• Create an attendee list, if
appropriate, for follow-up
• Purchase your book for participants, including a customized
imprint or label recognizing it as
a gift from the sponsor.
• Prepare media pitches. Unless
paid media advertising is part
of the plan, always be sure to
use the expression, “media
pitches.” You cannot guarantee
media exposure. All sponsors
love media attention, so media
interviews are often a big part
of the sponsorship process. Be
sure you are media friendly and
understand how to give effective print and electronic media
interviews. And remember that
the media exposure is primarily
designed to give attention to
the sponsor, although you can’t
help but receive great media
coverage in the process.
The Path to Sponsorship
Essentially, sponsorship happens
in one of two ways: direct and
indirect. Direct sponsorship is
when you go directly to a company and request sponsorship.
Rosemarie Rossetti, PhD, for
example, speaks about the importance of having disability income
insurance. Dr. Rossetti worked
directly with an insurance company to sponsor her presentations
to agents that sold the insurance
Indirect sponsorship is when you
suggest to a client that he go to a
company and request sponsorship.
This is very helpful when an organization wants to bring you in but
can’t afford you. Help it find the
funds! I have found the indirect
approach helpful (by having the
client work with the sponsor) when
sponsors say they can only give
grants to non-profit groups. My
company is a for-profit entity, so I
could not apply directly. However,
I could suggest to a non-profit
group that they apply.
Regardless of which approach
you plan to use, the key to finding
a sponsor is to ask yourself a simple question: Who wants exposure
to your audiences? Think about
organizations that want to be in
front of your participants. For
example, if you speak to people
interested in wellness and fitness,
then vitamin, nutrition bar and
exercise equipment companies
might be potential sponsors.
Nancy Michaels’ target audience
is the small-business owner, and
office supply companies are among
her sponsors. Jacqueline Whit-more targets those who want or
need to improve their cell phone
skills. A national cell phone company sponsors Whitmore’s cell
phone and business etiquette programs for their customers. Rick
Metzger, CSP, speaks to the youth
market. Sports drink companies
have sponsored his programs.
A great way to find out who wants
exposure to your audiences is to walk
the exhibit hall the next time you are
speaking at an event. The exhibitors
you see have paid for exposure and
invested serious dollars to get in front
of the people attending that meeting.
Visit them during quiet times and
explore the fit. If you’re serious about
finding a sponsor, attend a conference or trade show regardless of
whether you’re speaking and network with the vendors.
Making the pitch means being
prepared. When you get your
golden opportunity to meet with
a potential sponsor, it is not the
time to brainstorm what you
would like to do. When you walk
in the door or have the decision
maker on the phone, be prepared
to pitch the benefits of sponsorship. (Which are exposure, exposure and more exposure to the
sponsor’s target market.)
Develop a written proposal and
customize it to the sponsor’s needs.
Of course you’ll need to include
information on your program, but
remember that you’re not trying to
convince someone to attend the
program or to hire you; you’re convincing the sponsor that your program will attract the target audience
that it wants exposure to.
Everyone wins with sponsorship:
the client, the sponsor and you.
Do your homework now, and you
can turn almost any prospect’s call
into a triple dream come true.
Edward Leigh, MA, works with
organizations that want to create
positive workplace and learning
environments to energize people
can be reached