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The Top Five Things Sponsors Want More Of 

by | September 2, 2022

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As a sponsorship seeker, are you looking to renegotiate with a sponsor for even more money? Perhaps you’ve been dissatisfied with the quality of your sponsor relationships in the past and you want to take things to the next level. In both those scenarios and many more, that means increasing what you offer a sponsor. What are sponsors looking for more of?

Here are the top five things sponsors want more of:

  • Audience data
  • Investment in their problems 
  • Custom assets and activations
  • Measurable KPIs
  • Communication, communication, communication

In this guide, I’ll take you through all five things that the average sponsor is looking for a whole lot more of. I’ll also offer my suggestions along the way on how you can provide these things to your sponsors to make for more fruitful, lucrative sponsorship deals!

Your Sponsors Want More Of These Five Things

Audience Data

It just so happens that the first item on this list is also probably what sponsors are seeking from their partners the most, hands down, no argument.

It is, of course, audience data.

Audience data can mean different things to different sponsorship seekers, and therein lies the problem. 

Some people think that looking at historical trends and event attendance data to determine that your biggest group is “mid-30s investment bankers” or “middle-class families,” or “working mothers on the east coast” is going to cut it for your sponsor.

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Allow me to explain why it doesn’t work. Imagine, for a moment, that you’re a salesperson. I’m your boss, and I’m asking you to sell to a middle-class family. And…go.

You can’t do it, right? How are you supposed to choose a tailored product or solution with such a vague audience segment?

You’d want to ask a dozen more questions, like how many children? What do the parents do for work? How much money does the family make?

Now you can see why your sponsors have a problem when you present them with vague audience groups.

During your sponsored event, program, or opportunity, the sponsor is the salesperson. 

Sometimes, although not usually, they’re only selling brand awareness. More than likely, they’re trying to garner leads, and sometimes, they want to sell their products or services outright.

A good salesperson needs information, and you’re not providing that information. This hinders the sponsor from doing their job, and they end up with far fewer leads or far fewer sales than you had originally projected for them. 

Fixing this issue is easy. If you have audience data, you need to go deeper.

If you don’t have audience data, then first you need to procure it, and then you need to go deeper. 

I recommend issuing an audience survey to collect the data you want. 

As I got into detail in this post, the best audience surveys ask detailed questions when it comes to psychographics especially. 

You want to know what kinds of products your audience is using, what motivates their purchasing decisions, what their opinions and stances are, and what kind of events besides yours they enjoy attending. 

You also want to know all their thoughts on your events, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Don’t forget the demographic and geographic questions as well, as those are important. You especially want to learn about your audience’s respective locations, job titles, number of children, and income.

You can use the questions from that blog post in your own audience survey. I don’t mind. They’re yours to do with as you wish.

Okay, so how do you go deeper once you have audience data? You segment, and you segment, and you segment some more. You split your groups into such specific niches based on the criteria above that you couldn’t possibly make them more specific.

Investment in Their Problems

Another area where I see sponsorship seekers go wrong all too often is failing to think about the sponsor’s problems enough when pursuing sponsorship.

I know, I know, if you’re a small business or a nonprofit or any other kind of organization, how in the world can an SMB or even a bigger company have problems? They can hire anybody they need to solve anything, right?

Well maybe, but I’m telling you, no matter who your prospect is, their company has problems. It doesn’t mean they’re at risk of going under or anything nearly that dire, but they have problems.

Every company does. Yours does, and that’s why you’re reading this article. You can’t secure a sponsor. 

When you go into a sponsorship arrangement or a potential sponsorship arrangement and all you’re focused on is how much you need money and the precise dollar amount, you’re going about it all wrong. 

A sponsor doesn’t want to hear what you’d do if they only, pretty please with sugar on top, were to part with $30,000 and give it to you. 

Sponsorship should be a partnership. Both those terms are overplayed in my book, but you think of a partner differently than you do a sponsor. A partner, you’re invested in. A sponsor, to many, is a walking ATM. 

So have a discovery session. Sit down in the same room or get on Zoom or talk on the phone and ask the prospect about their problems. 

Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions. Sometimes, a sponsor might give you a vague answer at first. With a little bit of poking and prodding, you can get to the true answer.

It’s more that your prospect can’t connect with a certain audience segment that your audience is primarily composed of. It’s that all their social media campaigns appealing to that demo have failed.

It’s a little annoying to feel like you’re pulling teeth, and I’d agree, but you have to be willing to do a bit of digging sometimes to get to the answer. 

You also want to hear about the solutions your prospect has tried or is thinking of trying and whether these have worked. 

The answers you get to these questions will inspire your own solutions. You don’t want to repeat something that’s failed or only led to moderate gains, after all.

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Custom Assets and Activations

If you asked me, sponsors would have a parade in the street if they never had to receive another stock sponsorship package again.

You know what I’m talking about, the sponsorship packages with gold, silver, and bronze tiers. 

