One of the best ways to minimize your event budget is to attract sponsors. Not only can sponsors help cover some of your event costs, but they can also add marketing potential by expanding your audience.
However, while a sponsorship strategy is beneficial overall, event sponsorship management can be pretty tricky. Plus, there are some substantial challenges to overcome, so you have to be prepared.
Fortunately, we can help you navigate the world of event sponsorship. Here’s everything you need to know about creating sponsorship levels and making both you and your sponsors happy.
What are Event Sponsorship Levels?
The primary purpose of event sponsorship tiers or levels is to attract individuals or organizations to donate more money to your event or cause. The way to make these levels more attractive is to offer perks and rewards. For example, at a certain level, sponsors can have branded marketing materials at your event, such as a step-and-repeat banner. If your event is a substantial marketing opportunity, you could attract some high-level sponsors.
Even those that donate less money can experience event sponsorship benefits. For example, individuals or businesses can promote the event on their marketing channels, boosting their brand awareness. Or, perhaps a sponsor can donate gift bags or raffle prizes as a way to market themselves. Overall, when designed correctly, event sponsorship packages can yield some incredible advantages for you and your sponsors.
Pros and Cons of Event Sponsorship Levels
Although sponsorship tiers are pretty standard, they’re starting to fall out of style because the setup is a bit old-fashioned, so while sponsorship tiers bring various benefits, you also have to understand the downsides if you’re going to avoid or mitigate them. Here’s a rundown of the ups and downs of event sponsorship packages:
- Pro: Entices Sponsors to Give More — By adding more perks or rewards to a higher sponsorship tier, you can inspire sponsors to give more money than they would otherwise. Ideally, all sponsors would be at one of the top levels so you can raise more funds for your event.
- Con: Lots of Guesswork Involved — The traditional method of building event sponsorship levels is to develop your own perks and promote them to potential prospects. However, this process isn’t collaborative, so sponsors may not get what they really want and therefore they’re not motivated to donate. Fortunately, it’s easy to discuss benefits packages with sponsors directly, so event planners and marketers can work with sponsors to create a relationship that’s mutually beneficial.
- Pro: Expand your Audience — Attracting sponsors is an excellent way to add some visibility to your event or cause. For example, if you’re working with a new charity, reaching out to sponsors can elevate the event and potentially attract more guests. The key is finding sponsors that share your values and offer products or services that align with the event.
- Con: Limited Donation Options — If event sponsorship levels aim to bring in more money, you may be hurting yourself if you set the highest level too low. Why would a sponsor go above and beyond the top tier if they don’t receive anything extra? Also, if other people want to donate, they may feel like they have to participate in your sponsorship program, which might be off-putting for some individuals or groups.
- Pro: Built-in Marketing — As you accumulate new sponsors, they can market your event to their audiences, boosting your event awareness and potentially drawing larger crowds. Because event marketing is crucial for success, this benefit can be quite valuable.
- Con: More Work — If you’re providing lots of perks and benefits to your sponsors, you’ll have to put in a lot of work before and after the event. For example, if you’re offering branded signage or gift bags, you have to create and print them yourself. This process can also increase your expenses, thus requiring more sponsors… and the cycle continues.
Tips for Making the Most of Your Event Sponsorship Tiers
Proper event sponsorship management is understanding the potential setbacks you might experience and addressing them head-on. With this in mind, here are some points to consider when building sponsorship packages and levels:
Consider your Event Type
These days, it’s not uncommon to host a virtual or hybrid event. In some cases, a virtual event might be better or easier to produce than a live event. When using event technology, however, you have to consider how the technology will impact your sponsorship packages. For example, it’s easy to create signage for multiple sponsors at an in-person event, but with a virtual event platform, you only have so much screen real estate.
As a result, you might have to create content or switch materials throughout the event. Perhaps you have one sponsor featured at the beginning, then switch to another during a panel discussion, and so on. Also, you can allow sponsors to share promotional videos or content through the platform. But, you have to make sure they know how to work the event tech so there are no glitches when going live.
Talk to your Sponsors
Instead of creating benefits packages that may or may not address your sponsors’ needs, you can simply offer customizable benefits and discuss details once a sponsor confirms. For example, perhaps a sponsor wants to give away free product samples at your event. Or, maybe a sponsor wants to include a CTA on your event page and marketing materials.
Discussing options with sponsors helps ensure they get the right value from your event. It also eliminates much of the guesswork involved, so you don’t have to do as much. The downside, however, is if a sponsor wants something you can’t provide.
Pick your Sponsors Wisely
A big part of event management is ensuring each piece works harmoniously with everything else. Unfortunately, when attracting sponsors, it’s easy just to accept whatever you can get. However, you should try to draw sponsors that align with your event and its purpose. For example, let’s say you’re raising money for an animal rights charity. In this case, securing sponsorship from a beef jerky store or meat packing plant can create conflict. However, if you get sponsors that focus on sustainable, plant-based foods, they’re far more aligned with your event’s values.
During the planning stage, make a list of desirable sponsors and craft invitations for each one. Be sure to customize each invitation and define the sponsorship benefits you’re offering. Don’t be afraid to punch above your weight class, either. Even if your event is small, it might be enticing enough for big brands or organizations to donate something. After all, no press is bad press.
Prepare for the Extra Work
As you build sponsorship packages, you need to determine how much labor and capital is necessary to fulfill your obligations. For example, if top-level sponsors get featured signage, how will you print it? How much lead time do you need with your print shop? Never put these items off to the last minute. Instead, have a plan in place and make sure you can pull the trigger as soon as a sponsor confirms. You want to avoid scrambling and delivering subpar perks or rewards on the event day.
Get Sponsorships in Writing
Finally, just because someone says they’ll sponsor your event doesn’t mean they will. Before finalizing anything, draft a contract with each sponsor and have both parties sign it. You don’t want to get burned by putting in extra work and not receiving funds or donations. Overall, you need to give yourself lots of lead time to secure and develop sponsor relationships. This step should be at the beginning of your event planning, as it will dictate much of how your event will go.
Let the In-Person, Hybrid, and Virtual Events Company Help!
You already have enough to worry about with sponsorship packages, marketing, and relationship management. So whether you’re hosting an in-person, hybrid, or virtual event, let us help coordinate the logistics. This way, you can focus on making your sponsors happy so they’re more willing to donate for future events. Contact us today to learn more!