Attention event marketers: it’s one thing for a sponsor to pay your company a small sum to slap its logo on your flyer. It’s another thing entirely to find the brand partnership that’s perfect for your event. We’re talking about a partnership that frees up the organizer’s budget, dazzles the sponsor with measurable ROI, and enhances the event experience for every attendee — whether they’re walking around an expo or lying on the couch on their phone.   

It may seem tricky to pull off such a win-win-win. But with the right planning, along with an event management platform that’s up to the task, the perfect sponsorship package is well within anyone’s reach. We’ll hash out everything you need to know right here.  

What is an event sponsorship package?

An event sponsor is a brand that helps fund a separate company’s event in exchange for some sort of corporate benefit. If that sounds a little vague, it’s only because the value the sponsor gets in return can take plenty of forms — like more brand exposure, speaking opportunities at the event, lead generation, or access to data on attendees.

The more an event organizer can prove value for a sponsor ahead of time, the more likely that sponsor will be to spring for the event.

That’s why it’s helpful to think of an event sponsorship package as a mutually beneficial contract between organizer and sponsor. And while they broker the agreement, the package needs to be just as impactful for a separate, third party — the event attendees. The audience should enjoy and appreciate all sponsorship offerings.

What sponsors look for in a package

In a package proposal, event sponsors mainly want one thing: ROI. That’s why it’s crucial for organizers to know a sponsor’s objectives well ahead of time, so they can tailor their proposal to its specific needs.

Also, while attendees want to be engaged at an event, sponsors are much more concerned with visibility. They want packages that give them as many opportunities to interact with attendees (who could all be potential customers) as possible. While this used to be a hindrance for virtual events, some modern event management apps have event sponsorship tools that bolster visibility with banners, notifications, and splash screens.

To ensure they’re going to be able to achieve both value and visibility at an event, potential sponsors are looking for an engaging, comprehensive pitch. This means organizers should provide a detailed description of the event, any possible details on attendee demographics (including age, job title, location, and so on), and some examples of how the sponsor will catch attendees’ eyes.

Benefits of a compelling events sponsorship package

As mentioned, the best packages are a symbiotic relationship between sponsor and organizer. So what does each party stand to gain?

Event organizers can increase (sometimes even double or triple) their budget. And if they choose the right sponsor, they can make an event much more recognizable and trustworthy. Just think about how much credibility a tech event gets if it’s sponsored by Google.

Meanwhile, by funding an external event, sponsors can reach new audiences, boost their market share, and promote a message to attendees that aligns with a brand’s core values.

Sponsorship Packages

The most high-profile example of this partnership in action is the Pepsi-sponsored halftime show at the NFL Super Bowl. Pepsi bought the show’s rights a decade ago for some $2 billion. Ever since, they’ve had their name attached to a live event that reliably draws around 100 million annual viewers, giving them unparalleled brand awareness.

Pepsi gets to boost its market share and associate its brand with huge names in music, while the NFL gets help — worth as much as $50 million per year — funding and producing the spectacle.

How to find the right event sponsors

Now, you may not be a football league looking for help booking Snoop Dogg. That means Pepsi may not be the first name you’re reaching for in your Rolodex. So how do you find the best sponsor?

First things first: know thy event. Before reaching out to any potential sponsors, you should have an ironclad sense of what you’re hosting. Is it a virtual event, in-person, or hybrid? What are you hoping attendees get out of it? What sets it apart from your competitors’ events centered around similar topics?

Once you’ve answered those questions, you can start to narrow your search by weeding out sponsors that don’t align with your vision. It’s not worth copy-and-pasting the same event proposal to an excessively wide net of companies that aren’t a good match. For example, while Pepsi’s great for football, a healthcare group like Kaiser Permanente is probably better equipped to sponsor an event for endocrinologists.

You can use online resources for help finding well-matched sponsors. LinkedIn and other social media platforms can be a helpful starting place, as are tools like SponsorMyEvent and SponsorPitch, which match brands that seem like good fits.

Pitching your package to sponsors

Once you know who to approach for your package, you can either send potential event sponsors a written proposal or pitch it verbally — in person or on a call.

Regardless, here’s your game plan for how you’ll do it:

Know your target companies

In addition to knowing their events inside and out, organizers also need to discover everything they can about potential sponsors before pitching them.

