How To Find Sponsors for Your Next Event

As an event planner, you’re well aware of the costs associated with managing a successful event. There are a lot of expenses required to make your event memorable and one-of-a-kind. These expenses can quickly add up, increasing your overall cost and potentially compromising your budget.

While some bigger, more established companies can support themselves and have a generous marketing budget, other smaller businesses may not. One of the best ways that businesses — both big and small — can organize the event of their dreams is to find a sponsor!


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The importance of securing sponsors for your event

Although the primary purpose of an event sponsor is to provide financial support, their presence and contribution can offer more than just fiscal benefits. In fact, for most events, sponsors are considered a key feature and main attraction for attendees.

If you’re new to sourcing sponsors, you may be asking yourself:

  • Why do I need to get event sponsorships?
  • What do sponsors do?
  • How do sponsorships work? 

Take a look at some incredible advantages associated with finding the right sponsor for your next event.

Sponsors fund the event

First and foremost, sponsors finance your projects by either providing monetary funds, offering their products and services, or — in best-case scenarios — both. With their support, you can enhance the event and create an unforgettable experience for all of your attendees. 

Sponsors increase the profile of your event and tap new audiences

Tapping new audiences and increasing the profile of your event is another good reason to get sponsors. 

Take note that your sponsors can finance your project because they are financially able to do so. The reason they have the means to shell out thousands of dollars to sponsor your event is that they have established themselves as a leader in their industry. In other words, your ideal sponsors have already made a name for themselves and nurtured their own pool of loyal customers. 

By partnering with your brand, they extend their connections to you, thereby growing your audience and increasing the profile of your event. 

Sponsors enhance your credibility by simply connecting with you

In relation to the previous point, sponsors can enhance your credibility by simply connecting with you. Forming ties with established and relevant brands will put your name out there and better your reputation as a whole. 

Overall, getting a sponsor will not only give you a boost in finances, but it will also give you a boost in credibility. As such, it’s important to pinpoint the right sponsors and create a captivating sponsorship pitch to draw them to your project. 

This leads us to our next point: understanding your ideal sponsors.


Understand your ideal sponsors

Before you ask yourself, “How to get sponsors?” you first have to establish what type of sponsors you need. There are many options to choose from, and it’s up to you to select the right ones. 

The key to selecting the best sponsor for your event is to:

  • Understand what your event objectives are
  • Know what you need sponsorships for

When you have this information on hand, you can narrow down your options and target the best sponsors for your event. 

Different types of sponsors

Generally, there are four types of sponsorships that you can consider. Each of them has different strengths and offers a unique advantage for your event. 

  • Financial Sponsors: As the name suggests, this type of sponsor primarily gives money in return for pre-determined benefits. The exchange should be outlined in a sponsorship agreement between the two parties. To give you a better idea, some examples of pre-determined benefits include logo placements, content creation, and a spotlight during the event itself. 
  • Media Sponsors: This type of sponsor replaces their financial support with media exposure. So, instead of giving the event planners the money outright to do with as they will, they will allocate it for something more specific — say, an article in a magazine, TV coverage, or video plugs. 
  • In-kind Sponsors: In-kind sponsorships focus on giving event planners what they need in lieu of cash. For example, you need a venue for your conference, so your in-kind sponsor will give that to you. Alternatively, if you need catering for your guests, another sponsor will handle that for you. Depending on what you and your event needs, in-kind sponsors are there to help you make your event a success..
  • Promotional Partners: The last type of sponsor is known as a promotional partner. These individuals are public figures, local celebrities, or online personalities who have considerable influence and a lot of followers. By partnering with them, you can promote your event to a much larger audience and convert potential customers to grow your brand. 

Which companies do you reach out to?

Knowing what types of sponsors there are is just the beginning. The next step you need to take is to find out who to reach out to and how. 

With so many choices at your fingertips, narrowing down your options can be overwhelming. However, we’ll share some key considerations you need to keep in mind to determine the type of partnership you need.

Generally, the sponsors you need to reach out to must have the following characteristics:

  • An understanding of the value of marketing: Sponsors play an integral role in the success of your event. As such, the companies you tap for potential partnerships must understand their role in your project and propose ways to maximize the results and benefits for both parties.
  • An audience that aligns with your interests and demographics: It’s not enough to simply look for businesses with a considerably large audience. You also need to make sure that their customers are similar to yours. If you stray from this idea, you’ll experience a mismatch between what you’re trying to promote and who you’re promoting to. Keep your target consistent by partnering with a company with the same target audience.
  • A focus on the event ROI: Some sponsors only like to stick their names on promotional materials and call it a day. But if you truly want to make the most of a potential partnership, you need to find a sponsor that knows sponsorship is a two-way street. 

