The Goldilocks Event Sponsor: Creating a Partnership That Is Juuuuuust Right

Categories: Association Leadership, Association Marketing Strategy, Association Operations, Chambers of Commerce, Non-Dues Revenue


We’re still on cloud nine over the 2017 WebLink Summit, and that’s partly due to the wonderful sponsors that joined us this year.  As we searched for those opportunities, it was important to us to bring in groups who could provide innovative solutions for your associations – on TOP of what you already receive by using WebLink Connect™.  And wow, did we see some fantastic conversations you all were having – PLUS they were a ton of fun!

As you approach your next event, consider the following approach for adding sponsors to the big day in a meaningful, value-driven way.

Make it make sense for everyone.

A sponsorship should make sense for you, the sponsor, and your attendees. Of course, any sponsorship means additional non-dues revenue for your association, so go ahead and check that box for yourself. However, it’s very important to consider the value your sponsor gets from using their time and resources to be at your event, as well as the value your attendees get by being connected with the sponsor. As you start researching opportunities, be sure you can clearly identify where the link is for all parties…and if it’s not there for one or more, is it worth moving forward?

Think outside the sponsorship box.

Sure, there are some standard things you’ll offer a sponsor – logo placement, an advertisement in your agenda, booth space, etc. But how can you go above and beyond for the sponsors that are willing to invest more in you? How else can you tie their product or service into the event?

For example – let’s say you’re a chamber of commerce, and a local restaurant wants spend a hefty amount to sponsor, with the goal of encouraging your member organizations to host luncheons at their location. Awesome! After you’ve considered all the standard assets, think about ways to help them stand out. What if they had a cooking demonstration at their booth? Or provided snacks one day? Or took groups of attendees on a tour of their restaurant? The ideas just keep coming! Don’t be afraid to try something different.

So, what happens next?

Everyone came to your event, sponsors and attendees had a great time, they learned from each other, possibly exchanged a few business cards…and then what? While it’s not your responsibility to necessarily follow up on every connection that was made, try to help keep the lines of communication open. Make sure attendees (and even members who were unable to attend) still have access to your sponsors for some time following the event.

You could give them some additional exposure on your website, keep up with their social media channels so you can share their news, and suggest their product or service as it makes sense in your everyday conversations with members. If you’ve successfully introduced relationships makes sense for everyone, and gave sponsors creative ways to stand out, keeping those conversations alive should be a breeze!


Want more on sponsorship? Download our FREE infographic: 15 Common Mistakes Associations Make Selling Sponsorship (and Their Fixes).

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