Sponsorships are the best way to get your college event off the ground, while also providing students the opportunity to engage with their favorite brands. However, it's important for you to give your sponsorships their due diligence if the event is going to be successful. Organization and careful planning are key to providing an exceptional experience for your sponsors and event attendees. Below are 13 tips to help you optimize your event sponsorships once you've secured them.
1. Plan your event far enough in advance to attract sponsors.
We recommend a minimum of 3-4 months before the event date. Most sponsors are planning 3-4 months in advance, and some consumer packaged good companies even plan 6-12 months in advance.
2. Have a clear idea of what sponsors can do at your event.
Can they have an on-site tent at the event? Can they serve food or beverage? Can they collect emails? Sponsors will undoubtedly ask these questions, and you should be prepared with responses.
3. Have a clear idea of what you want to charge a brand to be at your event and what on-site spaces are available.
We know from doing hundreds of college event sponsorships that 95% of the time, brands want to be there to have 1:1 interaction with students. Know what on-site space is available and what you would charge for the standard space sizes - 10ft x 10ft (for example), food trucks, mobile pop-up trailers, etc.
4. Know what your process is once a sponsor is ready to commit.
Do you need a contract, certificate of insurance, health permits, etc.? Have everything lined up in advance so there are no discrepancies when it comes to getting the required paperwork.
5. Be timely in responding to a sponsor’s questions.
We see it more times than you think - a brand sends a sponsorship offer to an event or contacts them wanting to sponsor, and nobody responds. Clear and consistent communication means you keep your sponsors happy and ensures a great event for everyone involved.
6. Have a tentative layout of your event before you start to solicit sponsors.
This lets sponsors know where they may be placed if they are on-site in comparison to other activities.Place them where there is constant foot traffic and not just near an entrance. Most of the time, students are rushing in and sponsors don’t get constant engagement throughout the event.
7. Have a deadline for sponsors to commit to your event and communicate this from the beginning.
Ensure that your sponsorship commitment date leaves you sufficient time to complete paperwork or any other requirements. Rushing and overlooking details will not reflect well on your event or organization.
8. Have pictures or video of the event and past sponsorships.
Showing is better than telling. You can communicate the sponsorship/attendee perspective much easier visually than verbally. Consider creating a sponsorship sizzle reel, and make sure to take great photos for following years.
9. Provide a very clear description of your event.
Brands may not understand what every college event is like, especially if it’s a unique event like University of Arlington’s Bed Races. You’re much more likely to get a yes from potential sponsors if they understand what the event is and how it can help them reach students.
10. List previous sponsors and document testimonials.
Brands are more likely to commit to an event that has a history of successful partnerships with sponsors. Providing names and testimonials from previous sponsors lends credibility to your organization.
11. Know what each brand’s goals are for their sponsorship.
Determine ways you can go above and beyond for a sponsor. If they want a 10x10 space at your event to pass out samples, include social media posts or email blasts so attendees know about it. This shows the brand you value the relationship and are aligned on supporting their goals.
12. Make sure your event is published on the Recess platform.
Brands can’t discover events that are saved as drafts.
13. Answer as many questions as possible about your event on the Recess platform.
Nobody wants to work with a company that only does the bare minimum. Taking the time to diligently answer each question shows your professionalism and commitment.