Updated January 2023
Read Time 10 minutes
Hosting an event can be a great way to bring people together, raise awareness for a cause, or simply have some fun. However, putting on an event can also be a costly endeavor. One way to offset these costs is by securing sponsorships from businesses and organizations. But how do you go about getting sponsors for your event? When approaching a possible sponsor come prepared with the information they will want to know for consideration. Recognize that sponsors are likely to be inundated with sponsorship requests throughout the year and it’s difficult for businesses to contribute to everyone that comes knocking on their door. As a custom t-shirt decorator, DesignAShirt sees thousands of t-shirts that help showcase both events and sponsors, each year. The steps below will help you even if you’re not using custom t-shirts to promote your event, cause, or initiative.
Aligning With Your Vision
Securing a sponsor for an event that aligns with your vision is crucial for several reasons.
First, having a sponsor who shares your values and goals will ensure that your message is conveyed in a consistent and authentic manner. This can help to build trust and credibility with your audience, which can ultimately lead to greater success for your event.
Second, when your sponsor aligns with your vision, they are more likely to actively support and promote your event. This can help to increase the reach and impact of your event, bringing in more attendees and generating more buzz.
Third, sponsors who align with your vision are more likely to be long-term partners. This can provide a stable source of funding and support for future events and can help to solidify your organization’s reputation as a credible and trustworthy organization.
Lastly, working with a sponsor who aligns with your vision can be a win-win situation for both parties. The sponsor will be able to connect with their target audience and get the visibility they need, and you will be able to get the financial and other resources to make your event a success. To get started, consider your customer persona.
Honing The Focus – Customer Persona
Keep in mind, sponsors can get burnt out with requests for event organizers that don’t deliver as promised as far as attendance and demographics. What sponsors are really looking for is value and esteem in exchange for their money, goods, or services.
Have a solid message when it comes to selling the event sponsorship because that is what you’re doing. You’re selling an idea. What is the purpose of the event and do you have a mission statement? How is your audience valuable to the sponsor? Is your event unique in any way so it stands out from similarly aligned events? Who is expected to come to the event?
Coming up with a strategy for this can help to develop a persona of the expected attendee. This persona should not be who you wish would attend, it needs to be a realistic description of the type of person that would be interested in the event with consideration to what your event offers, the cost to attend, the location, and the time of year. Finally, create a story about how their involvement will benefit the sponsor. Eyeballs on their logo or a mention on a website probably aren’t going to be enough to entice sponsors so it’s really helpful to provide a compelling presentation with every statistic you can manage. You can use the example customer persona chart below to come up with your own ideal attendee. Once you have your customer persona identified, you can begin your outreach efforts.
You can use the template below to begin your outreach efforts to the potential sponsors you have identified. Simply copy and paste the following into your preferred email platform and edit it to fit your message.
Subject: Invitation to Sponsor our Upcoming Event – [Event Name]
Dear [Sponsor’s Name],
I hope this email finds you well. My name is [Your Name] and I am the organizer of [Event Name], an exciting event that will be taking place on [Date and Time].
[Event Name] is a [event type, e.g. charity run, concert, etc.] that aims to [event purpose, e.g. raise funds for a charity, showcase local talent, etc.]. We believe that [Sponsor’s Company] would be a great fit as a sponsor for our event, as our values align and we share a commitment to [event purpose].
We are expecting a large turnout and anticipate a significant amount of media coverage. As a sponsor, your company would receive valuable exposure and the opportunity to connect with a diverse audience. We would be happy to provide you with a detailed sponsorship package outlining the benefits and opportunities available to your company.
Please let us know if you would like to discuss this further. We would be happy to schedule a call or meeting at your convenience.
Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to the possibility of working together.
Best regards, [Your Name]
[Your Title] [Your Contact Information]
P.S. Feel free to check out our website [event website] and social media [event social media] for more information about our event.
If you choose to create a formal presentation, consider something like the proposal below. There are many programs available to create a professional presentation like you see below. We suggest Canva which can help create custom flyers for your next sponsorship pitch.
Things To Remember During Sponsorship Pitching
You may be approaching businesses with that you have no prior relationship. It may help put yourself in their position. If you were asked to donate money to a charity you had never heard of, you’d likely do a little research to determine its authenticity. A business will want to research your event, and maybe even you personally to see if the event is legitimate. Having a professional-looking image will help position you as a trusted company or campaign. We recommend some kind of web presence that tells more about your initiative. Make sure that the information they find on your web page is the same information you are relaying in your conversations or emails to them. That image should align with the business’s image of the sponsorship you’re seeking.
