent your concept from being copied? • Do you have exclusive access to some important resource that others can’t g get to? • Are you building a “tribe”? • Are you aligned with key sales stakeholders? Google “Tribes” by Seth Godin 17
  18. 18. Financials You have a rock star team to execute an awesome concept in a proven market. Even better, the concept is difficult to replicate. But, seriously, how can you prove that you'll make money? More importantly, how are your partners going to see a return? You must have a deep understanding of the numbers that matter to your business. Prepare a detailed document that reflects the numbers of the event: • Shows historic information • Shows the primary & secondary ROI sources Google "scale" for • Identifies timing of cash needs more info, but, think • Is any component of the event scalable (marketing, downloads, etc.)? about scaling as • Do you understand the consumer acquisition costs of the event AND for d d h i ii f h f increasing revenue the partner? alot while your • What are your assumptions and what data supports them? expenses barely increase Note: Any good manager will cut your projections in half. Be realistic. half realistic 18
  19. 19. BE A RISK TAKER if you re not willing to proceed with the event you’re without funding, why should a brand take a risk with you?
  20. 20. This is a sample from Sponsorship U. You can download the full version for free at - The Business School for Event Organizers February 2010