Now that you have a better idea of what type of sponsors you need to track down, it’s time to craft your sponsorship proposal. 

We’ll discuss more of this in detail in the later sections of this guide, but to give you a glimpse of what to expect, here’s a quick rundown of important points you need to consider when drafting a sponsorship package. 

  • Make it aesthetically pleasing and attractive
  • Build trust by sharing what the event is about
  • Provide details on the attendees
  • Describe possible sponsorship opportunities


Build your sponsorship proposal

We’ve already touched on some of the ways you can jumpstart your sponsorship proposal. Now, let’s go deeper. In this section, let’s take a look at the steps you need to follow to close a deal with your sponsors. We’ll also touch on the importance of exploring various pitch styles. 

How to get sponsorships: 4 steps you need to follow

Getting sponsorship for events is much more complex than you might think. It involves a lot of researching, brainstorming, and strategizing to formulate the perfect sponsorship package template that will hook your prospective sponsors. 

To make it simpler , we’ve narrowed it down to four essential steps you need to follow to increase your chances of success. 

1. Make your proposal aesthetically pleasing and attractive

More than the words you put on your paper or the content of your presentation, the first thing your sponsors will see is its design. As such, you need to make the first page visually appealing. 

When drafting the front page of your proposal, make sure to include crucial information, such as the name of the event and the organization hosting the show. Also, add the logo for brand recognition and recall purposes. 

You can play around with the font size, color, and background design to achieve the look that you’re going for. But here’s a pro tip: if you want to immerse your sponsors in the event before it even starts, align the graphics of your presentation with the theme of the show. This will help them visualize the event concept more accurately and — hopefully — get them on board with your plans. 

2. Build trust by sharing what the event is all about

Once you’ve hooked your sponsors with your proposal, it’s time to build trust and strengthen your collaboration by sharing all the necessary details of the event. 

In this next step, talk about the background of the event, the members involved, and the goals you want to achieve. Providing as much information as possible about the event will help your sponsors see the bigger picture and determine which areas they will be most useful. 

As important as it is to impart details about the event, it’s also equally important to share details about your organization. Explain your brand’s history, mission and vision, and expound on reasons why your brand is different from other brands.

Getting to know you better will make your sponsors feel more comfortable trusting you with their reputation. 

3. Provide details on the attendees

After getting on the same page and learning more about the background of the event, the next step is to provide substantial insights into your demographics. 

Being in the business as long as they have, sponsors already know exactly who they want to market to and how many people they can reach. So, you need to make sure that your pitch includes information about your attendees so your sponsors can get a better idea of who they’re promoting their brand to. 

In the attendee profile section of your pitch, be sure to include statistics, demographics, numbers, industry, roles, buying power, and any other information that you want your sponsors to know. 

Plus, if your next event is an annual occurrence, it will be to your advantage to integrate post-event surveys from previous years. This will strengthen your pitch and further convince your sponsors of the success they can achieve by partnering with you. 

4. Describe possible sponsorship opportunities

Finally, to hit a home run, expound on the possible opportunities your sponsors can take advantage of when they partner with you. 

Display the options they have on the table, like a-la-carte, tiered packages, or a combination of both, and demonstrate how each of these packages can benefit them, specifically. 

For instance, if they choose an a-la-carte package, such as a designated booth or a slot in your show, what advantages can they experience? Perhaps its increased brand exposure throughout the event and a wider reach to new audiences. 

Tiered packages, on the other hand, can include more involvement from them. They can experience more benefits, such as in-event speaking roles to boost their brand’s exposure, increased audience engagement, and higher conversion rates. 

Of course, if you want to make your proposal more versatile, you can opt to include add-ons so your sponsors can customize their participation. 

The importance of varying pitch styles for different companies

Although a sponsorship proposal template should generally contain the same information for all types of events — such as a summary of what your event is all about and the potential opportunities it offers — it’s vital to explore various ways of pitching them to various companies. 

After all, no two companies are exactly alike. Some may be big corporations, while others may be small businesses. Some may be more interested in media coverage, while others are more interested in engaging directly with event attendees.

Even if they are in the same industry, their objectives, strategies, financial capabilities, and images vary. To get each company on your side, you need to distinguish nuances and speak their language. In addition, you need to identify what they want to see from your pitch. Once you do, you can modify your proposal to fit their unique needs. 

Don’t be afraid to play around with the presentation of your content or the designs you incorporate. The more unique they are, the more tailor-made they will be for the specific companies you’re talking to. 

Doing so will give you an upper hand and increase your chances of success! 


Tap into your network for sponsors

At this point, you already know what sponsors do, what the different types of sponsorships are, and how to make a compelling sponsorship deck. Now, it’s time to put all these ideas into action, starting with looking for the right sponsors. 

If you’re wondering how to approach local businesses for sponsorship, we’ve got the answer for you.

