90% of B2B event planners admit that securing sponsors is one of the biggest challenges they face. For brands that regularly host events—whether in-person or virtual—event sponsorship can be a great help in funding the event and building B2B connections.
But given the difficulty many event organizers have, how can you make sure you secure enough event sponsorship for your next event?
Throughout this article, we’re going to further explore what event sponsorship means, how you can find sponsors, and even provide you with proposal templates for getting new sponsors in the door.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
Event sponsorship is when a company pays an organization putting on an event to be a sponsor, typically leading to ad space at the event, featured speaking roles, access to attendee data, free or discounted tickets and more.
There are a number of ways event sponsorship packages can look, and they’re often tiered as well, with more expensive sponsorship packages getting companies access to more perks.
Companies often sponsor events as a way to get more brand awareness and leads, hopefully helping to propel that company forward. And just as I mentioned that there can be several different package types or levels, there are also various types of event sponsorship in itself.
There are four main types of event sponsorships, each with their own benefits. In addition, each type is geared towards a different type of business.
1. Financial Event Sponsorship
This is by far the most common type of sponsorship because it makes sense for a wide range of businesses. Financial sponsorship essentially is when a company pays money to sponsor an event.
This money could buy a number of perks as a part of their sponsorship:
- A large booth or installation at the event
- Featured speaking engagements
- Sponsored lounges
- Digital experiences
- Sponsored food/drink
You can allow sponsors to select their options from the above list, or you can create sponsorship tiers based on what you can offer at your event.
2. Promotional Partners
Promotional partners are well-known people in your industry that promote your event on their social media and tout the fact that they will also be attending.
This tends to draw attention, as more of their audience will likely be more interested in attending your event knowing that someone they know (and who has a great reputation in your industry) will be there as well.
When looking for promotional partners, make sure that they’re either industry experts or at least have the same target audience that you have.
3. Media Event Sponsorship
Oftentimes, a media sponsor can make a lot of sense for your event. In this situation, you’re creating more of a trade-off between the media company and your event.
For example, the media company will promote your event, and in return, they have a featured booth or some type of sponsorship option at your event. Typically you’ll want to make sure they’re prominently displayed, especially if they made a major dent in your event marketing.
4. In-Kind Sponsorship
This type of sponsorship is one of the most valuable types. Instead of exchanging money for a sponsorship spot, in-kind sponsorships provide actual goods and services for the event.
This could include:
- Your venue space
- Food and drink
- Digital experiences (e.g. an app for your attendees to use)
In-kind sponsorship can be a huge help for businesses putting on one of their first events, or for businesses who don’t have a lot of capital for renting event equipment. This type of trade is often beneficial for all involved.
Not every event needs sponsors to be successful, but there are still a few reasons you may want to look into event sponsorship.
Improve Your Brand Image
While sponsors are absolutely getting something out of having a prominent presence at your event, your brand can also benefit from having sponsors. They’re likely going to promote their sponsorship/attendance of your event with their audience, giving you even more exposure.
In addition, the sponsors you work with can help to improve your own brand awareness and brand image, helping your company look more professional and legitimate.
Put Your First-Time Event on the Right Track
If you’re hosting an event for the first time (especially if your aim is to make it annual, bi-annual, etc.), getting sponsors can be a great way to set yourself up for success.
Legitimize your brand new event with well-known sponsors, helping both attendees and additional sponsors feel better about your event.
Get Supplies You Need
In-kind sponsorships are a great way to host an event on a budget. Even if you explore only in-kind sponsors and don’t dive into financial sponsors yet, getting the supplies and equipment you need for an event can be a game-changer.
For example, event venues can cost thousands of dollars to rent out. If you’re able to work out a trade with a local venue in exchange for a prominent display at your event, it can be a major benefit to both parties.
Grow Your Business
Again, your sponsors are likely going to promote your event themselves, in order to maximize exposure from their sponsorship. This is a great way to get even more brand awareness for your business, and in turn, more leads and more customers.
With Visme, you can create social media graphics and more to promote your events.
- Present social media graphic dimensions
- Create and resize content quickly and easily
- Engage your audience through visuals
Outreach for anything—even event sponsorship—can seem overwhelming, especially if you have no clue where to start. We’ve put together a few great places to look when you’re starting your search for sponsors.
Step 1: Know Your Event and Audience
Different events offer different types of sponsorships, different perks, and different packages. Know your event and what its sponsorship availability is. But also know what types of companies might be interested in an event like yours and who the target audience is.
For example, the types of sponsors you might search for for your upcoming tech conference will be much different than the types of sponsors a sports team would look for for their sporting events and arena sponsorships.
Use this customer persona template from Visme to sketch our your target audience:
Step 2: Contact References From Past Events
Think back to events you’ve attended. Who were the sponsors there? And how many new connections did you make? Reaching out to people that attended or sponsored similar events that you/your business has attended is a great starting point for your outreach.
