Imagine hosting an event that leaves your attendees talking for months. It takes more than marketing, putting butts in seats, and creating a schedule.
You need sponsorships.
But here’s the thing: securing sponsorships can be a major challenge. 90% of event organizers say that getting sponsors is one of their top challenges.
In this article, we’ll go over the steps to create a winning event sponsorship proposal so you can easily capture the attention of your potential sponsors.
How to identify the purpose and target audience of your event
How to research and identify potential sponsors who could benefit from the audience
How to write compelling sponsorship letters that get your sponsors interested
How to follow up with your potential sponsors
And some of the best practices and tips for writing event sponsorship letters
Whether you’re planning a charity fundraiser, a corporate event, or a concert, this guide has all you need to create the perfect event sponsorship proposal that gets results.
Defining your event and its target audience
Sponsors want a return on investment (ROI). When writing your sponsorship proposal, keep your focus on the benefits to sponsors at all times.
To make it simple, we’ll split the process into three sections.
Establishing brand goals
Hosting an event can be an excellent way to achieve your brand goals, but you must know what you hope to achieve from that event. Are you looking to generate sales or leads, build credibility and trust, or establish thought leadership in your industry?
Ask yourself what you hope to achieve through hosting this event.
Are you trying to generate leads or sales?
Do you want a stronger community around your brand?
Or, are you hoping to establish thought leadership in your industry?
Suppose you want to establish thought leadership through your event.
You need to create an event that highlights your expertise and insights in the industry while showcasing your approach to problem-solving, all while you’re in front of the people.
This can be achieved through
inviting industry experts
hosting panel discussions
and having an interactive QnA session with attendees
Setting up such an event will help differentiate your brand from competitors, build credibility and trust, and position yourself as a go-to resource in your industry.
The target audience
Once you have the brand goals in mind, you need to determine what audience will benefit the most from attending your event.
Here are a few questions you can ask to identify your target audience:
Who are you creating the event for?
What are their demographics, interests, and purchase habits?
What products or services are already they interested in?
What problems do they face in their daily life or work life?
What products can be useful to your audience in solving their problems?
For example, to attract event planners, you could host an event planner networking event.
Here’s a sample persona for an event planner to get the thoughts flowing:
Regularly hosts events and is active on social media, sharing insights and ideas
Will purchase products or services that make the operational aspect of events easier
May already be using event ticketing tools or event management services
Experiences difficulty in managing a large number of users at the venue or in virtual environments. They may also find it difficult to bring in a crowd if it’s a newly launched event with no existing audience
Will benefit from event management products with detailed dashboards and audience engagement tools, and event marketing services
With the last point, you can know what products and services will be most beneficial to your audience in solving their pain points.
Listing the benefits for your sponsors
Showcasing the right benefits can compel sponsors to pay attention to your proposal.
Let’s continue with the event planner networking event example. If you approach Evey Events (a Shopify event ticketing platform) for sponsorship, the direct benefits will be:
Product and brand visibility among potential customers Additionally, including the number of event planners attending your networking event will make this point even more impactful.
Demos booked from the event. If the sponsor can offer an exclusive discount or a free trial to the event attendees, new demo calls can be directly attributed to the event giving the sponsor, visibility on their return on investment.
Stronger associations with partner brands. Connecting with other sponsors and event attendees can help build better relationships within the industry and give access to partnership opportunities that may have otherwise not been available.
The benefits that each brand gets from sponsoring your event will differ based on their target audience and the product or service they offer. Spend the time to understand each brand’s goals before sending them a sponsorship proposal.
Finding potential sponsors for your event
Let’s say you’re organizing a charity marathon for a local nonprofit organization, and you need sponsors to cover the costs of organizing the event.
Here are 5 steps you can take to find potential sponsors:
Tap into your existing network: Reach out to your customers, friends within the industry, and other people you may have connected with before. You can also talk to the marathon participants. They are the ones most likely to be interested or know someone who is interested in sponsoring your event.
Look at competitors’ sponsors: Once you’ve exhausted your network, take a step further. Find who sponsored previous marathon events in your area, especially those held by your competitors. Reach out to these companies with a solid sponsorship proposal. If these companies saw positive ROI in their previous sponsorships, they’re very likely to sponsor another similar event.
