Looking to secure sponsors for your next virtual event? Writing an effective sponsorship proposal is the key to standing out to your potential partners.
Finding event sponsorships is one of the top challenges among event marketers. Our Evolution of Events Report revealed that 37% of event marketers agree providing value to sponsors is a challenging aspect of planning virtual events. There has always been pressure to win sponsor dollars, and now that virtual events are booming, organizers feel the pressure even more as they navigate this new domain.
Sponsors add a lot of value to your event. Their contributions help pay for equipment, book amazing speakers, and otherwise ensure your event has the resources it needs to succeed. The right sponsors can also add credibility and attract more attendees from your target audience. After all, if Company X is sponsoring your event, it must be good, right?
Crafting an effective virtual event sponsorship proposal is the key to winning sponsors.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to put together a compelling proposal that will stand out to your potential sponsors, especially in the virtual world.
1. Detail Your Virtual Event and Brand
Once you have a virtual event idea, you’ll want to tell prospective companies a little bit about your company and the event you plan to host. Start with the basics like what your event is called, the topics and content it will cover, and when it will take place. If you need ideas, check out our virtual event resources guide.
Then move on to more specific information like any speakers who've committed to present at your virtual event, other sponsors who have already signed on, or other enticing details you can use to get their attention.
Capturing the essence of your company is also a key piece of your virtual event sponsorship proposal. Include a short history of your organization, the values your company stands for, and (if possible) your track record when hosting events (virtual or in-person). Giving insight into your company’s story will give potential sponsors something more personal to connect to.
This proposal from Growth Marketing Conference (previewed below) immediately includes information like event name, company details, etc. within the first three pages. This is a great example of how to convey your virtual event and brand quickly to potential sponsors.
The Benefit: By telling potential sponsors about your organization and the virtual event you plan to host, you build trust. This is essential when asking a company to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on your event. They'll need to be confident that the money they invest will generate a positive return.
2. Describe Your Virtual Event's Target Audience
Another important aspect of your event strategy is your target audience. Among other event goals, building pipeline and generating leads is likely one of your top priorities. And it’s equally important to event sponsors. They are measuring ROI largely based on how many quality leads they captured and how attendees engaged with their brand.
Sponsors are willing to invest in your event because they believe they will see a return on this partnership.
Be as detailed as possible in this section. Start by telling potential sponsors how many attendees you expect at your event. Then dig deeper into your demographics to pull more specific information. Do your research for each potential sponsor and provide them with the audience data that is relevant to them.
HubSpot's INBOUND conference consistently secures top-notch sponsors like LinkedIn, Amazon, and Zoom. The INBOUND 2020 event sponsorship proposal clearly details their audience to give potential sponsors as much relevant information as possible.
The Benefit: Your audience is one of the first things a sponsor will want to know about your virtual event. By including this information in your virtual event sponsorship proposal, you'll save both yourself and your potential partner’s time, while showing that you know what’s important to them
3. Identify Your Virtual Sponsor Value Proposition
Companies ultimately sponsor events for one reason: to improve the outlook of their own organizations. Sponsorship is essentially a marketing tool that allows businesses greater access to their target audiences.
Your goal when crafting a virtual event sponsorship proposal is to show prospective sponsors how a partnership will be beneficial to them. In other words, you need to identify and promote your virtual sponsor value proposition.
The value proposition is the piece that will hook a potential sponsor and convince them to partner with your for your virtual event. For example:
- You're the only virtual event serving a specific demographic of professionals
- Your event will feature must-see, hard-to-book speakers
- You'll give all sponsors access to the in-depth attendee data you collect
- Your virtual event marketing efforts will feature sponsor logos
There are endless possible value propositions, and it might be different for each event you host. Make sure that whatever you offer in your virtual event sponsorship proposal will be enticing to potential partners.
Forbes does a great job of highlighting the impressive speakers they’ve booked for their annual Healthcare Summit, which features celebrities and top business professionals.
The Benefit: There are plenty of virtual events happening every day. If you want to secure sponsorship, you need to convince companies that partnering with your event will be worth the time and money. Identifying your virtual sponsor value proposition is a great way to stand out from other proposals.
4. Mention Key Performance Indicators
Potential sponsors are interested in proof that your virtual event production will live up to the hype. The best way to demonstrate this is to share analytics from previous events — especially if you can pinpoint KPIs that show audience engagement.
Take a look at this sponsorship deck from SaaStr. It's loaded with stats like the number of social viewers during simulcast events on Twitter and YouTube, how many people the event expects to receive in 2020 and which roles they hold, and the percentage of highly engaged attendees at previous gatherings.
What if you've never hosted an event before and don't have any data from previous years to share? Focus on stats that showcase your ability to promote your virtual event. For example, you could highlight the number of social followers or email subscribers you have.
The Benefit: Cold, hard facts will go a long way towards convincing potential sponsors to partner with you. Don’t just talk the talk, show them you can walk the walk.
5. Provide Multiple Virtual Sponsorship Options
Every sponsor is different - they have different goals, different budgets, and your sponsorship options should reflect that. Here are a few virtual event sponsorship ideas to get you started.
Consider having various sponsorship tiers or levels, just like the sponsorship prospectus for Pulse For Product 2020 does. Potential sponsors have five tiers to choose from, each featuring different perks at different costs.
The Benefit: By providing multiple sponsorship options to your soon-to-be partners, you'll be able to secure more sponsors for your digital event because you’re able to cater to a wider range of companies.
Company X might have a small budget but is still interested in sponsorship. Rather than turning their money away, you can craft a lower-tiered package that they can afford. Doing so will ensure your sponsors are taken care of and your event is fully funded.
6. Highlight Virtual Sponsorship Testimonials
Highlighting testimonials from previous sponsors will greatly increase your chances of securing new ones. It’s like reading the reviews before buying the product. Potential sponsors want to know that investing in your event will be worth their while. Give them assurance by providing plenty of positive testimonials that build trust.
A quick look at this proposal from Bloomberg for its annual event, Bloomberg Live, will show you this tip in action. The web page features a great review of the conference from a sponsor's perspective.
The Benefit: Testimonials add credibility to your event. Asking sponsors to give large sums of money with no real guarantee they will see a return is a lot to ask. Offset that uncertainty by showing them, via testimonials, that your virtual event will be worth the investment you're asking them to make.
“We chose Bloomberg Live as our Davos event partner knowing they had the experience, credibility and expertise to produce a first-rate event that would attract the audience we desired. They didn’t disappoint, and several of the attendees commented that it was the best event they attended at Davos. We always look forward to partnering with Bloomberg to create new and original ideas.”
- Anna Griffin SVP, Corporate Marketing, CA Technologies
Wrapping Up: Create a Winning Virtual Event Sponsorship Proposal
Virtual event sponsors will ensure your next online event has the funds and credibility it needs to both attract and engage your target audience. To secure sponsors, create a virtual event sponsorship proposal that includes each of the six tips listed in this article:
- Detail Your Virtual Event and Brand
- Describe Your Virtual Event's Target Audience
- Identify Your Virtual Sponsor Value Proposition
- Mention Key Performance Indicators
- Provide Multiple Virtual Sponsorship Options
- Highlight Virtual Sponsorship Testimonials
If you follow these six tips, you'll be able to craft a winning virtual event sponsorship proposal and secure sponsors for your event.
For ideas, tips, and best practices, download our Virtual Event Sponsorship Workbook.