A Step-By-Step Guide to Event Sponsorship Proposals

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Event Sponsorship Template

How many advertisements would you say you were exposed to before opening this guide? A hundred? Five hundred? Try 5,000 to 10,000.

From swatting instagram ads to unconsciously deleting those emails you are too lazy to unsubscribe to, everyone is vying for your attention.

Now imagine stepping in the shoes of a sponsor. “Today’s event professionals are competing against anything sponsors could spend their money on to achieve their goals — from online and social media advertising to affiliate marketing,”, Larry Weil, The Sponsorship Guy says.

Sponsors are inundated with thousands of requests and oftentimes only have enough budget for a handful of projects.

It’s no surprise then that so many get the event sponsorship process wrong. It can be anything from reaching out to the wrong people to sending out generic proposals.

Although the process can seem daunting, there are a series of practical steps that can be made to ease the process and ensure a successful sponsorship. Read on to find out how you can attract and secure the perfect sponsor for your event.

Where to get started

To successfully land a sponsor requires two documents in a staggered send out:

  • An event one-sheet: This will be the first document you send out. It is created to pique sponsors’ interest in your event and jump-start the decision-making process.
  • A formal proposal: The proposal is sent out second, once the sponsor has expressed interest in learning more. It is the document that should secure the sponsor and close their investment.

What is a one-sheet?

An event one-sheet is a summary of your event that’s designed to spark the interest of potential sponsors.

It highlights the need-to-know aspects of your event— the goal, topic, and audience size—as well as an overview of the return on investment.

The goal is to get the sponsors attention: “It is almost like clickbait,” Larry Weil, better known as the Sponsorship Guy, speaks on the one-sheet. With the numerous marketing emails people receive, “you are competing against the numbers out there.”

Use graphics, statistics, and catchy copy and once you’ve got their interest, follow-up with your proposal.

What is an event proposal?

An event proposal is the formal document submitted to potential sponsors that outlines the in-depth details of the event and is used to secure the sponsor.

If your one-sheet is the amuse-bouche, your event proposal is the main course.

5 Critical Steps To Attract a Sponsor

Before any proposals can be sent out, it is critical to understand where your value lies.

Step #1: Determine the Value of Your Event

The event management industry has changed a lot in the last two years, and sponsors’ expectations have changed with it.

“[Sponsors] just want that alignment that's actually going to give them a return…It's less about a gold sponsorship and more about longer range demand gen or PR,” says Kathryn Frankson, director of event marketing at Informa.

Therefore, event planners need to illustrate exactly who is going to be at the event and what opportunities are available to engage.

So before reaching out to a sponsor, make sure every angle of the event is evaluated and pitch what you can offer them. Will the focus be on the engaged audience? Press opportunities? On the chance to co-market with other leaders in their field? Whatever the draw, ensure it is aligned with the sponsors goals.

Step #2: Understand Your Data

Typically, a sponsor will scroll down straight to the numbers: what will their ROI look like if they sign on to your event?

Therefore, it is key to present infographics with data on:

  • How many attendees will be joining the event
  • The number of people expected to visit expo booths
  • What demographics are represented and how they align with the sponsors’ ideal audience
  • Include any high level statistics from a previous event if applicable

Step #3: Understanding The Sponsorship Landscape

No two sponsors are the same and doing homework on your prospects increases the chance you land the perfect sponsor. Most sponsors however will evaluate two things before signing on to an event:

  • Does this brand align with ours?
  • Who will the audience be?

Event organizers can use these two questions to help target their outbound communications and be intentional in their outreach.

Past events your targets have sponsored is a great way to get an idea of how they see their brand and audience within the event landscape.

A great example is the company who was able to land $220,000 in sponsorship revenue—and how they identified their event’s value to those sponsors in the sales process.

Step #4: Determine Who is Best To Reach Out To

This step is typically the one that requires determination. If you already have connections within your targeted sponsor list, ask for warm introductions. The hard part though comes if you are starting from scratch.

If you’re doing cold outreach, send customized notes to people whose job titles or departments include:

  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Partnerships
  • Sponsor Acquisition

Whether you send emails or pick up the phone, don’t get discouraged if it takes a few tries before you connect with the right person. It is suggested to both call and email, as again, you are competing against all the other in-bound inquiries that an individual is receiving in a day.

Step #5: Determine When Is Best to Reach Out

Depending on the size and scale of your event, your event planning timeline may look different. But whether you’re talking weeks or months, “sourcing sponsors and exhibitors” should come right after you “come up with a great event idea”.

