How to Get Rocking Sponsors for Your Next Event

By EHM Feature Writer Sarah Jensen

Whether it’s your first workshop or you’re a seasoned pro, seeking sponsorship for your event can feel a bit scary.

It can push all those ‘self-doubt’ buttons and bring up thoughts like, ‘What do I have to offer the big brands’ and ‘Why would they want to sponsor me’.

I felt stuck too when I started planning my first workshop, but with the help of my amazing coach and mentor Jade McKenzie from Event Head, I rocked sponsors like Collective Magazine, Grill’d Burgers and the ThankYou Group.

But I want to dispel the myth that finding sponsors for your event has to be difficult or scary.

If you want to get some rocking sponsors and big brands on board for your next event but don’t know where to start, I’m going to take you step by step through the process.

I want to reassure you too that as a blogger or entrepreneur, you don’t have to have BIG numbers (website traffic or followers on social media) to secure amazing sponsors. If you’re polite, professional, have engaged followers and make it about building relationships rather than ‘getting free stuff’ you’ll manifest so much more success and build brand collateral that matters.

1. Dream big

Take some time to brainstorm a list of dream brands you’d love to work with. This can include brands you love and use every day, brands your attendees would love to receive and brands that are aligned with your business, your message and your event.

For example, if you’re running workshop on self-care you could include beautiful brands who make scented candles, body care products, health and wellness magazines, oracle cards or aromatherapy oils.

 

2. Get clear

Now you have your list, go through and narrow it down. Choose around 3 products you’d like to gift to your attendees and write down the names of two brands you love who make those products.

 

3. Do your homework

Before you go on an emailing frenzy, take the time to research your dream brands. Spend time on their website, look at their contact page and aim to find a person you can approach rather than just the ‘contact at’ or ‘info at’ email address.

Also, be sure to read the company’s about page to make sure your brands are actually aligned. If they are, take note the words they use to describe their message or movement, you’ll use these later in your approach email.

 

4. The approach

This part is key as first impressions count. You want to be clear about who you are, what you do and what you want, but not make it so long they get bored and give up.

It’s a delicate balance and you should take time to craft your first approach email. It will absolutely be worth it as after you’ve done it once, you can shape and tweak your email until you have a concise, attention grabbing pitch template that you can repurpose for each brand.

Here’s what you’ll want to cover in your pitch email:

  • Who you are.

  • What you do and where you do it (provide your website URL).

  • What your event is about and who it’s for (consider this your event’s ‘elevator pitch’ - a couple of sentences that pique the sponsor’s interest and make it clear what you’re creating and who you’re creating it for).

  • What you love about their brand + why your brands are aligned.

  • What you’d like from them and when you need it by (be specific here – provide numbers, product names or dollar figures if you’re after money or vouchers. Also, make sure you allow plenty of time for your sponsors to ship or deliver products to you – don’t leave it until the last minute).

  • What you’re offering in return (this could be exposure on social media, in your newsletter, in your event marketing material or on your website; think about what you have to offer and always be generous).

Email one of your dream brands in each category. If you don’t hear back within one week, send a short and polite follow up message. If it’s a no, that’s ok, thank them and ask if it’s ok to contact them again in relation to future events. Remember, no doesn’t mean ‘never’! If it’s a yes, be sure to send them a heartfelt thank you and then give yourself some serious high fives – you did it baby!

 

5. Follow up

You’ve locked in awesome sponsors for your event. Congratulations! 

Make sure you keep in contact with your sponsors as the event comes to life. Create a spreadsheet or list to track your sponsor commitments and make sure you fulfil your promises. 

This is where you can really build trust and mutually beneficial relationships with brands – show them how much you and your attendees love their brand and tell them how grateful you are to have had them on board for your event. If they’ve helped make it special, let them know. They’ll appreciate it and be more likely to work with you again in future.

 

{Editors note} And I'm so excited to announce that sponsorship will have a whole new module in the next round of my Workshop Wonderful eCourse. The next one kicks off February 8, 2016 and you will have EVERYTHING you need to get incredible sponsors of your own! x

All photo credits belong to Event Head and Kate Di Blasi Photography