For instance, if you know a company’s marketing objectives, you’ll be able to convey how a sponsorship package can fulfill them. Of course, it helps if you can measurably prove whether these objectives are met once the event’s over. That’s one of many reasons why you should consider using a modern events platform like Webex Events, which has a data dashboard full of event metrics analytics that are valuable to sponsors — like platform logins, social interactions, and more.

event metrics analytics 

Demonstrate value

When pitching your package to sponsors, mind your audience. Attendees want to know why an event will be fun, interesting, or instructive. But sponsors need to know how it’ll add value.

Regardless of what kind of ROI a potential sponsor wants — be it finding new leads, speaking at the event, or accessing attendee data — the best pitches will walk them through exactly what brands have to gain by partnering up.

The more specific you can get, the better. For example, you may anticipate that out of 500 people you expect to attend an event, 10% percent will get converted into customers and that the lifetime value of each customer is $500. That means the sponsor can expect to make around $25,000 for an event. That’s great value if they’re only asked to put up, say, half that amount in funding.

Also, if you know potential sponsors will be more concerned with visibility, you should make sure to choose an events management platform with audience engagement tools that boost their opportunities to interact with attendees throughout the event.

audience engagement tools

Get testimonials from past sponsors

Potential sponsors don’t want to be guinea pigs. If you can get past sponsors to vouch that past packages were good investments, other companies will be more likely to partner up. It may even be worth compiling case studies of your biggest success stories. TED did this with Rolex, which helped the company secure sponsors for future events.

Event sponsorship levels: What you need to know

Events can have dozens, sometimes even hundreds, of sponsors. But they don’t all have to be involved in the same way. To account for disparate needs, organizers have two approaches.

One common method is the tiered model, where sponsors pick one option out of a sliding scale of levels (often platinum, gold, silver, and bronze). Higher levels get more access and better promotional opportunities, which organizers should communicate with potential sponsors as they’re putting together the event.

On the other hand, the a la carte option gives sponsors more flexibility in how they can customize their package, which is generally a better option for sponsors with specific goals that the tiered options may not be able to accommodate.

Pros of a tiered approach

  • Creates exclusivity
  • Provides a clear distinction between packages and pricing
  • Can reach a wider range of sponsors

Pros of an a la carte approach

  • Better tailored to individual sponsors
  • Easier to track ROI
  • Better for online promotion

For more information about which approach is better for you, check out Webex Events’ Event Revenue and Sponsorship ROI webinar.

5 Tips for a knockout events sponsorship package

Now that you know how to put an event sponsorship package together, here’s how to make it stand out:

1. Price your package thoughtfully

One of the trickiest components of event planning is pricing a sponsorship package. To give a good quote, you should consider your audience’s size, what sponsorship opportunities you’re offering, and then research comparable market rates.

But most importantly, you need to ensure the price tag is commensurate with the value your sponsor is getting out of the partnership. Companies will be more willing to sponsor you if you’re promising tangible business solutions and visibility, and not just expecting them to sign a check.

2. Nurture meaningful interactions between sponsors and attendees

Sponsors want to engage with event attendees as much as possible, in the hopes that they (or others in their orbit) become future customers. To that end, speeches and branded fliers can be helpful, but the best sponsorship packages facilitate actual conversations.

In-person, this can take the form of sponsored booths where attendees can get one-on-one time with a brand representative and test out a sponsored product (like a VR headset from Oculus). Or maybe a thought leader from a sponsor monitors a Q&A session after a keynote speech.

With the right events management tool, virtual and hybrid events are just as big on sponsorship opportunities that lead to these kinds of interactions. Look for one that enables you to designate video breakout rooms for sponsors that they can use for meet-and-greets, office hours, and other curated experiences.

But standout virtual sponsorship packages take it even further. For example, Business Rules for Women used Webex Events’ app to give an event’s attendees access to sponsored vendors, who gave live demos of their products. The event management platform also has a Sponsor Showcase feature as well as the ability to incorporate sponsored branding into banners, icons, and push notifications to boost visibility.

3. Swag is your friend — so long as it’s useful

Who doesn’t love free stuff? Incorporating branded swag into the event is the hallmark of any sponsorship package. But only the well-thought-out offerings are memorable.

