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How to Attract and Recognize Corporate Event Sponsors

Volunteers wearing custom t-shirts at Kidney Walk charity event.

Hosting a charitable event is a costly endeavor. Location rentals, insurance, marketing, participant t-shirts and food and beverage costs can cause a significant dent in the profits of your event. Savvy event planners will often turn to corporate sponsors to help cover some of these significant event costs.

Event sponsorships can present a win/win situation. Charities get to offset event costs and give more money to their cause and businesses get an opportunity to boost their brand presence.

Entripy gets dozens of requests each week for custom apparel sponsorships from community organizations, school groups and charity runs. Some of the best sponsorship relationships we’ve formed are those where the organization has considered a lasting partnership with Entripy instead of a one-off donation.

Wouldn’t your life be easier if you didn’t have to go after new sponsors for your event each year, but could develop a lasting mutually beneficial partnership with your donors? Here are our top 8 tips for forming meaningful and lasting partnerships with event sponsors.

Align Your Needs with the Company’s Objectives

Turning a corporate sponsor into a valuable partner begins with aligning your organization to the company’s objectives. There are several reasons companies sponsor events. They may want to increase brand awareness amongst their target audience, strengthen their brand image by promoting the company’s involvement in the community, or introduce their products and services to a new audience. When approaching a potential sponsor, begin by telling them about the marketing opportunities you can bring to the table and how the company will be able to achieve its goals through their involvement with your organization.

Talk Less About Yourself

You wouldn’t go to a job interview and spend the entire time talking about what the company can do for you, would you? Yet too often, charitable organizations try to sell a company on their needs and goals without asking any questions about the company they’re approaching for a sponsorship.

Know Your Audience

Provide as many details as possible about your target audience. How old are they? Where do they live? What’s their income level? What are their interests? All companies have customer profiles that they are trying to match to each marketing opportunity. They want to ensure that the money they’re investing in your event will attract their target audience and ultimately, bring them business.

Identify the Marketing Assets Your Event Provides

When Entripy is considering whether to donate in-kind custom apparel gifts, or provide a sponsorship discount on custom t-shirts to an event, we ask about the type of brand exposure we will receive by participating in the event.

Participants at a charity event wearing custom t-shirts and holding promo giveaways of custom tote bags.

Organizations that provide this information up front make it easy for companies to consider a sponsorship. Some standard assets include adding the sponsor’s logo to event signage, adding their logo to your event’s custom t-shirts, including sponsor logos on your event website, social media shout outs to sponsors before, during and after the event, and acknowledging sponsors in your newsletter to event participants.

Avoid Cookie Cutter Sponsorship Packages

Companies have different needs and interests when it comes to sponsoring events. While one company may be looking to educate the public about their product or service, another may be looking for an event that their employees can participate in and get excited about. Some companies are only concerned with the number of times their logos is seen by event attendees, while others may be interested in an activation opportunity your event provides. When speaking with potential sponsors, ask them what they want to get out of your partnership and what sponsorship assets they value most. You may be surprised!

Show Sponsors They’re in Good Company

Knowing who else is going to be involved in the event may be a good enough reason for a company to get involved. Perhaps they want to make a connection with another sponsoring company. Having other sponsors can also lend more credibility to your organization. If you have testimonials from your sponsors, show these to your prospects to allow them to see the value others have found in being involved with your organization.

Promise Specific Deliverables and Deliver Them

Clearly outline what you will offer your sponsors and ensure you deliver on your promises. Inviting sponsors to attend your event is the best way for them to see first-hand how they were portrayed and recognized at the event, but if they can’t attend, take photos of the sponsorship assets delivered to show the company the value of their sponsorship. Remember, if you promise something; you must deliver.

Recognize Your Sponsors

custom promo giveaways displayed at a charity event including custom tote bags and printed t-shirts.

The more you talk about your sponsors, the happier your sponsors will be. Word of mouth advertising is a powerful tool, and your sponsors know it. Mention your sponsors at board meetings, tag them in your event photos on social media and thank them for helping to make the event successful, invite sponsors to your post-event de-briefing, share their content on social media with your own followers, send them one of your event custom t-shirts as a thank you, or invite them to do a guest blog on your website. Doing everything you can to give your event sponsors the public recognition they deserve goes a long way to building a long-lasting partnership.