Here’s why your sponsorship proposal failed

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So, you’ve spent the past week curating what you and your team believe is the ‘perfect’ sponsorship proposal – but when you submit it to prospective sponsors, you hear nothing?

This is a common dilemma for many sponsorship seekers, as locking in sponsorship deals is highly dependent on how well you can demonstrate the value of sponsoring your event. In Australia and New Zealand alone, your business is competing with approximately 700,000 other charities, associations and events who are also looking for corporate investment and sponsorship. How can you ensure your proposal is in the ‘read’ pile, instead of just being thrown into the rubbish?

It’s time to reevaluate what you’re including and how you are presenting it.

These are the four most common reasons a sponsorship proposal has failed – and how to get a ‘yes’ next time. 

1. You left out the WHY
As sponsors tend to only have a limited amount of time to evaluate the endless lists of proposals that sit on their desk it’s important to cut the ‘fluff’ and begin your sponsorship with the ‘why’. This is the primary reason why your event exists and is what the sponsors want to read before diving into the finer details you’ve included about your event. Make sure you play to your strengths and prove that you understand their business and how exactly your event will benefit them by supporting it. Keeping it short and simple, ideally to be read in less than a minute is the best way to achieve the best results.

2. Your data is unclear
A sponsorship is a business decision, so it’s important to clearly paint the right picture of how your sponsorship prospect will see a return on their investment. The best way to do this is to choose the correct type of format to visualise your event data and tell a compelling story. For example, if you wanted to communicate the average revenue of the companies and organisations your attendees represent, it might be more beneficial to use a pie chart rather than a bar chart, to clearly communicate the purchasing power of your attendees.

By testing different types of data layouts, it allows you to pick the best and most powerful visual that will catch the eye of your sponsorship prospect at one glance. Even consider showing your data to someone unfamiliar to your event to test your assumptions. If it’s clear to them, it will definitely provide some great insights to your sponsors.

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3. Your sponsorship packages aren’t flexible
Times have changed for sponsorship packages. Where it once was the done thing to offer different levels of pre-made packages, now prospective sponsors want to have more choice. Consider offering an ‘à la carte menu’ that allows them to pick and choose assets at their leisure. In doing so, you’re allowing the sponsors to believe that they are in control of their sponsorship deal which is unique and tailored to them, rather than just fitting in a predetermined slot.

However, if you must preset sponsorship packages – try to brand the packages to be less generic and instead, get creative! Depending on the type of event you’re throwing packages can be adapted. An example of this is if your event is a runway show for a fashion company you could name your packages ‘Gucci’, ‘Prada’ and ‘Chanel’. Your potential sponsors will appreciate the thought you put into it and it will capture their attention more than simply ‘Gold’, ‘Silver’ and ‘Bronze’.

4 You forgot the call to action
Not including a call to action is like writing a letter, but then not signing who it was from. This can be confusing and often pointless for the prospective sponsor, as they have no way to follow up on the proposal and ask those relevant and important questions in order to lock in the deal. The best way to ensure your prospective sponsor takes those anticipated next steps is to be explicit about what they should do. Do they need to fill out a form, give you a call or simply email? It’s also important to give them a sense of urgency with a solid deadline. Deadlines create the fear of missing out, encouraging sponsors to be proactive about their response. It’s time to close the deal!

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