When organising a conference, one of the biggest challenges is getting money “in the bank” early in the process. The biggest revenue generator is normally from delegate registration fees, but this doesn’t come in until very close to the conference day. Before that, there are overheads – venues need a deposit, caterers need to be paid, a website built, marketing material etc. In many cases, the registration fees may not even cover all the costs, so conferences look for sponsors to bridge the difference.
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There are various ways of identifying potential sponsors and targeting them. Here are some ideas:
Identify Potential Sponsors
One of the first places to start is to identify what tasks you need done and then see who on your existing contact list specialises in those particular areas. Sponsorship doesn’t necessarily have to include handing over money – someone could sponsor by offering their services (and in some cases, this is easier to obtain than handing over money). Check if they have sponsorship programs and/or have sponsored similar conferences previously.
Prepare Your Sponsorship Package
A sponsor will want to know how they’ll benefit from sponsoring the conference. Specify the value of being associated with the conference to potential sponsors:
- What is the theme of the conference?
- Who is the demographic?
- What is your audience size?
- Which other companies have already committed to sponsorship?
- How does this benefit a sponsor (publicity/prominence/association)?
Negotiate the Sponsorship
Don’t be afraid to negotiate! You should send a detailed sponsorship package to each of the potential sponsors, including pricing for each level of sponsorship available if they want to support financially, but don’t be afraid to negotiate for services instead if it suits the conference needs. The sponsorship will help you, so aim to achieve an agreement for the target company to sponsor the event at a level with which they are comfortable.
Question for You!
How do you look for sponsors for your conference? Do you find it easier to ask potential sponsors to give their services rather than a fixed amount of money?
Let us know how your process works by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org!