And if you’re interested in creating your own event in the future, keep it in mind as you network at events you’re attending. Take notes on who could be potential sponsors to make your future outreach easier.
Step 3: Expand Your Network
If you feel that you’re starting from scratch, networking both online and in-person can be a great way to expand your potential contact list. Search for local networking opportunities (sites like Meetup can help) or connect with people on LinkedIn to get the conversation started.
Step 4: Use Online Tools
There are a number of online tools and websites you can use to help find sponsors. Because finding sponsors — and events to sponsor — can be such a struggle for brands, these online marketplaces make the process easier than ever.
A few websites to check out are:
Step 5: Ask Your Audience
Post on social media that you’re looking for sponsors for an upcoming event. Send out an email newsletter to your existing contact list. You’re likely to get a few bites just by putting some feelers out with your existing audience.
Furthermore, you can ask your audience what sponsors they’d like to see at an event. This can give you even more leverage when you reach out to that company. Imagine the impact a sentence like, “Our audience is requesting your presence at our upcoming event,” could have in their decision-making.
By now, you’re likely taking notes on how you can find sponsors for your next event. But even if you compile a list of potential sponsors, there’s no guarantee that they’ll have interest in signing up.
There are a few tips and best practices on how you can successfully approach this list of potential sponsors, pitch them your packages, and craft an engaging proposal.
1. Offer Enticing Sponsorship Package Levels
To get potential sponsors interested in your event, create sponsorship levels or tiers that get them excited about the perks they’ll be receiving. Be upfront with exactly what your sponsorship will entail, and include pricing for each specific level.
Here’s a great example of what this might look like:
Some options you could consider offering are:
- Placing their brand logo in your event marketing materials
- X social media posts promoting/mentioning their sponsorship at your event
- Featured speaking session or panel at the event
- Prominent display at the front of your event
- Branded swag in goodie bags
- An ad in your event brochure
2. Create a Branded Sponsorship Proposal
After you’ve reached out to your list of potential sponsors, it’s time to create a personalized and branded sponsorship proposal to send out to interested brands.
One big mistake that brands often make is sending out a dry proposal that doesn’t grab attention or make a company all that interested in sponsoring. This is why we recommend using Visme and our collection of professionally designed templates to create a branded proposal that will excite potential sponsors and get them ready to sign the deal.
Here’s an example of a template we have in Visme that’s ready to be fully customized with your event information:
Plus, with Visme’s brand kit, you can easily apply your own brand colors and fonts to the template with just a few clicks. This helps improve brand strength and make sure your potential sponsors have a clear idea of what the event branding will look like.
Here’s a GIF showing how to put this to action:
Furthermore, using a tool like Visme provides you with even more features that are perfect for pitching sponsors. While some brands might prefer creating a proposal document, Visme is also a great place for creating and presenting sponsorship slide decks.
Brands can present live, keeping hidden notes in their presenter notes area, ensuring they have a seamless sales pitch. Or, present asynchronously by recording your presentation and sending a viewable link to your potential sponsor.
Visme presentations can also be shared publicly or privately via direct link, without a recorded presentation, and you can keep an eye on how many potential sponsors have viewed your slide deck using Visme analytics.
You can also turn on the registration form for your presentation so you can grab contact information from each person who views your sponsorship proposal.
All in all, by using Visme for your sponsorship proposal or presentation, you’ll be able to make a big impact while also tracking views and engagement on your proposal.
3. Be Specific About Event Details
Don’t skimp on event details. You want to be completely transparent about what your event sponsors can expect. Furthermore, the event details need to be different from what you’re providing attendees.
Sponsoring is a very different experience, so they need to know details about what this event will look like from their perspective, and not what attendees will solely get out of it.
Dedicate an entire page or slide from your proposal to be completely upfront with what the sponsorship perks involve.
You can include a slide with a basic overview of what types of events or seminars will occur at your conference or event, like we see in this slide example:
While also sharing some of the reasons brands should sponsor your event and what they could get out of it, like we see in this slide example:
Give your sponsors the full rundown of what your event will look like, similar to an event program, while also including specifics about where various sponsorships will come in.
4. Include Attendee Demographics
Your sponsors need to know details about who will be attending this event to make sure the sponsorship even makes sense for them. They’re not going to spend thousands of dollars sponsoring an event that none of their target audience is attending.
Here’s one example of what this could look like:
But I implore you to go even deeper, as well. Share ages, genders, locations, interests, and more, so that your sponsors have a full understanding of who they’d be reaching at your event.
If they’re not provided with the full scope of your attendee base, they’re not going to think it’s worth it for them. To increase the number of “yeses” that you get back, include as many attendee demographics as you can in your proposal.
5. Use Data Visualizations to Showcase Concrete Numbers
More than demographics, let sponsors know about your past successes, or even the number of attendees you already have signed up. You can also share data about your digital marketing engagement if part of their sponsorship revolves around promotions online.
