I recently participated in a webinar on sponsorships hosted by ACCE and conducted by Sydney Doctor and Alana Turner of Greater Louisville, Inc.
Here are my notes from their talk in no specific order.
Centralize - think about centralizing your sponsorship activities under one person so you can provide a consistent customer experience throughout the conversation with all potential sponsors.
It’s more than an event, it’s a revenue generator and you need to think about it that way.
Less is more! Focus on what events work best for your chamber and has a positive revenue impact on the bottom line. Get rid of the rest.
A couple of thoughts on the process:
Do you offer a first right of refusal to those sponsors from the previous year? If not, you must. That’s just good business. And you should ask that question right after the event is done when they are riding high.
Do you have an investor pool - create a list of possible companies who might want to sponsor an event? Please know that not all investors will take that additional step to sponsor an event in addition to their normal support. That’s ok, but let them know they always have the opportunity to do so in the future.
Do you have a brochure with a list of sponsorship opportunities with dates, times, and a description of the audience that will attend? This packet of information needs to be digestible for any potential sponsor. And you must share it with your members and non-members alike.
When to ask? I’m a fan of working on a calendar year vs a fiscal year basis. Start asking in October for the following year and this will allow you to finalize any sponsorship deals by January.
Once you’re in the new year you can always backfill at each event with possible new sponsors to meet or exceed budget.
Do you promote your events around themes? Technology, Leadership, Finance, B2B just to name a few!
You can pitch sponsorship deals to companies who care about that subject matter and are thought of as thought leaders in those sectors. That’s a win win!
How about content generation from potential sponsors? It allows you to showcase your sponsor as an expert in the field and create content for the newsletter, magazine, website for the coming months.
They mentioned that your sponsorship fee should at least cover the cost of the event. Registration fees should be all profit. And remember, always load all your costs, not just the price of food/beverage and the rental of the room. You must include staffing, marketing, etc. It’s called program-based budgeting.
For a previous blog post on that subject matter go HERE.
And don’t forget about trade-outs for your bigger events. Think AV costs that could run into the tens of thousands of dollars that you could trade for a sponsorship.
Final thoughts and suggestions:
Ask your potential sponsors what they are looking for from the sponsorship. Make a list. Delivering on that promise will help you retain that sponsor for next year and the years ahead.
Don’t be afraid to customize your opportunities to get that sponsor.
Do you recap your events with pictures to showcase your event and sponsors on social media? That’s a great way to also promote the sponsor at the same time.
At the end of the day, the sponsorship should work for both of you. Think partnership not just a transaction.