“One of the biggest mistakes that organizers make is they wait too long to reach out to sponsors,” says Larry Weil.

For larger events, it can take up to a year to secure top-tier sponsors with long approval processes. Give yourself as much time as possible by kicking off the sponsor search right away.

Creating Your One-Sheet Template

A good one-sheet is short, sweet, and highly skimmable. It needs to stand out among the dozens of options in your sponsors’ mailboxes.

All a one-sheet needs to do is outline your event’s key details.

What to include in your one-sheet

  • Event Overview: What is the goal of the event and who will be speaking
  • Sponsorship Opportunities: How the sponsor will be showcased and what, if any, other sponsors are involved
  • Audience: The demographics and estimated size
  • Why Sponsor: An overview of sponsor ROI and what additional value will be provided pre- or post-event

Building Your Event Proposal Step-By-Step

The hard part is almost over. You have garnered the interest of the ideal sponsor, now enter the event proposal. Typically this is sent as a PDF or Pitch Deck.

Section #1: Introduction

A custom section for each client will be key. Consider including your research on their past sponsorships or a reference to shared goals between your organizations.

Outline the event, including whether it’s happened before, and a few high-level statistics, like number of attendees and speakers.

Section #2: Main Objective of the Event

Here, the focus will be to outline the end goal of your event and why it’s important. Why this event, and why now? Why should this sponsor spend their hard-earned marketing budget with you?

Remember that event goals can include, but not limited to:

  • Community-building
  • Thought leadership
  • Marketing

Section #3: Your Audience

One of the most important aspects your sponsors will want to know is who they’ll be speaking to if they decide to sign on.

Connect your audience to your sponsors’ goals by providing information on the attendees:

  • Geographical location
  • Age range
  • Jobs and industries
  • Any other relevant information available

Section #4: Benefits of Sponsorship

This section is most likely why the sponsor opened the document - it is the section that will be reviewed by most team members and where they will base their decision on whether or not to sponsor.

The three metrics sponsors care about the most are sales leads (48% of respondents track this metric), booth traffic (46%), and attendance/participation (38%).

In this section, explain how sponsorship perks include:

  • Expo positioning in both virtual and physical spaces
  • Air time - presentations or sponsored talks
  • Lead generation
  • Branding opportunities
  • Post-event reporting on their investment
  • And any other relevant information that is targeted towards the specific sponsor

Section #5: Images or Mock-Ups of the Event

Some folks are purely visual learners and what better way to showcase how prominent a sponsor will be within the event than providing them with mock-ups or images from a previous event.

It would also be useful if possible, to provide sample digital marketing materials that will be used to promote the event.

Section #6: Testimonials

Social proof is powerful, so much so that 77% of people look at reviews when browsing for local businesses.

Sponsors are no different. Show your sponsors that they’ll be in good hands by providing feedback and testimonials from past sponsors, if you have them. If not, consider including comments or social media posts from your audience on past events.

Section #7: Pre- and Post-Event Engagement

Your event sponsors aren’t just getting advertising space during your event. You’re offering them a three-for-one deal: visibility and advertising pre-event, exposure during the event, and valuable data on attendee trends after the event.

In this section, lay out what’s included with sponsorship, like:

  • Co-branding on social media campaigns
  • Positioning and branding on the event invite
  • Options for attendees to pre-book meetings
  • Event replays and content reuse options
  • Long-term activation plan

Section #8: Sponsorship Levels & Package

Sponsors will expect to see a menu of tiered options, with pricing, for your event.

You’ll want an easy-to-read table of sponsorship packages, no more than a page long, that explains what each tier costs and what it includes. You might also include additional add-ons, like technical support or bonus analytics.

Section #9: Deadline

Cue the Jeopardy! music: your sponsors can’t sit on their decision forever. Close your report by letting them know when is the latest date you can accept their investment, then dropping in a call to action encouraging them to let you know what they decide.

Section #10: Terms and Conditions

Include T&Cs around the details of sponsors’ investments, including what happens if the event is canceled. Though remember that the details will get sorted out in a sponsorship contract.

Finding the right sponsor isn’t easy

When looking for an event sponsor, you’re looking for the elusive win-win-win.

That’s something that works for you, as the event organizer, but also your attendees and your sponsors.

Achieving the triple crown of sponsorship is made easier with a rock-solid event sponsorship proposal—and this event sponsorship template should help make that easier for your next event.

If you want to learn more about how Hopin’s platform supports event professionals through the sponsorship process, schedule time with one of our event specialists today.

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