How to Make MUCH More Money With Event Sponsorships

Let’s sharpen our approach to fundraising event sponsorship sales. 

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You have a choice – Do you want to approach event sponsorships like a bowl of spaghetti or a highly focused laser? 🙂

Guest Post from Chris Baylis Today

I’m pleased to bring Chris Baylis of the Sponsorship Collective to my readers in this guest post.

Chris wowed my peeps with a truly mind-blowing presentation to launch our Highly Profitable Fundraising Events Series this week.

He turned the traditional nonprofit event sponsorships approach on its head –  what do you think of his ideas below?

Don’t Try the Spaghetti Method of Selling Event Sponsorships 

The spaghetti method is when you throw everything you have at the wall and see what sticks.

You throw every possible idea at your sponsors, hoping they’ll like your package of benefits.

BUT – Do your sponsors really want ALL this stuff? 

  • Logo placement
  • Product placement
  • Speaking opportunities
  • Tables and tickets
  • Exhibit space
  • E-blasts
  • Access to your audience (which is usually poorly defined)

Is it really a good idea to give mid-level sponsors slightly less of everything above?  And give low-level sponsors less? Not necessarily! 

Some sponsors actually may not what what is in your package – they may want something entirely different.

What Happens to Your Fancy Package for Event Sponsorships?

Once prospects receive it, do you really think they will review it thoughtfully, respond and buy?

No.

They throw your sponsorship proposal in the garbage and move on.

It’s not what they are looking for, and you never took the time to find out what that was. 

Approach Event Sponsorships Like a Pin-Point Laser

Here’s the laser approach:  

You know exactly who your brand appeals to.  

You know everything about your audience and what your audience values.

You have a long (flexible) list of event sponsorship “assets” to sell. Assets are components to your event that might have value for your sponsor – like naming rights, social media branding, speaking opportunities, merchandising rights, signage, etc. 

And you know what each asset might be worth to a sponsor (because you’ve  done a market valuation of those assets).

What should you bring to visit a sponsor prospect?

Your secret weapon is…nothing at all.

When you go to a meeting, bring nothing. Instead LISTEN to find out what the sponsor wants. 

When you e-mail a sponsor? Never send an event sponsorship package or a one-pager or anything else that implies you want to sell their prospect something.

Get Clear About All This Before You Approach A Sponsor Prospect:

  • Your event’s “assets” that you can sell: 

Assets are things like logo placement, speaking opportunities and product giveaways.

  • The monetary value of your “assets:”

Having assets isn’t enough! You have to know what they’re worth too. Tweets, links on websites, logos and samples all have independent market values. 

Understanding the market value of your assets is the key to sponsorship mastery.

  • Who’s in your audience at the event?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and asset value is in the eye of the sponsor.

To find the real value of an asset you have to know exactly who is at your events and what business wants them as a customer.

  • Who’s your event sponsor prospect’s ideal customer?

If you know you exactly who your prospect wants to get in front of, you can help make that happen at your events.

  • How does your event sponsor prospect measures success?

Does your sponsor value brand awareness? Do they want email addresses? Or do they want to sell product?

Once you know this, you know how to report back to your sponsors to prove you delivered.

  • How much might your event prospect be willing to pay for that success:

If your prospect sells million dollar cars vs two dollar chocolate bars. . .  then they will be willing to pay a TON more for access to their ideal audience! 

  • How will your nonprofit make sure your sponsor actually gets what they buy:  

Selling the sponsorship package is only the beginning.

You need a strategy to implement and deliver every single thing you sell their sponsors!

More than that, you should coach their sponsors on how to make the most out of the investment too.

Be Highly Focused on the Right Prospects for Event Sponsorships

Only talk to prospects that you know are a good fit for your nonprofit, your event and audience.

Be a partner at the table, helping your prospect connect to their customers and grow their business.

Don’t carry standardized event sponsorship packages to prospects. Instead you should , they customize everything.

Don’t Waste Everyone’s Time

Spaghetti approaches are apologetic and wasteful.

They “ask for support” instead of claiming a place at the table as a partner.

The spaghetti method often manifests as a “Gold, Silver, Bronze” sponsorship package, which goes right to the garbage 95% of the time.

A spaghetti approach will throw more and more spaghetti at the wall. “What can we get them to buy?”

Laser Approach Saves You Time

 Focus on a small group of sponsor prospects who are a perfect FIT for you and your event.  

If you do, you’ll spend less time selling sponsorship and you’ll bring in more revenue for your efforts.

You will also notice something else: your sponsors come back every year because they only paid for what they wanted and got good ROI on their investment.

BOTTOM LINE on Event Sponsorships

Chris Baylis

Chris Baylis

Adopt a new language for your sponsorships.

Identify your “assets” and how much they might be worth.

Approach your sponsor prospects like major donors – find out what they want first, before you pitch. Be willing to customize.

Be a laser, and you’ll raise FAR MORE revenue for your event than ever before!

Want more from Chris?

If you’d like more coaching from Chris, you can get his entire 75 minute presentation plus 5 other fundraising event experts’ advice in our Highly Profitable Fundraising Events series.

Chris Baylis is a corporate sponsorship and cause marketing expert. He has managed the entire spectrum of the sponsorship process, raising millions of dollars for charities, associations and not for profits and is a board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Connect with Chris via: The Sponsorship Collective | Twitter |