Recently, I met with an event committee. The group has been operating for many years. They have created numerous memorable shows and events. They have an established group of followers, and some well developed relationships with local sponsors. Yet, it is only a few months until their next event, and their bank account is rather empty.
Hopefully, we have found a way out of this situation. More importantly, we have started building a multi-year sponsorship strategy. The purpose of the strategy is to prevent this organisation from finding themselves in the same position again. The sponsorship strategy for sponsees is namely the key to any successful sponsorship and event.
BENEFITS OF SPONSORSHIP STRATEGY
- Sponsorship strategy helps you think of not just an upcoming event, but also of all the future events. This will force you to start working on the next event pretty much straight after your first one has finished. You will be all hyped up and buzzing, you will know exactly what went well and where is room for improvement, you will be full of ideas for the next event, etc. The longer after the event you wait, the less and less motivated you will be to start the show all over again.
- To start working on the event 12 months or so in advance, it gives you a feeling that you are on top of the game.
- You have time to follow up with all the previous sponsors, talk to them about their experience and how this can be improved or enhanced next time. It gives you an opportunity to deepen the relationships with your existing sponsors.
- It also gives you an opportunity to lock these sponsors in for the next year, right then and there.
- If you are organising an event for the first time, having a sponsorship strategy reassures potential sponsors that you are in for the long run. Sponsors know that it takes time to build a successful sponsorship campaign. They will be more likely to commit for a few years than just for one-off event.
WHAT TO INCLUDE IN SPONSORSHIP STRATEGY
- Your idea of the event and your vision. Why you are doing what you are doing? What is your plan for year one, year two, and beyond.
- Your target audience. Who you are doing this for. You might have different target audiences so make sure you clearly define each of them.
- A full list of your inventory, your sponsorable assets. What you can offer to different sponsors? Think beyond logos, think outside the square.
- A list of potential sponsors. Make a thorough research about each of them. What are they trying to achieve and how can you help them with that? Don’t stop here. Find out who are the key people that can influence the sponsorship, who do you need to meet with and where or how will you meet them.
- A detailed timeline of all your activities. For each sponsor, when will you approach them, when do you need to have the first conversation by, when should your follow up meeting be. And later on, when do you need to deliver what you promised by, when will you meet with them again, etc.
Sponsorship strategy is not a static document. You are never really done with it. It keeps evolving and growing, you need to keep adding new information and delete unnecessary details as you progress with your events. As such, it is a great resource of information for all your meetings with sponsors and for any sponsorship proposals that you will end up doing and sending out. So the more work you put in it at the start, the easier and the more fruitful it will be along your way.