Any ideas on getting sponsors for a conference? What to offer to them and what to ask from them?
One of my clients is gearing up to hold a N. American Conference regarding parenting. Her target is teachers and parents of school aged children.
How do we go about getting sponsors. What kind of businesses should we approach with what offers?? And how and where can we advertize effectively for this (for sponsors).
I know there are a lot of questions here but any input helps.
It is always difficult with sponsors. However you have to ask what can I offer that would provide them with quality exposure as their Branding needs to be exposed. So you have to create options from eg. Bronze to Platinum sponsorships. The larger the sponsorship the larger the exposure eg. advertising, brochures to be included in the delegate packs, banners in the venue, logos on the welcome screen and then free admission, speaker sessions included etc. Even sponsoring the different sessions or dinners or luncheons?? You can create anything accordingly. I hope this helps. Good luck. Jody
Viola - it looks like you have a lot of great ideas from the comments already. So I'll suggest the quick and cheap approach that has helped me before. It sounds like a great opportunity to network with people and organizations who share that same market. Personally, I would start by leveraging appropriate LinkedIn groups, join them and post the opportunity on the discussion boards there.
I would make direct contact with people who already work in that space, and partner with them to get the word out. I would offer sponsors some free advertising and discounts to the event. Get creative, think outside the box, and ask for help from those who can assist in getting the word out. You can also use fiver.com to get people to post it on Twitter and Facebook, reaching thousands of people for only $5. Just make sure that you have a nice little summary that explains the opportunity, to send people and to post in discussion groups. There's a lot that you can do, for very little or no money. Just my 2 cents. Good luck !
How many sponsors are you looking for?
We usually have several sponsors (Bronze, Silver, Gold & Platinum).
But if you're going to have a single event sponsor, here's what I'd probably be ready & willing to offer.
Sponsorship space on the website (annual). Co-brand the event with them and mention them (and their logo) in all promos, press leases, etc. promoting the event.
Swag rights, presentation rights and a banner at the event. We also do an event T-shirt. You could allow their logo on the event To-shirt if you're doing that.
Pre & post event parties. Our Platinum sponsors love sponsoring pre & post event parties that you invite all conference attendees to attend. The sponsor pays for the these parties and they get to run it anyway they like.
Post event emails & solo ads, post event pres releases, magazine articles, and any other way you can promote the success of the conference... because you want your sponsor to sponsor the next one.
If the conference is designed to be a money-maker, you might let them participate in ticket proceeds.
How to go about it:
What companies serve the conference attendees?
To attract them, start with a great vision and story about why your conference is different and why it will succeed. Back your story it up with market research that shows you have good chance of success.
They'll want to know what their sponsorship package contains, so beef it up as much as you can. But let them know, you might be willing to add anything within reason.
Once, you have this all together, write up your attraction marketing piece... just like you would any other marketing piece. After all, you're selling the sponsorship to the prospective sponsor.
Now you're ready to attract your sponsor.
Your sponsors will have likely sponsored other conferences and events, so make sure you go to the websites to the other events and conference in your industry.
Approach these plus all their competition. I like to research the company and find the person who handles sponsorships. Give that person a phone call and they usually ask for a follow-up email. So, have your follow-up email and be prepared to send a thank you card (via snail mail) after the call.
Keep this up until you get the right sponsor or the right mix of sponsor.
Hope this helps,
Viola, FB's advice is dead on....from experience with your target attendee, the only suggestion I would adapt is, because this is teachers and parents, you may want to have more lead time for promoting the event, for planning purposes, to ensure attendance, and to get confirmation from a number much higher than needed, in case last minute parental obligations come up.
Free offer - free consulting ,- schools offers or coupon - you can approach any business related to school , It company
any company needs business, so traget books, magazines, aprenting clothing and then give them time to meet and pitch to the attendees for business as part of the sponsorship
All great answers to your questions already given. Here are a few more tips. As has been mentioned sponsor packages are developed to align the event with corporations that have the same target audience. Here's some tips on how to create and value it. First map out all the opportunities available for support, sessions, keynote speaker, receptions besides the overall conference each carry value. Then determine what type of exposure (promotions, size of data base, ads) you are planning. This will help you create the sponsor levels, that is the value. What is identified are the 'benefits' you are offering a potential sponsor. Each prospect might have a slightly different interest so advertising will not work (I think that is what you were referring to). Direct approach and tailor made proposals are recommended. A template of the event, the a cover letter or introduction that is specific. The language to use will be marketing jargon, i.e. impressions, shelf life etc...
Hope this helps.
