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5 Event Sponsorship Ideas For Your Association

Marketing Audra Hopkins

Your association’s events are important to your members. In fact, they’re probably one of the major reasons they decided to join your association. But, these events typically come with some high price tags. This is where event sponsorships become crucial.

As you know, event sponsors can help cut down on the costs while also fostering a relationship with a sponsoring company. But, the real question is: how do you secure event sponsors and keep them coming back each year?


1. Develop a strong brand for your event

Before asking businesses to sponsor your events, you need to make sure your events are appealing to potential sponsors. Is your brand image all that it could be? Would you sponsor your event?

One way to ensure your brand is appealing is to make sure your association’s website is up to date and user friendly. According to Hubspot, 38% of internet users will stop engaging with a website if it is not updated and easy to use. This statistic is scary- especially since the average internet user spends up to 5.6 hours online per day. Updating your website invites companies looking to sponsor your events in and attracts them to learn more.

Another essential part of a strong brand is a clear mission statement. Make sure your association’s mission statement is up to date, coherent, and is present on your website. Companies want to make sure your beliefs match theirs when looking to become a sponsor.

A strong brand will take a lot of the guessing out when it comes to securing a successful event sponsorship.


2. Send out an organized sponsorship proposal

According to ASAE’s 2012 benchmarking report, 17% of event revenue for associations comes directly from sponsorships. To lock in that revenue, you’ll need a winning sponsorship proposal.

Sponsorship proposals are important when it comes to locking in a sponsorship with a business. But, not all proposals are the same– you need to create a proposal that impresses your audience.

A successful proposal should consist of a few things: what you’re requesting, what it would costs the other party, and what you would both mutually benefit from in a sponsorship deal. A proposal should also have a compelling introduction as well as a closing statement that wraps the deal up.

One of the most important things to provide in a sponsorship proposal is the benefits of partnering on an event sponsorship. An event sponsorship should benefit your association, its members, and the company looking to sponsor. A mutually beneficial partnership not only leads to gaining an event sponsor, but can increase the chance of retaining the sponsor for future events.

Do your research before sending a sponsorship proposal out to potential sponsors. Without researching who you’re trying to work with and what their brand’s goals are, you could run into problems locking in sponsors. Companies are looking to work with associations who have the same values and beliefs.

Include details in your sponsorship proposal to let companies know you’re acting with their needs in mind. Show companies why your association is a good fit for them and how reaching your specific member base would be a benefit for them. For example, if a company has recently received an award or achieved success in another way, you can mention that in your sponsorship proposal to catch their attention.


3. Offer a variety of event sponsorship packages

While having a default sponsorship package is good to have, sometimes one package won’t fit every company’s needs.

Offering a customizable sponsorship package allows companies to pay what they feel is appropriate when it comes to a sponsorship. The idea is a company will be more inclined to sponsor an event if there are a variety of sponsorship packages to choose from.

SPI: The Plastics Industry Association had great success with offering customizable sponsorship to its sponsors. SPI offered more customized sponsorships for their 2015 event than their last event in 2012 and saw a 40% increase in event sponsorship revenue.

There are a variety of ways to customize sponsorship plans. Survey companies you’re looking to work with in order to decide the best customizable sponsorship package. Another way to gather information on sponsorship packages is to set up a consultation call with companies.

Customizable plans ensure a sponsorship package that works well for everyone involved in an event sponsorship.


4. Create a close bond with potential sponsors

Building a relationship with both potential and current sponsors is essential if you’re looking for long-term event sponsorships. A close business relationship is what separates a contracted deal from a trusted business partner.

Listen to your potential sponsors and let them know that you care about their organization and what they believe in. Show them you’ve done your research and are ready to provide them a beneficial business relationship.

The process of building a relationship will depend on the previous amount of contact you’ve had with potential sponsors. The relationship will take shorter to build if this is a sponsor you have met with in person. However, if this is a new encounter with a business, or the communication has been done through email or social media, it may take a while to build up a level of trust.

There are a few different ways to start building a relationship with a sponsor. You can feature the sponsor’s website in online work like blog posts or webinars. You can put links to sponsor’s websites in any promotional videos as well.

There are tons of opportunities out there to build a successful relationship and increase the chance of returning sponsors.


5. Don’t forget to follow up

Securing a sponsorship with an organization is only half of the work. If you don’t follow up with your sponsors, it could hurt the chances of them sponsoring in the future.

You don’t want to let communication slip up between your association and its sponsors when securing sponsorships. Often times, companies need to check with a team of people before signing on to be an event sponsor. Make sure to call and email regularly to check in so they don’t forget about your association and its event.

Another way to follow up with businesses who have just recently sponsored an event is to send out an event-recap. An event-recap should include things like attendance numbers, buyer-to-seller ratios, revenue breakdown, etc. Sending an event recap keeps sponsors in the loop and reminds them why they agreed to partner with your association. Event recaps can increase your chances of retaining a sponsor for future events.

Event sponsors can help bring members better events while securing long-term relationships with companies that believe in your association’s mission. Using these tips can help your association secure a successful sponsorship for future events.

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