Reach out to corporates: Corporates allocate funds toward social responsibility activities. But sending the same proposal to everyone will yield negligible results. Instead, identify companies that have previously supported the cause behind your charity marathon and approach only those businesses.
Connect via social media and emails: Finally, move over to social media to find influencers or businesses that support your cause. They can help you in two ways: spread the word through their following or become a sponsor. If you approach it strategically, without being pushy or salesy, it’s likely that they will pay attention.
Follow up with client feedback: Sponsorships, like sales, require follow-ups. Maintain the subtle pitch without seeming too pushy about getting the sponsorship.
Crafting the perfect event sponsorship proposal
By now, you should have a list of potential sponsors to approach along with their emails and any other information you may need to craft sponsorship proposals. Below, we have an event sponsorship proposal structure.
While the one below is only seven pages here, do not limit yourself here. Use additional pages if the sponsor can get more benefits out of your events. However, I’d suggest keeping the entire letter concise—we do not want the reader to be overwhelmed and skip the document altogether.
Page one: Briefly describe your event
Keeping it short, describe your event and its purpose and add a quick note on what will be included in the agenda. Also consider adding other information such as the event theme, location, date, and the number of people who will be attending.
The point of this page is to earn credibility and authenticity.
Page two: Showcase your target audience
Now, we want to showcase exactly what audience your sponsors will reach through your event. Spend a good amount of time on this page to make it visually appealing.
Visually display your audience data, including statistics based on the people who have already purchased your tickets, or based on historical attendance data.
Have a look at this illustration that was part of Join The Beach’s event sponsorship proposal.
Clearly specify how your sponsor will benefit from being in front of your audience. Even if it seems obvious, it’s best to state the benefits. We want our potential sponsors to put in as little effort as possible to go from page one to the final page.
Page three: Demonstrate a track record of success
With the target audience covered and your potential sponsor’s interest piqued, you now showcase your past successes.
This page in your sponsorship proposal will reinforce the benefits of sponsoring your event, giving your potential sponsor, a reason to consider taking this ahead.
Join The Beach showcased its media coverage by adding screenshots of news outlets that had covered the event.
You can also include:
Engagement statistics from previous events
Number of people that have attended your event till now
Media coverage if any
Case studies and testimonials of the results previous sponsors have received
Photos and videos of previous activations to show the value
Page four: Demonstrate the benefits and the execution plan
After showcasing the potential benefits to sponsors, now we move to demonstrate the process for executing the event. Here, you need to show your potential sponsors how you will execute the event.
Have a look at how railsconf demonstrated the value of their sponsorship packages to potential sponsors.
Highlight any partnerships or collaborations with other brands that are assisting the execution of your event. Also mention if any additional relationships are required to enhance the experience.
Page five: Sponsorship Packages
Finally, you come to the sponsorship packages. You must ensure that the value your event delivers is greater than the price of the package.
For example, if you know the average customer acquisition cost in your industry stands at $50 and you have 1000 attendees, you can charge upwards of $1500 without losing their interest.
Here’s the sponsorship package page from railsconf.
The sponsor packages can vary depending on the industry and the amount of money they usually spend on branding and acquiring customers. The higher the amount, the higher your sponsorship packages can be.
Apart from that, once your event becomes popular amount the right set of people, it becomes easier to get higher-value sponsorships as both businesses and attendees know that you are a credible source of information within the industry.
Page six: Your team
Here’s your chance to showcase the talent you’ve onboarded. Talk about who’s on your team, their experience, the companies they’ve worked with, or the events they’ve helped execute before.
You can even link out to their social media accounts to help the potential sponsors dig further into the team. Remember, the team will help your sponsors trust that you can successfully execute the event and won’t falter on the promises midway.
Page seven: Call to action
Finally, the most important page—the call to action (CTA).
If you have published the sponsorship proposals online as web pages that you share with the clients, adding a CTA becomes easy. You simply need to create a button or form that people can click and go ahead with the sponsorship.
Alternatively, if you send a PDF, you can directly share the address where your sponsors can send their checks or payments. Here’s an example of how railsconf ended their sponsorship proposal letter.