With Visme, you can get access to a number of charts, graphs and data widgets that make it easy to visualize numbers with just a few clicks.
Here’s an example of what this might look like in your proposal:
But if you want to go even deeper with showcasing attendance data, consider connecting a live Google Sheet to your sponsorship proposal charts. This will allow your charts to update in real-time as more and more people register — and it’ll reflect immediately on your live presentation or document.
6. Let Your Sponsors Know Exactly What They’ll Get
Be completely transparent with what you’re offering in each of your sponsorship packages—and make sure you follow through.
Discuss the options you want to offer your sponsors with your team, then put together a list of sponsorship perks (we mentioned a few above already).
Then lay them out clearly, like we see below:
This way, there’s no ambiguity about what comes with a sponsorship. As long as you keep up your end of the bargain, your sponsors will be happy to come back for future events.
7. Thank Your Sponsors
Make sure that event attendees know exactly who your sponsors were—otherwise their money was spent in vain. There are a few ways you can do this, and you might use different options for each tier of sponsorship.
Some ideas include:
- Thank them during the event (i.e., during a closing speech)
- Thank them by adding their logos onto your event program or brochure
- Send out personalized thank you cards/gifts
- Thank them by tagging them on social media
- Share your sponsors’ social media posts
- Create a case study showcasing sponsor success (this is a great tool to have for getting sponsors at future events)
Here’s an example of what your event program could look like with your sponsor(s) listed at the bottom:
Do you have some event sponsors in mind? The best way to win them over is with a professional event sponsorship proposal.
This proposal can outline all of the available sponsorship packages, perks they come with, costs, additional event details and more. Providing potential sponsors with all the information they need upfront helps them feel more confident in your event.
To help you get started, here are 10 event sponsorship proposal templates you can customize to win sponsors.
1. CRM Product Launch Event Sponsorship Proposal
Hosting events is a great way to create some buzz around a new product launch. If that’s something you’re interested in, consider using the above sponsorship proposal to customize with your own product information, event attendee information, and sponsorship tiers.
2. Interactive Event Sponsorship Proposal Presentation
If you’re putting together a Visme presentation that you want to share with sponsorship prospects as a live Visme link, the above presentation is a great option to use. With built-in interactive elements, your potential sponsors will be able to click around your presentation, click from your slides to an online sign-up form, and more.
3. Soccer Game Event Sponsorship Proposal Presentation
Sporting events always need more sponsors. Whether you’re looking for sponsors for a soccer game, basketball game, football game, etc., this proposal presentation is a great place to start. Simply update with your own branded colors and photos, and get ready to ship to sponsorship prospects.
4. Music Event Sponsorship Proposal
If you prefer to put together a document proposal that you can send as a PDF, this music event sponsorship proposal is a great option. Customizable for any type of event — not just music festivals — you can easily input your own information and fit this for a sporting event, tech event, business conference and more.
5. Tech Event Sponsorship Proposal Presentation
This modern event sponsorship presentation template is perfect for tech and SaaS companies looking to create a proposal that matches their messaging and brand mission. This template also includes pre-set charts so you can easily input your own attendee demographics in order to further entice sponsors.
6. Book Launch Event Sponsorship Proposal Presentation
Show off reviews, ratings, numbers of customers/attendees, and more with a proposal template like the one above. This template has a more feminine look, but can easily be adapted to fit your brand’s fonts, colors and other visual elements.
7. Race Car Event Sponsorship Proposal
It can also be a great idea to include some of your current sponsors in your proposal as they come on board, as we see in this template. This is a great form of social proof, as brands may be more likely to sponsor if they see other big brands that are already a part of the event.
8. Business Conference Event Sponsorship Proposal Presentation
While you want to make sure your proposal stands out, you don’t always need a ton of color. Consider creating a more greyscale design, but using a pop of color throughout, like we see with red in the above template. This can help draw attention to some of the most important parts of your proposal with little effort on your part.
9. Fashion Show Event Sponsorship Proposal
This template shows a unique way to lay out your sponsorship tiers. We’ve seen a few options, from setting up tables to dedicating one page or slide per tier, but this geometric design above is another great way to show off your options.
10. SaaS Product Event Sponsorship Proposal Presentation
With the last template on our list, we’ve got another option for a product launch event — this one for a SaaS product or app. One unique aspect this design shows is the countdown clock, showing sponsors just how long they have before the event, creating an illusion of urgency to sign up.
Start Securing Sponsorship for Your Next Event
It’s time to begin the search for your own event sponsors. Take advantage of Visme’s document creator so you can easily put together beautiful, on-brand event sponsorship proposals that your prospects will love.
By using Visme’s pre-made templates along with our easy-to-use brand kit feature, you’ll be able to create stunning, branded proposals in no time.