How to find congress sponsors

One of the definition of the verb “to sponsor” in the Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “paying the expenses for a specific event, in exchange for advertising."

However…

For funds to be invested in a particular thing, initially, both parties of the sponsorship agreement must have overlapping goals and similar long-term objectives. Each of them is following its own path towards achieving these goals, but this can sometimes easily complement the one of the other partie. Exactly at this conceptual intersection, a sponsorship agreement is the ideal way of positively impacting the sponsored event and benefiting the sponsoring organisation.

That is why, to the definition above we will add that — sponsorship is not merely an exchange of funds for advertising, but a way to express support and the company that supports a given event should believe in the idea, around which it is build, and identify itself with its participants.

Now, we will dive deeper in the steps of finding the right sponsor and succeeding in the process, even without any prior experience in the field of congresses, conferences, or other smaller events organisation.

The Right Sponsor. Where and How to find?

Having already defined what a sponsor is, and what a suitable one looks like, let’s go through the steps of finding them.

When the nature of the activities of an organisation is more niche or strictly specialized, the process of finding sponsors can sometimes be even easier than if it is connected to a more mass-market activity. In any case, the following steps are universally valid.

The most favorable circumstances would lead to the signing of a partnership agreement only after the completion of the following stages:

  • Choosing a company to participate

Here, you need to be careful because your event will be associated with the products and values of the company that you will advertise according to the sponsorship agreement.

  • Sending information about the event and the opportunities for support

It’s good if the information is well-structured and presented with all the details about the placement of stands, conditions for participation, distribution of promotional materials, or other activities provided in the respective package clearly described.

  • Receiving a positive response and signing an agreement

At this stage, it’s good if you make sure that you and the sponsoring company clearly understand the terms to ensure that your event goes smoothly and to avoid any misunderstandings. Furthermore, it’s important for both parties to be compliant with the agreement. Precisely, the lack of integrity is one of the few things that prevents from creating a long-term relationship by making the sponsorship a one-time commitment, which is not ideal for the realisation of future events.

Sometimes things don’t go as smoothly, and you won’t always have prepared in advance a list of companies to contact. In this case, you need to go through more steps to successfully get to your sponsorship agreements up and running.

This includes the following:

Choosing a potential sponsor company

In your choice, pay close attention primarily to the field, in which your potential partners operate. It should be the same or very similar to yours. It is also important that the location of the company, is in close proximity to where the event is taking place, because the closer it is, the more likely your participants will be interested in your sponsor and vice versa.

Advice:

– Most companies have a page on their websites where they present their values, vision, mission, and goals. This is a good place to get an initial idea of whether a successful partnership is possible.

– If you don’t know where to start searching, look at companies that have sponsored similar events in the past or research what type of products/services your audience uses to guide where to direct your efforts.

Preparation for proposal

Before contacting the company, prepare to be evaluated by them. What does this mean? To decide whether to support you, they will inform themselves about their potential future partner, so you must be sure that you have represented yourself well in the public domain. Again, the idea is to understand if you are reliable and a good match for their values.

Advice:

– Prepare your website, social media, showcase your strengths, and sometimes it might be helpful to talk about your weaknesses.

– Put yourself in the sponsors’ shoes to be ready for anything that might interest them.

Making contact

Try to take the shortest path possible to reach the people who make sponsorship decisions. The quicker you find them, the more attention you’re likely to receive in shorter terms, which can sometimes be of great significance.

Advice:

– Companies plan their budgets in advance, and it would be good and the submition of your inquiry should happen before that.

– In any relationship, trust takes a front seat, especially when it comes to money. If you have mutual acquaintances with some of the decision makers, ask them to connect and introduce you.

Creating a proposal

Tailor your offer for each company according to its specifics! This is very important when you first contact a potential new sponsor because it reveals your true business intentions, that are fundamental for these types of relationships. This way, your chances of attracting them to your idea are much higher, and a personal approach always makes a good impression.

Stating the proposal

If everything is ready by this point, now is the time to win over your future sponsors with your proposal. So far, we’ve mentioned a stable presence in the field, good reviews from clients or your previous partners, and trust. In the case that some of those are not fully developed, you still have a chance to catch your sponsors attention if you manage to strongly present them the benefits they will get from supporting you.

Advice:

– Describe well your current and target audience, the expected number of participants, potential engagement generated in social networks, media awareness, and others;

– Present in detail the main idea and goal of the event;

– Consider different loyalty programs, memberships, or bonuses for the sponsor’s customers;

– Emphasize the long-term benefits. If you have organized previous events, you can share the feedback received, the potential revenue generated, the reputation achieved, and anything else that could convince the companies you contact.

Signing the Sponsorship Agreement

At the end, you will again have to review everything related to the documentation and the factual occurrence of the agreement with the sponsor to ensure that everything proceeds smoothly for both parties.

Remember! For your sponsors, participating in your event is just as beneficial for them as it is for you, and this mutual support positively affects third parties, namely the event participants. If you choose well, this partnership benefits everyone, and if you follow the described steps, you’re bound to succeed!

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