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Whether they invest on a high level, commit to covering specific costs (food, badges, supplies, etc.), or are part of a trade, engaging sponsors is a smart way to add some extra padding to your event budget.

That said, it’s important that your partnerships make sense - after all, money is involved! And that doesn't just mean for you and the sponsor. Anyone you invite to have a presence on-site should make sense for your attendees, too. But why, exactly, do sponsorships need to make sense on so many levels?

  • The look and feel of your event should be precious to you. If you include a partner who seems out of place, it could rub attendees the wrong way! Make sure anyone you engage in sponsorship talks with has something to say that attendees will value.

  • Your sponsors want to know that their investment will have some kind of a return - whether that’s having the opportunity to engage with new business opportunities, or simply reinforce their brand.

  • As an event planner, we understand the value of adding to your budget. But some sponsors aren’t worth the hassle! Don’t be afraid to turn away any offers that would be too much work for what they’re willing to invest, or that you simply don’t feel comfortable with.

So, how do you do it? Here’s what to consider when pursuing potential sponsors:

  • A good sponsor solves a problem for your attendees. Think about the type of person or organization that will be represented on-site. What could they use to make their day-to-day easier? Whose message would they find valuable? Start your outreach brainstorming by answering these questions.

  • Sponsorships are not one-size-fits-all, so packages should be slightly customizable. The assets that one potential sponsor would find valuable may not be so valuable to another: Be flexible on what you’ll allow them to have a hand in.

  • Similarly, you never know what cool attendee experiences you’ll come up with when you keep an open mind! Think about ways that the sponsor can get some bang out of their buck, while creating a fun activity for attendees. (For example, a professional headshot station hosted by a photography sponsor at your annual convention for wedding planners.)

  • Don’t forget to look to your existing partners: If you already find value in their services, it’s likely your attendees will, too!

When you start to think about it this way, selling sponsorships should be a breeze! It’s a whole lot easier when their involvement is a no-brainer for them, too. Interested in learning more about finding the right sponsors - and engaging them so well that they’ll return year after year? Download our free guide!

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