In Part I, we explored how to craft sponsorship plans. Now, I’m going to tell you how to use them
RELATED STORY: Tips for attracting event sponsors, Part 1
Draw up contracts for each available level of sponsorship. If your company does not already have an event sponsorship contract template, have all drafts reviewed by your legal department or legal council.
Create literature and Web pages outlining the costs and benefits of sponsorship at the various levels. Always include deadlines.
Use the event’s target audience and mission to determine a list of ideal sponsors. Take into consideration compatibility: If your marketing is edgy, conservative companies may not be interested, even if event is reaching the right demographic.
Don’t overlook the media. Media partnerships/sponsorships can provide television coverage, public service announcements, discounted or free advertising in print or online, and broadcast your event to a wider market.
After identifying potential sponsors and creating support material, make sure you know who is your best contact at each company. Identify the names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and U.S. mailing addresses for the decision makers; it may take some work to find them, but pitching your cause directly to the person authorized to sign sponsorship contracts saves valuable time.
Investigate whether there are senior managers or sales people within your or your client’s company who may be able to help you secure sponsorships or give you introductions to potential sponsors. Knowing what kind of partnerships or relationships already exist between the event’s parent company and potential sponsors will save you legwork, and being accompanied by someone with sales skills can help you close the deal.
Contact previous sponsors before marketing materials are distributed to everyone on your list. Give them first right of refusal to be an exclusive sponsor or the chance to upgrade their sponsorship level before other companies are approached
RELATED STORY: 6 B2B social media marketing tips for eventprofs
Follow up with sponsors to make sure all needed images, verbiage, logos and other information is collected well before print, Web site and broadcast deadlines. Double-check information to make sure it is correct and all contact information is present. Fulfill the terms of your sponsorship contract.
Post-event, send thank-you letters and call sponsors, expressing your gratitude for their support and sharing any positive feedback about their services. If the experience was a positive one for the company, now is the best time to secure a sponsorship renewal, establish exclusivity or upgrade packages for the next event.
Lastly, it is always better to give sponsors an extra perk or two than to make the mistake of not delivering all promised benefits. When these perks are given, be sure to clearly communicate they are a one-time benefit. If sponsors want to keep the perks, they have an incentive to upgrade to a larger sponsorship plan for the next event.
RELATED STORY: The 33 skills meeting and event planners need to succeed
Jackie Thornton, M.S., CMP, is President of Global Marketing and PR Inc., which offers event planning, marketing and public relations services. She also has taught event planning certificate courses. Sources used in preparation for this article include “Public Relations Strategies and Tactics.”