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Planning an event takes a lot of time, but you know that the financial side of it can get expensive fast. You can recoup your costs by charging attendees, but there’s a limit to what people will pay to attend. How can you boost your margins? Event sponsors. 

Sponsors are the way to go. Sponsors get the limelight at your event in exchange for cutting you a check. That might mean giving your sponsors advertisements, sponsored sessions, or shoutouts during the event. 

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Sponsors can quickly put you back in the black, but how do you find sponsors in the first place? If you’re a small brand or creating a new event, you likely don’t have sponsorship requests flooding your inbox. Fortunately, all you need is a little elbow grease to find sponsors. Follow these nine tips to get a sponsor for your next event.

Define Event Goals

What’s the purpose of this event? When you know your event goal, it’s much easier to pick sponsors to help you achieve it. For example, if your goal is to connect sales professionals across North America, you must choose sponsors who fit that goal. That might mean seeking out sponsorships from an email marketing company or a CRM because they offer tools your audience uses. 

Event goals matter because they also help you define which sponsors you won’t work with. You wouldn’t allow an oil company to sponsor an eco-friendly event, right? Defining your event goals will help you find the perfect sponsors for the job, so start with an understanding of what you want to get out of this event.

Know Your Ideal Sponsor

Even if your budget is next to nothing, you can’t accept everyone’s money. Not all sponsors are ideal sponsors, after all. If you’re doing a sales conference, it would be weird to feature a balloon company as a sponsor; it would come off as irrelevant to your attendees.

Relevance is critical, but you also need to find a sponsor that ticks other boxes, like: 

  • Budget: Does the company have the budget to sponsor the event? 
  • Quality: When you feature a brand as a sponsor, you infer that you support that company. Thoroughly research every sponsor before you work with them. The last thing you want is a shady sponsor and the PR nightmares that come with them.
  • Expectations: Do their expectations fit with what you can realistically offer? If a sponsor wants one million impressions from an event with 50 attendees, it’s probably not a good arrangement.

When in doubt, create a checklist of what you’re looking for in a sponsor. It sucks to turn away a sponsorship opportunity, but you don’t want to say yes to an agreement that won’t work out, so only work with your ideal sponsors to plan the perfect event. 

Quantify Your Value

Sponsorships aren’t cheap, and your sponsors want to get value for the money. Brand awareness and product mentions are nice, but sponsors want an idea of how this sponsorship benefits them. 

Try to quantify the value of event sponsorship in terms of the following: 

  • Financial ROI
  • Engagement metrics
  • Audience demographics and attendance figures
  • Social media and press coverage

Remember, your sponsors have to justify this cost to their bosses, so quantify the value of your event to score more sponsorships.

Check SponsorMyEvent

Not sure how to connect with sponsors-to-be? Post your event on SponsorMyEvent, which is an online marketplace for sponsorships. This platform plays matchmaker between brands and events, helping you source more sponsorship requests in less time.

To get started, create an account and list your event details. Be sure to completely fill out the “Why Should You Sponsor?” area. Use your quantitative data to sell potential event sponsors on the perks of choosing your event over everyone else’s. 

Follow the Golden Rule

Word gets around in your industry. How you treat sponsors does affect how easily you get sponsorships in the future. Event sponsors are saving your bacon and helping you turn a profit, so go the extra mile to treat sponsors like the royalty they are. 

That might mean: 

  • Thanking sponsors with shoutouts before, during, and after the event. 
  • Surprising sponsors with lovely goodie bags. 
  • Offering free services or digital perks to your sponsors. 
  • Promoting the heck out of your sponsors on social media. 

It doesn’t hurt to maintain the relationship with past sponsors, either. Past sponsors are much more likely to work with you again if they have had a positive experience. Relationships matter in the event space, so keep up with your sponsors long after the event ends. 

Let People Know You Need Sponsors

The easiest way to discover your sponsorship opportunities is to source sponsors. If you need sponsors, let people know about it! To generate interest, you can announce a call for sponsors on social media, your website, and your email list. Create a webpage that details the benefits of sponsoring your event. 

See Who Your Attendees Follow

If you’re looking for relevant sponsors for your event, why not see who your attendees follow online? 

A little bit of cyberstalking will tell you which brands your attendees interact with and support. Look at attendees’ LinkedIn or Twitter accounts to see which brands they follow in your industry. You can also dust off your audience research and customer personas to see which brands your attendees would be the most excited to engage with. 

Watch Your Timing

Sponsorships aren’t something you can secure a week before an event. Sponsors have to budget for your event, make travel plans, and print promo materials for the event. In other words, they need lots of time to prepare. You need funds to plan your event, so it’s a good idea to source event sponsors as soon as you have an event date and location.

If planning an event for next year, consider sourcing sponsors during Q4. Plenty of brands are looking to spend cash in Q4 to decrease their taxable income, so you may be able to greenlight more sponsorships if you ask at the right time.

Look For Similar Events

We aren’t saying you should copy other people’s sponsorship deals, but it can’t hurt to see how similar events handle sponsorships. You might be able to invite their sponsors to your event as long as it doesn’t step on anyone’s toes. 

If that isn’t an option, you can still gather a lot of helpful intel by looking at similar events. See how many sponsors they had, sponsorship pricing, and package options. Take what you’ve learned from past events to fine-tune your sponsorship options to sweeten the pot and score more brand deals. 

Simplify How You Source Event Sponsors

Event sponsorships are one of the best ways to secure funding for events. If you partner with the right brands, event sponsors can add credibility and publicity to the affair. It isn’t easy to find sponsors, but this checklist will help you find the best sponsor for your event. 

If you need help planning the other details of your big day, go with Endless. Whether you’re doing online or in-person events, our tech-first approach gets brands more results. See how we can help you plan your best event yet.

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Sonja Hayden

Author Sonja Hayden

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