Tons of events print a sponsor’s logo on pens and T-shirts, which could be great for the right audience. But the best swag is usually stuff that attendees likely don’t have but could use. Think phone accessories like portable chargers and PopSockets, or water bottles and laptop sleeves.

It also helps if the swag is on-brand and on-message — say a mini bottle of lotion from a beauty company during a wellness convention — and if the logo placement is less in-your-face.

Keep in mind that you can still incorporate merch into virtual events. Consider mailing out sponsored swag boxes to attendees’ homes pre-event. Or maybe send out ring lights, microphones, or other goodies that will help people engage with an event from their computers.

4. Create a sleek event website

Regardless of whether it’s virtual, in-person, or hybrid, your event should have a well-designed web page that lists sponsors. It’s a vital way to ensure attendees know who sponsors are and how to get in touch with them.

This is another good reason to mention the features of your events management platform in your sponsorship package. If you’re using Webex Events, for instance, you can mention the awesome sponsor profiles that link out to external brand websites, display sponsor contact information, enable document attachments, and even include customizable call-to-action buttons like “request a follow-up” or “schedule a meeting” to help boost engagement.

sponsor profiles

5. Gamify engagement

Speaking of event engagement — including an event gamification app is one of the most impactful ways to spruce up a sponsorship package. Giveaways, prizes, and contests are all fun ways to get attendees to interact with sponsors. And with modern event technology, they work just as well online as they do in-person. For example, sponsors can host trivia, scavenger hunts, or even reward attendees who visit their company website.

event gamification app

5 Compelling sponsorship ideas for your upcoming event package

You may now be craving some examples of what an impactful event sponsorship opportunity looks like in real life. Here’s a good sampling of some assets that can be sponsored during an event.

1. Art installations

Sponsored art exhibits are great for music festivals, concerts, or other large in-person events. If you’re holding a virtual event, brands can still sponsor any digital photography, videos, or other experiences you host during your event.

2. Entertainment

We mentioned the Pepsi halftime show earlier. If event organizers can corral a comedian, musician, or another big-name entertainer as part of a sponsorship package, they’ll be sure to thrill attendees and potential sponsors alike.

3. Food

Some sponsors print their brand logos on cookies, cupcakes, and other treats. Others commission company-inspired cocktails, mailing virtual attendees ingredients and showing them how to make it during a video call.  Some sponsors are restaurants themselves, and hand goodie bags with bites to attendees on their way in or out. Regardless of how it’s done, feeding attendees for free is always an added bonus.

4. Lounges

Events can be tiring. Attendees may want a beat to sit down and recharge. If you’re using the tiered approach, maybe higher sponsorship levels can come with designated lounge areas where in-person attendees can have a moment to themselves while sampling a sponsor’s product.

You can also host VIP lounges virtually. For example, a sponsor can hire a thought leader to help host an intimate networking event via a private video breakout room.

5. Workout sessions

Whether expo attendees are walking around a convention center all day or virtual event-goers have been slouching away at their desks, wellness breaks are key. Short, guided fitness and stretching sessions work well as part of sponsorship packages for any event. These sessions also offer an opportunity for sponsors to brand yoga mats, TRX bands, and other fitness equipment. People who sign up for these sessions ahead of time are very likely to be potential customers for your sponsor.

Designing the perfect event sponsorship package with Webex Events

Regardless of how stunning a picture you can paint of an event, sponsors will only value a partnership package if they’re getting ROI.

The thing is, ROI is tough to measure when it’s not a strict dollar amount. And sponsors want proof that they’re getting value in exchange for their support — whether it’s lead generation, more visibility, messaging opportunities, or whatever other perks they’re paying for.

That’s where Webex Events comes in. It’s an end-to-end virtual event platform flush with attendee engagement metrics and sponsor insights, giving you all the data you need to show the value of your sponsorship package.

virtual event platform

Events only thrive when organizers, sponsors, and attendees all come away from them with something valuable. Webex Events is best-in-class at showing that value.

Want to see for yourself? We’d love to give you a custom demo and show you Webex Events in action — just reach out here.

Lisa Vogel
Lisa Vogel

Lisa has been in the event marketing field for over 16 years and is the Sr. Field Marketing Manager at Webex Events (formerly Socio). She is passionate about producing events that create engaging, unique and inclusive experiences.