Event sponsorships are a great way to drive non-dues revenue.
Read on to learn about three types of event sponsorships your association should be offering and how to market and sell them.
By Michelle Schweitz, Marketing Director, Community Brands
It happens. Sometimes your association needs to boost revenue beyond membership dues. So, what do you do?
Selling sponsorships is a great way to bring in non-dues revenue. And, since your association probably already hosts multiple events (in-person, virtual, and hybrid), selling event sponsorships just make sense.
Three types of events sponsorships to offer
Before creating a bunch of event sponsorship opportunities, start by thinking about three different buckets of sponsorships:
- Branding – These opportunities allow sponsors to display their logos to event attendees. Their logos might be displayed on onsite signage, the event website, emails, videos, event slides, attendee swag, and more.
- Lead opportunities – These opportunities give sponsors a way to collect sales leads. Opportunities might include exhibitor booths (virtual or in-person), exhibitor appointments, sponsor demos that attendees sign up to view, and sponsor content downloads in which sponsors receive contact information from the downloads.
- Networking – With these opportunities, sponsors have a way to get to know attendees one-to-one. For example, the sponsor might be given a number of tickets to a member event so they can meet and greet attendees. This type of opportunity might be bundled with branding so that the sponsor logo is included on the networking event invitations and signage.
With your three types of event sponsorships in mind, begin building sponsorship opportunities within each bucket. Be sure to include a description of each opportunity and the corresponding benefits.
Marketing and selling your event sponsorships
Once you have outlined the event sponsorship opportunities, here are some tips for marketing and selling them:
1. Build a sales kit.
This is your opportunity to really grab your potential sponsors’ attention. Of course, you’ll want to list the various sponsorship opportunities, but also sell prospective sponsors on why this event is THE place for them to be. Some things to include in the sales kit:
- Your association’s mission and background.
- Event attendee demographic information, such as organization types, job titles, and job functions.
- List of sponsorship opportunities with benefits and prices. Be sure to include any images or examples you can add to make the opportunities as compelling as possible.
- Details on how to find out more and purchase a sponsorship.
TIP: Learn how to provide added value to event sponsors so they’ll return again and again. Read the article, 7 Ways to Provide Value to Your Association’s Virtual Events Sponsors.
2. Post the sales kit.
Create a sponsorship opportunities page on your event website and add your sales kit to it. Include a convenient form that companies can use to sign up for sponsorships. Set up automatic alerts to send the completed forms to your staff that is responsible for managing sponsorships. And, be sure to have a process in place for quick follow-up. If someone is interested and willing to spend money with your organization, it’s best to get them on board right away.
TIP: YourMembership association management software (AMS) includes built-in form builder functionality to help you easily create forms for sponsorships, membership applications, and more. It also includes a content management system with mobile-responsive layouts and an easy-to-use editor tool so you can quickly build emails and web pages that will work and look great on mobile devices.
3. Offer an easy way to pay.
Providing a familiar online payment experience makes it easier for your sponsors to pay you. Add your sponsorships to your online store and send your sponsors a simple link to check out in just a few clicks.
TIP: YourMembership includes e-commerce and online store functionality that makes it easy to accept donations and sell store items, including sponsorships, through a familiar online shopping cart experience.
4. Get the word out.
Run a marketing campaign informing previous and potential new sponsors when your event is open for sponsorships. Make sure you provide important event information and what packages you offer.
Be sure to share your sponsorship opportunities in a variety of ways. For example:
- Send targeted emails to past and current sponsors of events and conferences.
- Send a link to any companies that inquire about sponsorship opportunities, pointing them to the sponsorship opportunities page and sales kit on your website.
- Post about your sponsorship program on your social media accounts.
TIP: Email campaign management functionality in YourMembership allows you to quickly and easily create email lists and target email content based on a variety of criteria.
Selling sponsorships is a powerful way to drive additional non-dues revenue for your association. Learn more about building a successful sponsorship program: Download the toolkit: Sponsorships 101: How to build a sponsorship program to increase non-dues revenue.