You might not know it yet, but the right sponsor for your event could be within your reach. They could be one of your personal friends, relatives, peers, or professional colleagues. As such, it’s essential to start your search within your immediate circle, especially since they’re the individuals you have easy access to.

What’s great about starting with your contacts is that you can skip the “getting-to-know-you” phase and go straight to the point. Since you’ve already built trust and fostered a relationship, you can focus on pitching the event, rather than pitching yourself.

However, in case they say no to you — which some of them inevitably will — they can direct you to their networks, which you can then reach out to. 

When you branch out and pitch your event to their network, you may need to exert a little more effort. The companies that they may recommend have no prior background of who you are and what your company does. So, you’ll need to make a strong first impression. 

You also need to do more background research on the companies you intend to pitch so that you can align your event’s audience, objectives, and personality with theirs. Once you’ve gotten the attention of the individual who handles sponsorship in a company, it’s time to hook them in with the new experience you’re offering them.

We can’t stress this enough. When pitching to potential sponsors, the most essential question you need to ask and answer is: “What’s in it for them?” If you can guarantee an increase in numbers of reach, exceptional brand engagement with prospective customers, or maximum exposure, then they will be more willing to partner with you. Not only for your next event but potentially for your future events as well. 

How to be sponsored: 3 tips

Keep in mind that sponsors are more likely to respond to your pitch positively if you keep these three tips in mind.

1. Offer incentives

Besides the grounds of your agreement with your sponsor, you can further sweeten the deal by offering other incentives to their advantage. Some of the ideas to help you get started include offering them a free booth in your next trade show or exhibition, mentioning the sponsor’s name in your social media posts, blog posts, and newsletters, giving freebies and discounts to customers that engage with the sponsor, and including your sponsor’s logo in your promotional materials. 

2. Offer minimum-risk solutions

As much as your sponsors want to know how they can benefit from your brand, they would also like to know what risks they’re taking on. Make sure to provide a minimum-risk solution to protect your sponsors. If you’re a relatively small company, you can propose a trial deal for a smaller amount in exchange for something equally small.

For example, say your event needs around $100,000. Instead of asking for the full amount, start small. Start at $10,000 in addition to the incentives mentioned above to make your offer more intriguing. 

The low-risk approach allows your sponsors to first test the waters with your company. In doing so, they protect themselves from potential complications in case something occurs during the event. 

3. Use data to further convince your investors

At the end of the day, sponsors also have their own financial objectives. By partnering with your brand, they want to see how they can also benefit from it financially. As such, we recommend that you bring in the numbers. Using concrete data, backed up by research and previous experiences, can make your sponsors feel more confident in your brand.

That said, make sure to include these key points in your pitch deck: 

  • Gross revenue from promotions
  • Number of registrants versus check-ins
  • Types of industries 
  • Visit to purchase rate
  • Social media engagement statistics
  • Potential online and offline reach

We could keep going and list other components, but essentially any valuable KPI should do! If you want to learn how to collect this data with ease and convenience, here’s an industry secret you need to know about: event management software.

How event management software helps

Event management software can assist you in giving your sponsors the essential data they need to push through with the deal. Whether it be a small business sponsorship or a sponsorship from a big-time corporation, event management software — such as Expologic — has the features you need to create customizable sponsorship packages for different events as well as receive real-time reports and analytics. 

All the information you need — from the number of attendees, event time and date, location, and logistics to sign-ups, newsletters, and so on — are all conveniently stored in one centralized platform. No matter what your sponsors may want to know about your event, you have the power to track and control everything with a simple push of a button. 

Take a look at some of the key features of Expo Logic  that can help you throughout the sponsorship process:

  • Sponsorship and Offering Organization: Through our all-in-one event management software, you can organize your sponsorship packages for each sponsor with ease while detailing the offerings included in every proposal. 
  • Floorplan Management: Our solution also allows you to manage your floor plan more conveniently and position your sponsors in locations with the highest traffic. 
  • Exhibitor/Sponsor Management: Aside from managing the floor plan, you can also organize logistics like registration, participation, and sponsor assets with Expologic.
  • Lead Retrieval: In terms of networking, our platform also has a lead retrieval feature that gives you the ability to collect, save, and access essential information from interested prospects and buyers. 

Revenue Tracking: We also have revenue tracking that enables you and your sponsors to keep track of all in-event sales. With this innovative feature, you can get updates on your profits in real-time.

Search for sponsors with strategic support from event management software

Having read this comprehensive guide to event sponsorship, you should feel confident when it comes to the importance of event sponsorships and how to draft compelling pitches. Securing the right sponsor is an involved but invaluable aspect of your event. . To help make the entire sponsorship process easier for you, utilize Expologic’s event management software.

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