Fundraising or How to Find, Charm, and Keep Corporate Sponsors?

A lot of time and money goes into staging any event. Whether you’re hosting a trade conference, wedding show or even charity event there’s a good chance that, in order to be profitable, you will have to get sponsors involved in proceedings.

Today it’s almost impossible to win any tender for event organization without including sponsorship into portfolio. This is due to the fact that many research organizations are now released into the “free floating” as independent units of the economy. And even if it is public funding, grants are so small that the budget often is not enough even for routine internal meetings.

Searching for additional funds for congresses is needed due to the specifics of the organizational process. Registration fees charged cover the basic costs of rent, printing materials and catering. Depending on the amount of the registration fee, a successful fundraising allows you to hold the event without deficit or to increase significantly the level of event by enlarging investments. The potential is limited only by time and competence of the organizer: active and well-built work to attract sponsorship gives visible results.


Absolute champions of the funds raised are sport events with a 70% of market share. The next few followers are recreational activities and causes. But each of them got not more than 10%. And despite the fact that the share of congresses and conferences is not more than 3% of the total amount expended by sponsors, the turnover in this area is measured in hundreds of millions of dollars.

With the growing popularity of business events you can count on more attention from potential sponsors. And in the future you can build the entire budget with the use of borrowed funds, thus significantly reducing registration fees. Lowered fees for participation will lead to an increase in the number of delegates, and therefore the support of such an event will be more interesting.


Depending on the kind of activities and support provided, sponsors can divided into 3 groups.

  • media partners or informational sponsors – create an information field of the event. Active spread of information about the conference in the press and specialized media creates the image and is working on event recognition, which helps to increase the number of participants and in most cases positively effect the attracting of financial support;
  • barter partners – companies that provide services on a payless basis. Translation agency, catering services, printing agencies, and even hotel chains and airlines could provide with support if the audience will be interested in the event;
  • sponsors – actual companies providing financial support in return for an agreed package from the organizer, which allows the company to satisfy its interests in a specific event.

Of course, the sponsor, in contrast to the investor, provides financing without the purpose of obtaining a direct financial benefit or participation in the profits of the event. Sponsorship has been an effective marketing tool for a long time that allows business to improve its image and strengthen its position in the market, and to find new contacts among potential customers. Each of the companies supporting the event may have a variety of its internal purposes, such as:

  • Increase brand recognition among the audience of the events
  • Change or transformation of the company’s image
  • Creating newsworthy
  • Stimulation of sales and searching of new customers
  • Expanding the dealer network
  • Advertising of products and services
  • Product Launch
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

It is also important to note that only 15% of all funds spent by donors, aimed at directly sponsorship. 85% goes to participation with a booth at the events. Such participation is considered by the majority of organizers as a financial support, as it significantly affects the augmentable budget.


Realizing the effectiveness of the events support as a tool in the arsenal of marketing strategies, sponsors carefully select the most interesting events for maximum benefit in promotion of their own projects. In addition to the status and level of promotion, an important role is played by the quality of proposal, which should comply with the activity of a potential sponsor and his expectations.

How to find, charm, and keep sponsors in the face of such fierce competition? Regardless of the category, organizers are expected to provide sponsors and partners with a compulsory set of services, which contributes to maximum recognition and spread of information about the company:

  • Sponsor banner displayed at event;
  • Sponsor name announced at event;
  • Sponsor name and/or logo in organization’s newsletter;
  • Sponsor name and/or logo in advertisements in newspapers and magazines;
  • Sponsor ad in program or flyer (ad size can range from business-card size to full page);
  • Sponsor logo on organization’s website (can include a hotlink to their site);
  • Contacts with key persons
  • Access to the membership
  • Possibility of a short speech in the program of event

10 basic principles that help to optimize the offer for each sponsor separately and succeed in fundraising in whole:

  1. Streamline the proposal. Sponsorship proposal, consisting of a number of identical packages with different names, can confuse even an experienced buyer. Much better proposal are prepared on the basis of several individual packages with exclusive content.
  2. Offer quality, not quantity. When filling a set of sponsorship packages with excessive positions organizers reduce exclusivity of deals, thus often reduce the overall quality of services for sponsor.
  3. Carry out surveys prior event. Sponsors are always satisfied, if they are offered that kind of promotion the most active participants react. Find out that positions and include it in the sponsorship packages.
  4. Only an individual approach! Examine the company, its goals, history of similar events supported. Build your proposal on the basis of benefits a particular potential sponsor might be interested in and help as much as possible to realize the strategy of the sponsor’s own promotion
  5. Do not miss anything. Even organizing a big event provide reasonable number of “low-cost” options and advertising opportunities for small business and new players on the market.
  6. Offer more exclusive. Participation with the welcome speech at the opening, the ability to organize the own section or a small promotional event, raffle, party or interviews for industry mass media would be definitely interesting to the key sponsors of the event. The most important to come up with an action that would involve the audience convey the brand value and connect to consumer emotions and loyalties.
  7. Be mobile. Be prepared to add any additional services to the package in accordance with the wishes of a potential sponsor. Nevertheless, it should not contradict with the general concept of the event.
  8. Sell the content, not the cost. Every company is planning its own budget for the promotion, which includes participation in industry events and exhibitions. Thus, a potential sponsor is primarily interested in the result of participation in a particular event. You should make an accent on this result and the way to achieve it. Having been offered the same price, sponsor will select the event with more opportunities and benefit.
  9. Communicate … and communicate again! Communicating with potential sponsors on the phone will bring more fruit than sending email. Also, do not underestimate the magic of personal meetings. In addition to the individual communication, this approach also makes time to adjust sales strategy, since the feedback is obtained immediately.
  10. Build long-term relationships. Long-term partnerships are always cheaper than a one-time sponsorship. Do not forget the sponsors after the event, mention your sponsor in the post-materials and publications in mass media and specialized press. Working with the sponsor, find out the kind of support he might be interested in the future.
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