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Why Your Sponsorship Request Sucks and You're Not Getting Sponsors

This article will help you better understand how to get donations from sponsors for your event.

Are your sponsorship requests not getting answers? When you’re trying to get sponsors, you need to know what sponsors want.

I’ve seen a lot of sponsorship requests over the years as a website consultant. Often times they look the same: a long email listing everything they need. Endless bullet points of gimmie, gimmie, gimmie. When I’m looking at emails like that I’m just thinking “money, money, money.” I can total up everything in a sponsorship request in my head and reply “OK, what you’re asking for is a couple thousand dollars worth of services. Now what will you give me.”

The number one question businesses want to know from sponsorship requests.

When you’re looking to get sponsors you need to address the value question that the business will have. What will I get in return? Businesses can clearly tell you what they’re spending when you ask for things. If you say, “hey alcohol company, I want a bunch of booze for my event,” they can total that up and say, “well that will cost me $500.” You need to clearly show them how they’re going to get $500+ worth of exposure. You may wonder how to value your sponsorship request offerings and you’re a little bit in luck here. Most companies will be a little lax with their awareness / branding marketing budgets. So you can often times flub the numbers here a little. But when you’re trying to get sponsors, they will definitely take into account the following key points.

Would your people buy their stuff?

Businesses are going to be thinking “do we have the same audience? Is this even worth it to us?” If their audience doesn’t match your audience, then what’s the point of sponsoring you? What a business wants in return for sponsoring you is sales. If your audience would never buy anything from their business, then there’s very little value for that business to sponsor you. To increase the chances of landing a sponsor you need to flesh out your audience in measurements that sponsors want to see. If you have a website, Facebook or Twitter it’s easy to pull this information from the back-end or using analytics programs. Don’t say “we have 5,000 people coming to this event.” You need to say “we have 5,000 mid-20’s college graduates who are interested in technology careers with local businesses.” You need to get detailed to get results.

Does sponsoring you make them look awesome?

Most marketers will want to measure things and be able to prove a return on investment for spending any money or giving you anything. However, you can overcome hesitation here by throwing some emotional content into your sponsorship request. This is where those persuasive speeches from high school come in. It’s all about brand values and making an emotional connection. Would sponsoring you be a really good Public Relations (PR) or branding opportunity for this potential sponsor? They want to know “if we sponsor this event, would this make us look good?” Would people come to this business’s store, site, etc. and buy from them? Or talk about them? If the answer is yes, then this could be a very good thing. When you fill out your sponsorship request include a paragraph where you describe the emotional connection your audience will have with the sponsor. Include how the sponsors brand values align with your audience.

Marketing is being measured and you need to show metrics.

How valuable is the digital marketing from your organization? You need to say things like “we have this giant engaged Facebook following. Here, check it out for yourself.” A lot of businesses especially those that sell to other businesses (B2B) have a hard time breaking into social. Social’s such a hot thing still, if you provide exposure to a social following this is worth something. You’ve got value. How many people are engaged with you on social? You could have 10,000 followers on Twitter who never share your posts or reply to you, but if you’ve got a lot of people tweeting and sharing your stuff then people want to get in front of that. Of course again you need to have the right audience overlap but if you have people who share your stuff, that’s worth something.

Do people and Google like your website?

Other things you want to include are how much traffic you get to your website. If they get to put their logo on your website, is anyone going to see it? Does Google rank your website high in search results? How many links do you have going to your website? If you give them a link to their website is that worth something? You can use tools like SEO Moz’s Open Site Explorer to figure these numbers out. If you’ve got a lot of links to your site and a domain authority of 30+, that’s worth something. The higher the better and the more you can get in return.

Digital is king but smart marketers respect offline sponsorships, too.

Of course there’s non-digital value too, but in the era that we live in most companies are moving towards solely digital marketing. It’s easier to track and rationalize to your boss. If a company is smart, they’ll take into account an audience that may be harder to measure. I wouldn’t pass up something that could have an ad, on-air radio or TV placement in front of my target audience. It may not be the easiest thing to track but this is far from worthless. Include this if you have it but I’m telling you it’s only valuable if it’s bundled into a sponsorship package that includes digital marketing opportunities as well.

Remember, what are they going to get out of this?

Ultimately everything boils down to: what are they going to get out of this? You’re trying to find a market for your product. Your product is your audience and your brand. And you need to be able to connect that brand and that audience with another brand and audience and say “hey, this is why you should help us out and we’ll help you out.” I hope this was helpful and you land some sponsorships soon.