This will seem simple but it will take time and effort to accomplish. Sponsorship's like all other budgets have been cut in the present economy. Have one or two people get National Family Magazine to see who is advertising and use them as your first group to call. You will need numbers to back up why these companies would want to become sponsors so put together a "one sheet" for those making contact to have in front of them. Companies want to connect with their consumers in a cost effective way that will give them the best ROI. The more Parents you can get them in front of the more interested they will be to become a sponsor. Since this is going to be a National conference each chapter good get a local sponsor to sign on. Usually anything to do with tourism Would be a good fit for drawing from a National Group. The biggest thing you can offer them is potential sales. If you want to contact me directly you can reach me at 954-857-7352 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I may have some clients that would want to get their product in front of your group. Regards, Kevin
These are great questions and certainly an interesting project!
Sponsors are looking for a return on their investment and you will need to offer projections on anticipated attendance as well as a preview of how you will go about reaching those numbers (advertising & promotion). This can easily be talked through on the phone.
Depending on where you are located and the size of the sponsorship(s) you are seeking, you may need to broaden your base for attendees as mentioned below. Not to sound repetitive but you also need to show them how they will be recognized with your supporters and you will want to offer different levels of recognition for different levels of support.
You will also need to show them the return on investment for those attending. Sponsors want attendees to walk away with a perception of realized benefit. Offering your sponsors samples of program content and the various attendee takeaways are great ways to help the sponsor visualize the event successfully executed.
As someone who has sought out sponsorship(s) for similar projects, I can tell you from fist-hand experience that you would be wise to building in certain topics into your content. Content related to what are likely your tops sponsors is a great place to start and I would be happy to speak with you about that as well. Finally, for your top sponsors you may want to offer them access to your attendees... such as a mailing list of attendees or sometimes event better an opportunity to be a part of the programming.
Good luck with your event. If you would like to speak offline in more detail, feel free to reach out.
A great question. Your client's target of "teachers and parents" may be too narrow. There are many other people who also have a stake in children well-being and development. For example : child psychologists, day-care operators, children book writers and illustrators, children's educational games creators' , children nutritionists and health care, etc.?
If stakeholders ./ were broaden it increases the possibility of getting more eager sponsors. Why? Because You want to be able to offer a competition-free sponsor package.
If Your event is an off-line local event , and You want to get sponsors You will want to:
1. For example, do a Google search for the organizations, meet-ups, LinkedIn Groups, social media industry specific platforms, past tweet-ups in your area on the same subject, etc.
2. Use Google search to find individuals and industry leaders
3. Ask amongst your network- a friend of a friend sort of thing
Regarding "What kind of businesses to approach"
1. First, get clear on what is important to the Brand. Review the mission and vision statements. You should all also understand things like voice and tone of the brand as that will come into play in all your communications- emails, ads, blog posts, it will also help You in how to speak so that your 'target' group listens etc.
2. Create a profile of your ideal audience. When This is done You ought to know exactly who they are, where they live, how much disposable income they have to purchase your product- so the price of your event, how they speak -so what words You will use in your emails etc.]
3. Based on 1 & 2, create a profile of the sort of person/ businesses who meet those criteria by the values they too share. You also want your event to be sold out and You also want it to-content wise- be a success! So You want your sponsor to have some sort of following. Perhaps X# OF twitter following, is a published author, has been in business for X years etc. etc.
4. Itemize what You have to offer and how the event will benefit your sponsors then list what You expect from them also
Now, regarding how to advertise effectively
1. Eventbrite has a great set-up
2. Offer early-bird registration specials & other discount types
3. Ramp up interest at least a month before the event by sending out blog posts etc., not with blatant self-promotions but with a link to your event's landing page
Hope this helps
Wishing You Success
Sponsors really need to know the benefits of sponsoring your conference. Approach sponsors that make sense - are you both targeting the same audience or similar audiences? Advertising for sponsors usually does not work. Approaching them one on one with a personal ask, explaining the purpose of your conference and the benefits to their company, works best. Sending out a blanket mailing for this sort of thing never works. Also, make the company feel a sense of exclusivity - you reached out to them first to see if they want to be the headline sponsor, b/c you love them/their product/their services and you think you can work together. If you approach it more like a partnership, it will work better. Good luck!
Hey there Viola,
This is fun stuff! OK there are many questions to ask you back to get to an answer :)
when is the event held?
Do you know how many people will be attending?
Will you be able to contact (email etc) on the run up to the event with the attendees?
Will you know if they are parents or teachers?
What topic of parenting is being focussed on?
You then need to build a sponsors pack that contains this kind of information, think if the role was reversed and you were a prospective sponsor, what would you want to know?
Within the sponsors pack you profile the audience, outline volumes of attendees, communication and advertising opportunities, will they be able to have a booth, sponsor the coffee stand etc etc
then you target the brands that are right for this... maybe it's retail, or health products, holidays etc....
Happy to talk more