Define offerings for your sponsors like event announcements, banner advertisements, social media shout-outs, call-outs in emails about the event, logos on your custom event t-shirts, and other promotional items that would be given away or sold at the event. You may consider different levels of sponsorships like silver, gold, and platinum level sponsorships with bundled offerings depending on the tier they choose to go with. If it makes sense, offering sponsors VIP passes or tickets to the event can be presented in such a way that the sponsor could provide these passes to employees as a perk. Perks serve as an example of an additional value-added approach and thought process to your message. If you find your different levels of sponsorship are not enticing engagement for your event, be prepared to be flexible. In the example below, you can see various sponsors with different logo sizes. This could be based on the sponsorship level at the event, which is reflected by the positioning of the t-shirt logos. Sponsorship t-shirts are common across all business types, educational events, seminars, and more.
Low-Hanging Fruit – Your Contacts
Consider beginning your sponsorship outreach with your own network of contacts. Prior relationships are a great resource since they already know you. Have you given a lot of your business to a local company? They might be an excellent candidate to contact. Include details about your familiarity with the company and why you’re so familiar but be mindful of the possibility you might be considered a minor customer depending on the company. Ask your friends to be a referral source for you. Do they have relationships with any business that might be a good fit? If so, send them your solicitation message and ask to be introduced. Referrals are one of the best warm introductions when speaking to someone for the first time. Don’t be afraid to ask your contacts for a referral and remind them of the value you’re offering.
If you get shot down by one company you had in mind that would be a good fit for your event, search for similar types of businesses by looking on a search engine for “business like [company name].” You may have to do some extra work but if you find an up-and-comer that needs more advertising exposure, you might hit the jackpot. Sometimes, your outreach may require a little creativity.
Finding Creative Ways To Contact Sponsors
Business owners and their employees are typically very busy people so while an onsite visit or a phone call seems personable, people may be less receptive and it can be a time waster for you too. One of the easiest ways to reach out to possible sponsors is through social media. If it’s a smaller business you just might get the attention of the actual owner. If it’s a larger business, you’re likely going to be communicating with an employee or worse, their advertising company. Don’t give up if you don’t hear back after an initial reach-out. At that point, a follow-up email would be appropriate but if you hear nothing back again, it’s better to put your effort into other opportunities.
When you do make contact, do make it personal and craft each message in a personal way. Avoid the blanket one-size-fits-all proposal and focus on making it personal. Explain how their sponsorship of your event could make a positive impact and describe what you’re expecting from them. Do you want money, services, or products? In our specific case, it is sometimes far easier and palatable to donate t-shirts rather than money if the goal of the event aligns with our values as a t-shirt printing business. Offer flexibility in your sponsorship requests, as you may find support in a different manner than you had anticipated.
Present your entire value proposition upfront because it’s rare that you’ll get a 2nd chance. Express that you’re planning on sending X number of email blasts to X size list and that you have X number of reach on social. Will you be doing flyers, radio, or TV advertising? Any paid search engine marketing? Sponsors will be far more intrigued with an approach that provides a lot of granular detail.
Once your event is complete, you have an opportunity to impress your sponsors with event details.
Follow Up With Your Sponsors – After The Event
When you land a sponsorship you’ve really done the hardest part by building a relationship. To cultivate that relationship for next year’s event or sponsorships for similar events, it is important that you deliver what was promised to the sponsor at a bare minimum. Giving them more than expected will set you above other event opportunities presented to them in the future. Even providing additional exposure they weren’t expecting on a channel like social media for example. When you do this be sure to make the sponsor aware of the extra perks given.
After the event, follow up by providing all the relevant statistics and results like how much money was raised, how many people attended or participated, and all social statistics like reach, likes, shares, comments, interviews, press mentions, etc. These metrics not only express the value of the investment but ensure future opportunities for sponsorships.
By this point, you have found your sponsors, completed your event successfully, and can now focus on the next event! Congrats!
Sponsorship Outreach Recap
- Understand the sponsor’s target audience and tailor your pitch to align with their interests.
- Clearly articulate the value proposition for the sponsor, including how their partnership with you or your organization will benefit them.
- Show that you have a solid plan in place for promoting the sponsorship and reaching the sponsor’s target audience.
- Be prepared to provide metrics and data to demonstrate the potential reach and impact of the sponsorship.
- Be professional, confident, and enthusiastic when presenting your pitch.
- Be open to negotiation and willing to work with the sponsor to create a mutually beneficial partnership.
- Be prepared to provide any additional information such as your previous sponsorships or media coverage.
- Follow up with the sponsor after the meeting to reiterate your interest in the partnership and address any questions or concerns they may have.
If you have any questions on this article or need help with your custom t-shirts for sponsors, reach out to our team at email@example.com or by calling us at 888-487-4478. DesignAShirt offers free expert design support for all orders. Have our team create a professional design for your next event at no additional cost with T-Shirt Concierge™. Our Design Studio is available 24/7/365 for you to create your own custom t-shirt designs.