Sep 17, 2010

7 tips on how to get sponsors for your event

This is a guest post by Abhishek Gupta and a very important one. The most read post on my blog till date has been on making sponsorship proposals. While I have been exposed to sponsorship proposals as a sponsor I had been waiting for an event organiser to share his experience with us. Abhishek has successfully organised IIM Ahmedabad's largest cultural event and raised millions. (IIM Ahmedabad is the best & biggest MBA institute in India).

Although raising sponsorship money seems like any other sales process, there is a huge
difference in no existing product or service being there to sell in this case. The similarlities - Buyer is sponsor, Seller is the event organizer and Product/ service is the event. Following are a few tips on how we go about it.

Know your offering

First & foremost, believe in your product/ service! You should be
thorough in all aspects about your product/ service. What is the idea? What resources, including people & finances, required? What timelines? Past examples? You got to know all. This might sound cliched but SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) could be the most handy tool.

Identify your buyer

Although carpet bombing helps but target bombing can't be avoided.
Find out the agencies planning to enter into market or launch an IPO, as they would have extra budgets for sponsorship. Large sized agencies or agencies with lion's market share already also could be targeted as they have the moolah. Fit between your product/ service user and the buyer target segment is very important.

Know your buyer

It goes without saying that the buyer is listening to only what he/
she wants to. Sell what they buy not what you have. This involves modifying your product/service to suit the requirements or presenting it differently.

Sell & tell something extra to each

Each buyer should feel that something extra,
something innovative is being sold to him/ her. This extra/ innovative could be your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) which no one else is offering. Communicate about your effort to do something extra 'Only for You'.

Be persistent

Don't lose hopes if the first response is not encouraging. Ensure that
you have talked to senior management before taking a final no. Look out for the right hand person of the decision taker and convince him/ her first. Create levels in your organization, such that to show your seriousness to buyer you takeover from your deputy whenever needed.

Lookout for latecomers

Most of the times, 20-30% of the sponsorship comes in the last
few weeks. This is not to advocate wait & watch but just to ensure we don't close putting in our efforts a month or two before.

Leave room for negotiations

Since we approach the buyer and no particular value could
be attached to a sponsorship level, buyer would certainly want to bring down your quote. However, convince them on others buying higher and lower level at higher and lower prices respectively. In other words, make a comparative pitch.

A word of caution

Ensure that everything you talk about/ discuss/ agree is in black &
white and also look for at least 50% payment in advance.

"Know what you sell and Sell what is bought."

About the author

Abhishek Gupta organized the largest business school cultural fest, IIM Ahmedabad's Chaos in 2006 and almost single handedly took the event to new heights. He is now a Principal Consultant in Government Advisory division at Ernst & Young, Delhi. He has over 7 years experience in the consulting industry. His educational qualifications include PGDM from IIM-A and Chartered Accountancy.

Image Credits: graur codrin