The call to action page should be as effortless as you can make it. If you can add a QR code that sponsors can scan to show their interest, go for it. Alternatively, you can have landing pages built especially for these sponsors so they get a personalized experience throughout their journey.
Quick tips for creating a winning event sponsorship proposal
Taking the non-profit charity marathon example forward, here are a few quick tips for creating your sponsorship proposal:
Customize each sponsorship proposal for the person or organization you plan to approach. This is because every brand will gain different benefits from your attendees.
Many businesses have a budget allocated for charity donations. Approach these businesses first to improve your chances of getting sponsored. If you’re hosting a for-profit event, approach businesses that have sponsored other similar events before.
Focus on connecting with people you already know or can get referred to by someone. This will dramatically increase your chance of the person hearing you out and partnering with you.
Set the right package prices. Going too high or too low on the pricing can alter the value perception of your event. Talk to event organizers that have hosted similar events before and get a price range for your event sponsorship. You can use those numbers as your base prices and go higher or lower from there.
Sponsorship proposal templates for event sponsorship
To get you started, here are some event sponsorship proposal templates that you can use right away.
Simple event sponsorship proposal template for corporate events
This sponsorship proposal template features a simple, yet professional design with a calm blue color scheme. The clean layout along with its well-organized sections make it easy to present your event’s benefits and opportunities to potential sponsors in a clear and concise manner. The blue color scheme conveys a sense of trust and reliability which can help establish a positive and professional image for your event.
If you’re looking to attract corporate sponsors or businesses, this template can help you create a winning proposal that showcases your event’s value and potential.
Vibrant sponsorship proposal template for parties and concerts
This sponsorship proposal template is perfect for concerts and parties. It depicts a visually distinct design that is perfect for event planners who are organizing a party or concert.
It uses bold and dynamic design elements, conveying a sense of excitement and vibrancy that is sure to appeal to potential sponsors
Minimalist fashion event sponsorship proposal template
This template best fits minimalist and timeless fashion events. The template’s clean and elegant layout provides a professional and polished look, while its simple design allows the event’s branding and messaging to shine through.
Green sponsorship proposal template, great for non-profits
This sponsorship proposal template features a sleek and professional design in shades of green, making it an excellent choice for non-profit organizations seeking corporate sponsorships.
The template includes sections for introducing the event and its goals, outlining sponsorship levels and benefits, and providing information on the organization’s mission and impact. The layout is clear and easy to navigate, with plenty of space for customizing the proposal with your own branding and messaging.
After you send your first sponsorship proposal email, here are the different ways you can follow up on your communication and keep the client in the loop:
Engage on social media: Start showing up in front of the company’s people in charge. Take inspiration from Burger King’s social media PR stunt where they liked very old tweets (from 2010) by influencers to bring people’s attention toward a menu item from 2010 that the company was reviving. This caused a stir and got people talking. You don’t have to try something big. A few well-placed interactions with company decision-makers could do the trick. Keeping your cause front and center and gently nudging them in your direction will be sure to catch their eye and help you follow up effectively.
Send an email nudge: But the above will not work well if the recipient hasn’t read your email yet. reply to the email thread to bump it up in their inbox. Hubspot covered the steps to send follow-up emails that you can follow.
Follow up with a call: If you get no response, try calling the person in charge. A simple call where you only want to remind them of the email and schedule a meeting if possible. Do not come off as pushy here as you may lose your chances of getting the sponsorship altogether.
Event updates: Regularly send event updates including new sponsors that you onboard, any influencers attending your event, and more. These updates will be aimed at inducing the fear of missing out (FOMO) and pushing potential sponsors to make a decision.
Win your sponsors over with the perfect event sponsorship proposal
Sponsorships can make or break an event. If you’re still following the traditional approach of sending the same sponsorship proposal to all, you’re bound to be disappointed.
It’s now more important than ever to personalize every piece of communication that you send out. And that’s especially so when you want someone to invest time and money into your events through sponsorships.
Remember, each sponsor has the potential to be a long-term partner for your business. Don’t let a lousy proposal be the reason you miss out on it.