Before you dive in, if you are interested in event sponsorship, check out these titles in our “sponsorship for events” series:
How to Find Corporate Sponsorship for an Event
How to Ask for Sponsorship for an Event
The Six Step Event Sponsorship Checklist
How to Measure Event Sponsorship ROI
Why Sponsorship is Important for Events: Using Sponsorship to Make Events Awesome
How to Get Event Sponsorship: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
Sponsorship During Times of Crisis: Cancelled Events, Postponing and Refunds
Why Sponsorship Is Important for Events: Using Sponsorship to Make Events Awesome!
How to Display Sponsors at an Event (That People Will Actually See)
How to get Media Sponsorship for an Event: A Practical Guide
If you’ve only skimmed through the information in this guide (which, you really should take the time to read everything), then spend some time with this section at least. It’s a recap of all the steps needed for event sponsorship success.
The next stage of your event sponsorship program is to put together your proposal. This will be your first time writing a sponsorship proposal, and you’re still trying to understand what should be in there versus what you should leave out. What must you include in a sponsorship proposal?
Your event sponsorship proposal must have these 5 things:
- Audience data
- Sponsorship package
- Case studies
- Contact information
Ahead, I’ll explain in far more detail why your proposal needs the above elements. I’ll also provide tips for writing your sponsorship proposal along the way, so make sure you check it out.
5 Must-Have Things in Your Event Sponsorship Proposal
Writing a sponsorship proposal is where a lot of sponsorship seekers get stuck, as I’ve said before on the blog. With the pressure of a looming event, you can’t afford to write and rewrite your proposal ad infinitum.
With the advice in this post, you shouldn’t have to! If your event sponsorship proposal has the following elements in it, then you’re already off to a great start.
Let’s begin with the biggest facet of your event sponsorship proposal, and that’s your audience data.
In sponsorship, your audience is everything. In events too, your audience is everything. After all, if you don’t know who’s gone to your past events and who’s coming to this one, how can you ensure it’s an entertaining, educational, enjoyable experience for them?
That’s one reason, of many, why audience data is critical. Your target sponsors will review your audience segments to determine where–if at all–those segments fit into the sponsor’s target audience.
Audience data is borne out of the audience survey. You should email your survey to your past event attendees and anyone registered for your upcoming event.
All you’re asking for is maybe 10 or 15 minutes of their time. In the survey, your audience members will fill out multiple-choice questions and type in comments.
What kind of information should you ask about? In this post, I laid it all out for you. You need each audience member’s basic demographic and geographic information as well as:
- Brand loyalty and preferences in industries such as travel, retail, insurance, automotive, electronics, etc.
- Past event experiences, good and bad
- Other events the audience member has attended and what they liked and disliked about them
- Why they participate with your company or organization
- What they like and dislike about participating with your company or organization
- What they wish your company or organization would change
I’m sure, as a consumer, that you’ve filled out audience surveys before, possibly without even realizing that’s what you were doing. What motivated you to take the time out of your busy day to answer a bunch of questions?
That’s right, you were incentivized. Many companies and organizations will add your name to a list for the chance to win a $200 or $500 gift card just for filling out a survey.
Your audience will need incentivizing too. Even if you don’t give them a gift card, you must offer them something of value, such as a voucher or an exclusive discount code.
When the results come in, you’ll naturally begin to group like responses together. As each group or audience segment becomes more targeted, I implore you to niche down as much as you can.
What do I mean by niching down? You should hyper-segment each audience group until you feel like you can’t possibly split them down into more niche groups. Then take this data and dress it up nicely in a graph or a chart.
Event Sponsorship Package
The next must-have in your event sponsorship proposal is the sponsorship package. This is a collection of your assets for the sponsor to peruse.
Assets in sponsorship are tangibles and intangibles you offer to the sponsor for sale. They buy the assets–everything from event naming rights to booth space–and that’s where your funding comes from.
How do you find assets to sell to a sponsor? I recommend looking at your company, past events, and current programs. Think about what people gravitate towards. That should be the basis of your assets.
Think also of what you know about the sponsor to this point. If you’ve had a discovery session, then you should be aware of some of the sponsor’s current obstacles. Any asset that can help them overcome that obstacle is valuable.
