7 ways to keep your sponsors returning for your next event

With the right sponsors, everyone wins! Your sponsors receive a significant brand boost with their desired demographic, event attendees gain access to solutions offered by your company and the sponsors, and your event benefits from the funding to make it happen.

What can you do to maintain the relationships with sponsors that you court for your event? We explore 7 ways you can engage with your sponsors so that you can play them for keeps.

Understand the needs of your Sponsors

The first rule to sponsorship is that you have to place the needs of your sponsors above your own. What does this entail?

You need to find out the needs of your potential sponsors-different companies sponsor for various reasons- some do it to increase brand awareness, loyalty, drive traffic, and community responsibility. It is your duty to research before meeting them so that you can offer them customized value for being part of your event.

Read: How to get sponsors for your event: 4 questions to ask

Know what sponsors want and expect from events

Some sponsors may demand category exclusivity (the only media sponsor), access to mailing list/database, presence in your online/offline collateral, or even ad placement in the program book. The amount they are willing to sponsor hinges on what they can receive in return.

You can choose to break down the sponsorship into different tiers, and give them varying options of what they can receive in each tier. This gives them flexibility to choose what works best for both parties.

Create multiple options to offer your sponsors 

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Traditional sponsorship such as Title Sponsorship would require lots of brand exposure for the sponsor and if you don’t have access to a sizable database, this might not be seem like a good return of investment to the sponsors.

Some other sponsorship to consider would be the “soft sponsorships” that relies on relationships with sponsors. For example, consider some sort of barter with your sponsors. Alleviate traditional expenses, such as food, beverage, or photography in exchange for sponsorship exposure.

Mark opportunities for sponsorship at each stage of your event, compile and send this list to your sponsors and partners so they can allocate you into their budget as early ahead as possible.

Read: Sponsor Appeal: 10 creative event sponsorship opportunities

Present them a solid prospectus 

What information do sponsors need, to decide if your event is something they should invest in? Sponsors are drawn to events with a firm audience demographic like bees to honey. Prove to them you have a history of drawing people of a particular demographic towards your event.

You can use the registration form as a platform to collect the information you need. The database from past events can be used to show that your event attracts the demographic being targeted by the sponsor company.

Mention them at your event

During the course of your event, mention your sponsors at appropriate junctures. This way, the audience will associate them with a particular problem solving capacity. You should also include a call to action in your message directed at the attendees. For example, get the attendees to meet them at a booth, or download an app that they can try out and in return receive certain promotions.

Don’t forget them after the event 

Send your sponsors a post-event report to show them the impact your event has had on their brand. In your report, it is important to showcase the brand reach, the number of potential conversions, and evidence that you have delivered on the actionable items that was signed off on the contract. Including photos, write-ups of your event so they can see how their contribution has played a part in the event is a nice touch.

Be consistent

Remember, a relationship with any sponsor can only be sustainable if it has a triple win outcome! The attendee, the sponsor, and your event must all gain something out of it to keep the journey going. And the key to that consistency is to be keenly aware of what you value for your event, just as you are aware of what your sponsors and attendees would value at all times.