When planning an event, seasoned event organisers know that most of the work is done upfront. There's considerable planning that must take place months out to ensure the event is a success. If you are looking to also attract sponsors, you have the added requirement to ensure the event delivers on the agreed benefits.
Here's three considerations that are non-negotiables when it comes to planning a sponsored event.
Consider both your income (registrations, funding and in-kind) and expenditures which vary depending on your event. Some anticipated expenditures could include venue hire, stage, lectern, lighting, sound, AV, photographer, signage, catering, entertainment, speakers, road closures, gifts and merchandise. Your budget will shape which price you need to put on your assets if you're selling these to potential sponsors. It will also determine how many sponsors you need to attract. The rule of thumb is to always make sure your costs are covered prior to the event taking place when utilising sponsor funding and that an additional revenue on the day is cream on top.
2. Brand fit sponsors
Make a list of all the potential sponsors where you perceive there to be a brand fit with your event. It's important to consider whether your target market for sponsorship dollars will be local businesses, national or perhaps even global brand names. A good clue is to think about it from the sponsors' point of view and whether your audience is one they'd be interested in. Brand fit is important. For example, if your event is an endurance one, consider sporting apparel or footwear businesses and accommodation providers as potential sponsors. Likewise, if you are holding a business event, you might attract the attention of an insurance company or a financial institution.
Marketing is easily one of the most important aspects of any event plan because this is effectively what sponsors are buying into. What is your marketing plan for the event and how will you report back to sponsors? This may include progress reports as well as a final report/event summary. This forms part of the event acquittal process for sponsors.
Sponsors are looking for a range of marketing benefits from your event including brand awareness, brand engagement, brand loyalty, consumer attitude towards the brand and intention to purchase. A range of marketing tactics can help sponsors achieve these outcomes from traditional media spends to social and digital technologies.
How you shape your event needs to be dictated by what kind of sponsors you want to attract and how you can help them meet their business objectives. Further you need to ensure you keep in touch with the sponsor perhaps through fortnightly WIP meetings where you can ensure each party is meeting their obligations of the agreement.While these are just a few pointers, hopefully it's a start to helping you to attract and retain sponsors – ensuring you run a profitable event.