I know that one of the first assets that will come to mind is logos. At an event, a logo is nothing more than background noise. It doesn’t make an attendee slow down or stop. It doesn’t arouse their curiosity. It’s something they see along with plenty of other signage throughout the day, so it doesn’t stick.
Even though this is your first sponsorship program, you can do better than logos. Any sponsorship seeker can.
Once you have some assets you think the sponsor will like, it’s time to arrange them into a menu. You can look like a pro sponsorship seeker just by avoiding the rookie mistake that is using gold, silver, and bronze levels.
Sponsors hate tiered levels in asset menus because it locks them into a lot of stuff they don’t want to buy just so they can access the few assets they want.
Before you can put your assets in a menu, you’ll have to have valued them or determined their price. This guide will tell you how to do it.
Allow me to share some valuation best practices.
- Even if your assets are grouped together in a property, you still must value every asset individually.
- It’s okay to look at what your competitors are doing and use their pricing as the inspiration for your own. You should not directly copy a competitor’s prices though.
- Market value is always a great litmus test for pricing your assets; keep in mind that market value can change geographically.
- Your sponsor will expect you to be able to explain how you determined the value of each asset, so you might want to document your methods. This is like showing your work in math class.
You know how when you’re applying for a job, you give the hiring manager some references? Each reference leaves a glowing review about you and your skills, which likely inspires the hiring manager’s decision.
In sponsorship, your case studies are those references. A case study details your history of sponsorships.
In the case study, you want to describe who you worked with, what the sponsor’s needs were, how you helped them, and what resulted.
The more details you have, the better, including specifics like a sponsor’s increased earnings, customer growth, social media followers, email list booms…whatever their goal was, you want to be able to showcase that you helped the sponsor accomplish that goal and then some.
What if you don’t have any prior sponsorship experience? That’s okay. Surely, you’ve worked with other companies or individuals in the past. Use those experiences for your case studies.
You don’t necessarily have to have been compensated for the partnership. As long as your partner had issues and you solved them, then it’s a viable example for a case study.
If there’s one thing you should not include in your event sponsorship proposal, it’s a statement saying “I’m willing to customize anything you see here; just ask!”
Why is that statement so bad? It makes you look inflexible, despite how accommodating you were trying to appear. You see, if you really wanted to customize your sponsorship proposal, then you would have done so from the very beginning.
A statement like that essentially gives you free rein to do whatever you want in your proposal with the offer to fix or change things later.
Customizing your sponsorship proposal, especially the assets menu, is the best way to ensure that both you and the sponsor get the long end of the stick.
Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or shoot your sponsor a quick email saying something like, “I was thinking about X asset and I was wondering if that’s something you think would help with Y goal.”
If they say yes, then great! This also suggests that you should position this asset higher in your menu because you know it’s valuable to the sponsor. That doesn’t mean you should overcharge for it, mind you, but give it the prominence it deserves.
If the sponsor tells you no, they’re not as interested in that asset as you are, that’s okay too. They might suggest changes to the asset or request that you scrap it altogether.
If a sponsor wants you to let go of certain assets, you should. You’ll have more than enough valuable assets if you work with the sponsor to customize your menu, trust me.
Once you reach the finish line of your event sponsorship proposal, you’re usually relieved and very tired. Just make sure you don’t forget to add your contact information, as much of it as you can.
Throw in your social media handles, your email address if the sponsor doesn’t have that, or your phone number if the sponsor was missing it. As I always say on the blog, the easier it is for the sponsor to contact you, the better.
An event sponsorship proposal showcases your current audience data and organizes your assets into a menu the sponsor can pick and choose from. Now that you know what goes into your proposal, writing it should be less difficult.
If you need help formatting the proposal, check out my sponsorship proposal template here. The template goes through all six pages and details what goes on which page.
Remember, the sponsorship proposal doesn’t make the sale – you do!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Chris Baylis is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Sponsorship Collective.
After spending several years in the field as a sponsorship professional and consultant, Chris now spends his time working with clients to help them understand their audiences, build activations that sponsors want, apply market values to their assets and build strategies that drive sales.
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