All the best assets are stuffed into the gold tier, then the decent assets are in the silver tier, and the less decent assets are in the bronze tier. 

The goal is to present okay assets in the other two tiers to inspire the sponsor to buy all the assets in the gold tier.

Tiered sponsorship is easy, which is a big part of its appeal among sponsorship seekers. But presenting a one-size-fits-all approach to every sponsor doesn’t work. It doesn’t show that you want to help the sponsor in any meaningful way.

What you need to offer is custom sponsorship packages with assets and activations that aren’t stuffed into tiers. 

And since I know what you’re thinking, no, it’s not enough to say that you’re willing to customize your sponsorship package.

I’ve talked about this elsewhere on the blog, but if you really intended to customize your assets, you’d do it. Saying you can is merely lip service.

Selling stock sponsorship says to your sponsor that their problems, needs, and goals aren’t unique. 

You’re also undercutting yourself. You’re not showing the true breadth of what you can offer when you present a prospect with stock sponsorship levels. 

For example, let’s say that your prospect failed spectacularly with their last social media campaign, as mentioned. You happen to excel at social media marketing. That’s a major asset you can offer if you’re willing to customize your sponsorship package.

Sponsors also like custom assets and activations because it shows you were listening. They’ll see that you’re offering a tailored social media marketing plan and feel glad that for once, someone is offering them something they need and not merely asking for money.

You don’t have to put together the custom assets and activations solely on your own. Your sponsor is more than willing to help. 

Then you’d take everything and arrange it nicely into your sponsorship package and present it.

Measurable KPIs

Sponsorship is an investment on the part of your sponsor. It’s an investment of time, and–more importantly to any company–it’s an investment of money. 

If a company is going to invest, they want to see some return on investment. 

In other words, if a sponsor gives you $20,000, then even though they won’t get that money back, they hope to recoup that money in other ways, such as a more robust email list, lead generation, or even direct sales.

How do you prove that you did what you said you would? 

After all, it’s not like the sponsor is watching everything you do at the event, or that they’d even have the time or the means to do that. They have their own thing going on and can’t oversee the entire event. That’s your job. 

You can prove that you delivered what you said you would through the post-event report, which is also known as the sponsorship fulfillment report.

In the sponsorship fulfillment report, you go through every deliverable that you promised the sponsor and then describe whether you delivered it and just how well you did.

If you’re putting together a sponsorship fulfillment report for the first time and you want it to look good, this template will help you tremendously!

What if you over delivered on some assets or activations? That’s good. Sponsors love overdelivery. 

That said, if all you did was deliver on the bulk of what you promised, that’s fine too. You may try to go above and beyond, but if this is your first sponsorship deal, just doing what you promised will please your sponsor.

Okay, but what if you failed to deliver on a few assets or activations? You have to be upfront. 

Hopefully, there aren’t too many deliverables you failed on, but you have to explain what happened and whether it was something you could control or not.

The sponsorship fulfillment report has several benefits. 

For one, it’s a great chance to sit down with your sponsor after the event so you can chat about the report’s contents.

Sponsorship fulfillment reports also open the door for renegotiation, especially once your sponsor sees how much you knocked it out of the park. 

The other advantage of a post-event report is covering your own tushy. When you and the sponsor make things official via a contract, that contract is legally binding. 

You’re promising in that legally binding contract that you will deliver X assets and Y activations. 

To avoid a breach of contract, you want to have a means of proving that you delivered on as many assets and activations as possible.

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Communication, Communication, Communication 

So what is the last thing that your sponsors want more of? That’s easy: communication.

Now, please don’t take this to mean the wrong thing. More communication does not mean pestering a prospect at all hours to see whether they’ve gotten your proposal that you sent before you even had a phone call (which is a huge no-no).

I’m talking more about what happens once a prospect becomes an official sponsor or once you’re confident that they’re on track to become a sponsor. 

Sponsors like to be involved in your event, program, or opportunity. It’s not theirs at the end of the day, but their name is still attached to the event. Of course, they want it to go well.

There’s more impetus to it than that. A sponsor also wants your event to succeed because if it does, it will have a huge turnout. That gives the sponsor access to more potential customers. 

You should not defer everything pertaining to event planning to your sponsor. After all, your sponsor doesn’t know your audience as well as you do, so they won’t be able to tell you if a rock or pop DJ would be more fun or what kind of food vendors are best to have.

If you have questions about assets, activations, booth design, or other questions related to the sponsorship arrangement, please don’t feel like you have to handle everything yourself.

You’re allowed to pick up the phone or shoot off an email to the sponsor and ask for their thoughts, feelings, and opinions. They would welcome it. 

Having open lines of communication about the small stuff makes it a lot easier to talk about big things like contracts, money, negotiations, and possible renegotiations too.


Sponsors don’t want a lot of everything, just audience data, custom assets and activations, and a measurable ROI. 

Oh, and they also like it when you’re communicative and when you get invested in their goals and challenges.

If you can begin incorporating these five things into your future sponsorship program, you’ll have much happier sponsors!