Writing a Winning Sponsorship Prospectus for Your Association

Ahhhh…..sponsorship.  Every association needs it, and it is one of the biggest concerns that associations face for revenue.

One of the first questions I tend to ask is “Are you creating the right offers, and the right document to sell your opportunities?”  Sometimes, the offers are fantastic – just the presentation of them are slightly off.  Here are a few tips to help you take your prospectus to the next level:

First:  Your Intro

When I look at a sponsorship prospectus, I tend to do two things – first, I scroll down to the pricing, and then back up to the intro.  Introducing your organization to a sponsor through a prospectus can seem mundane, but to be honest, it really is one of the first few things that a potential sponsor looks at.

Use the intro to introduce your association and your event to the potential sponsor.  Your first paragraph should include an acknowledgement thanking them for reviewing it, and describing who you represent and the event you are asking for support.  Include links to your website and social media presence, as appropriate. When discussing the event, describe WHY you are seeking sponsorship.  Be creative; something like, “We are looking to partner with companies who have a vested interest in XYZ profession, and want to develop meaningful relationships with potential clients”.  Its general, but you can customize it to fit your organization.

Second:  Your Data

Sponsors want to see the data.  Providing data on estimated participants, and historical data to back it up (if possible) is exactly what they need.  Your numbers may fluctuate depending on your event location, and you should be honest about that.  For example, you could reference something like:

“Our conference typically brings 300-375 participants each year.  However, our 2019 conference will be held in Toronto, and the last time we brought our conference there, we saw an uptick in participation – bringing 480 attendees!”

Third:  Describe the Event

This is where you get into some of the smaller details:

  • Where the conference is taking place (if you have selected the venue already, get specific)
  • Is there a tradeshow component? Make sure to mention it!
  • Advise on the social aspects – how many meals and breaks a sponsor will be privy to, if there is a gala/awards dinner, etc.
  • Have you lined up guest/keynote speakers?  What types of presentations, or what is the conference theme?

Fourth:  It’s NOT WIIFM (What’s-In-It-For-Me), its WIIFT (What’s-In-It-For-Them)

It’s clear what you need – the financial commitment from your sponsors.  But what exactly are you giving them in return?  Be clear on the “standard stuff”, like:

  • Logo placement on website and other marketing materials
  • Social Media mentions
  • Recognition/Podium time at the event

But here is where I encourage you to get creative.  They are not going to commit out of the goodness of their hearts – they are going to commit because they have access to business potential.  They want to get at your participants in a meaningful way.  So, what can your association offer them that is unique?  Here are a few things that I personally have tried:

  • Accountability cards – branded with the logo of the sponsor of this, they asked key questions of the audience to set intentions, describe what they expect to learn as a result of participating, and committing to making a difference when they return to the office
  • Chill Zone – a corner for quiet, “hallway” discussions, a place to check your emails in peace, or frankly, re-energize after some heavy discussions
  • Branded A-Ha Walls – encouraging participants to identify what stood out for them from various presentations, and outlining them on A-Ha cards, which then are used for a prize (or, prizes) at the end of the conference

Fifth:  The Options – or, the Levels

Please do not use Gold, Silver, Bronze!  Come up with category names that are fun, unique, and engaging!  Each level is tied to a dollar value.  Be sure to layout the various options, inclusions and “special opportunities” available in each category.

What are you doing to make your prospectus stand out?  Do you need help?  Get in touch.

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