Conference Sponsorship Proposal Template
Your annual conference has grown significantly over the years. It’s already conference planning time, and this year, you want the event to be its most encompassing yet. That means you need twice, maybe thrice the funding your conference usually requires, so you’ve decided to pursue sponsorship.
Part of that process entails writing a sponsorship proposal, which is a succinct, six-page document that includes information on your event as well as your audience data, your assets menu, and your contact information.
This template will be your guide to writing a knockout conference sponsorship proposal that could move a sponsorship deal forward!
How to Use This Conference Sponsorship Proposal Template
Before I get into the page-by-page template, I want to make clear a few things. If you haven’t already done your audience research or compiled your assets, you’ll need to take care of those tasks first. Your assets should be evaluated or priced as well.
Writing your sponsorship proposal is but one part of your sponsorship program. This document you’re putting together now is very important, but it alone will not win you sponsorship. That’s up to you to do when you meet with target sponsors.
This template, while mostly for conference sponsorship, should work for other events in that same vein such as business expos and conventions. By making moderate tweaks, you can even repurpose this template for sports sponsorship or other targeted sponsorship areas.
Title Page (Page 1)
The title page of your corporate sponsorship proposal should be neat, clean, and succinct. If your conference has a name, then put that clear across the page. You can otherwise include the name of your program or opportunity.
Any related tagline should go on the title page as well, as should your company or organization logo. Put a date on the title page and perhaps a link to your website too. Avoid the urge to make the title case or logo huge just because you have the space.
Most importantly, don’t refer to the document as a sponsorship proposal, especially not on the title page but also not in the rest of the document.
The second page of your conference sponsorship proposal is audience data. Yes, you want to present this data before you mention how much money you need from the sponsor.
Your audience data should be current, so you should have issued your audience survey within the last three to six months. On this page, present clear demographics, psychographics, and geographics on your audience segments. Since you’re hosting a conference, hyper-target your audience segmentation so the information is conference-related.
For example, dividing your audience by salary or interests is pertinent, as is geographically splitting your audience and then tying their location to potential attendance. Depending on the type of conference, it might also make sense to sort your audience by their age or gender.
Make this audience data appealing and easily read by producing pie charts, graphs, or line charts that display your data. Target sponsors will always appreciate these visuals compared to being presented with a list of numbers.
That’s not the only visual you can use. If you have photos of past year’s conferences with a jam-packed event hall, a photo or two is a good addition to the second page. The images drive home that you can really attract a large audience, which target sponsors will view positively.
Now it’s time to discuss your conference, but you have a limited amount of space in which to do so. The third page of your proposal is three paragraphs only, and each paragraph has a specific purpose.
The first paragraph is about your cause. Describe your company, what you do, and what you need. Avoid veering into sob story territory. Trying to make the target sponsor sympathetic towards you will not work in getting you conference sponsorship.
This paragraph is dedicated to your conference. Write about what your conference is, how long you’ve hosted it, what its objectives are, how many people usually attend, and what you hope to accomplish with your event this year.
In the third paragraph, you want to talk about your company or organization’s board, delegates, attendees, and users. Feel free to add market research to this paragraph to beef it up and make it sing.
The average paragraph is six to seven sentences, so avoid over-stuffing your paragraphs so you can fit more information, especially in the first paragraph where you get to talk about yourself.
Here is where your sponsorship package or menu goes. Refrain from mentioning the word “sponsorship” directly on this page. Instead, title the page using your conference objectives as inspiration. For example, you could say “Reach Out to People in X Area” or “Engage Decision makers in Y Industry.”
Before presenting your menu, include a statement that encapsulates your company philosophy and your willingness to work with sponsors.
Avoid writing how you’ll customize your sponsorship package. You instead want to say something like “we’re open to your suggestions and request that you contact us with your feedback on how you can engage our network.” This wording is more palatable to target sponsors.
You might add a second statement that welcomes the target sponsor to cherry-pick from your menu. If some opportunities are only available at a certain price level, you have to mention that as well.
Your Sponsorship Menu Chart
I never recommend sorting your assets into gold, silver, and bronze tiers. This is one of the most tired ways of making a menu and your target sponsors have seen it a million times by now. They’re also going to be dubious about you roping them into paying for gold-level sponsorship just to get a few assets they want.
As I recommended before, customize, customize, customize. Invite the sponsor to customize your menu further so it suits you and them.
Creating your menu is as easy as using Microsoft Excel or any chart-making program (even Word can make charts). Let me share with you a sample chart that you can use to get started.
|Level||Investment||Signage on Stage||Provide an MC||Address the Crowd||Tickets||Booth||Ad Size|
|Title Sponsor||$25,000||X||X||X||10||1||Full page|
|Other||$3,000||2||Business card size|
Could you present a sponsorship menu just like this, provided all the information is filled in, of course? Sure, if you just care about the meat and potatoes. Some sponsorship seekers will take things a step forward and hire a graphic designer to make their sponsorship menu look more visually appealing.
That’s a decision that only your company or organization can make. Target sponsors care more about the information on the menu than how appealing it is, so you can’t hoodwink a sponsor into a poor deal with a pretty, frilly sponsorship menu.
The fifth page of your conference sponsorship proposal is like a continuation of the assets menu. You’re presenting another asset but separately: your activation opportunities.
Activations are experiential marketing opportunities that entertain, educate, or otherwise fulfill your audience’s needs while also meeting your sponsor’s needs. You’re not guessing at these needs, but rather, you’ve gleaned them through your audience survey as well as discussions or meetings with the target sponsor.
I recommend thinking of several things your target sponsor needs and then several things your audience needs or wants. Then find a way to tie them together. For example, if you know your target sponsor wants to give away free samples, then you could place a booth or a table at your conference for the sponsor. Your audience members will come in droves because everyone loves free stuff.
This sort of becomes like a matching game if you do it right. Your sponsor’s needs are on one side, your audience’s needs are on the other, then you draw a line that connects them. For every connection you make, come up with three to five activations.
Activations need not be overly expensive. Your activation idea can be free and if it meets the needs of your sponsor and your audience, then it will be a hit!
The last page is your contact page. This is more complex than the title page, as you want to include a call to action or CTA.
That CTA can be in the form of a title. Even something basic like “we want to hear from you!” suffices, but I’m sure you can come up with something more creative.
Request that the target sponsor reaches out to you with comments, questions, or to tell you how they want to customize your sponsorship package or add to it in other ways.
Then make it easy for the sponsor to reach out by sharing all your contact information, such as your business address, phone number, email address (no email@example.com please!), and even your social handles if you’re feeling generous.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Baylis is the President and CEO of The Sponsorship Collective and a self-confessed sponsorship geek.
After several years as a sponsor (that’s right, the one investing the money!) Chris decided to cross over to the sponsorship sales side where he has personally closed tens of millions of dollars in sponsorship deals. Chris has been on the front lines of multi-million dollar sponsorship agreements and has built and coached teams to do the same.
Chris now spends his time working with clients to value their assets and build strategies that drive sales. An accomplished speaker and international consultant, Chris has helped his clients raise millions in sponsorship dollars.