Sponsors are a critical ( but optional ) component of a SQLSaturday.
It is one of the first pieces that needs to be put together. A good way to start is to look at previous events sponsor plan.
Companies (both local and national) that make good sponsors:
- Ask your user's group to ask their companies to become a sponsor.
Don't be afraid to cold call any of these companies and ask them to sponsor your event. You can also send the company a copy of your Building a Sponsor Plan
Understand the event location and all logistics before outlining the sponsor benefits. Include the geographical demographics as you lay out the sponsor document. eg... Major metros will probably attract more sponsors and higher levels of sponsorship than smaller cities.
Your sponsor plan
should outline the following....
1. Explain what the event is all about
2. Who are the audience for it
3. Where the event is held
4. Contact Info ( with at least 2 direct numbers to the sponsor co-ordinator/s )
5. Sponsorship Levels
6. Detailed outline of benefits down to the nitty gritty details. ( Don't be vague )
7. Make sure that the sponsors are getting true value out of sponsoring SS.
Also, think about Anti-spam laws when you outline benefits. For example, don't promise a registration list unless you think through it and work it out with PASS
Encourage sponsors to have Raffle
every 2-3 hours.
Line up the sponsors so people who enter the facility don't miss out on them ( read as HIGH TRAFFIC AREA).
Ideas... keep breakfast and drinks close to sponsors. Another idea is the SQL Bingo card where every attendee gets a stamp or punch from a sponsor.
Maintain an Excel spreadsheet with the following information and follow up weekly on it:
- Sponsor Name
- Last Contacted
- Who contacted
- Who was contacted
- Action item
- When to next contact
- Paid/Not Paid
Also, don't forget that your vendors could also be sponsors. They might be able to offset some costs in exchange of logos and some marketing of their brand.
Have another person coordinate all sponsor benefits and actions items after the commit to sponsorship (paid at this point).
Things to watch out for..
1. Logos of sponsors in the right format, in the right size , for the right material.
2. Size of logos based on sponsorship levels in the mktg materials.
Make sure the sponsor coordinators setup tables, power extensions etc the night before. Have extras on hand just in case the day of.
The sponsor coordinator should dedicated for sponsor only on the day of the event. They should arrive at the venue early along with the sponsors for setup ( ideally be there to meet and greet sponsors ).
Expect setup time to be 1 hour prior to the registration start time.
WOW the sponsors
Find out ways to wow your sponsors. Hold on to a simple benefit and give it to all sponsors as a last minute thing. It also helps in situations where some promised benefit goes wrong and serves as a nice backup plan.
Make sure the Event leader
and the sponsor coordinator meets every sponsor and thanks them during the event.
Thank them during the opening and closing ( as applicable ).
- Make sure that sponsors DO NOT share contact list amongst each other. This might be relevant when 2 companies that sponsor SQLSaturday are partners and one comes in at a higher level of sponsorship than the other. Or they feel they might divide and conquer.
- Try hard not to treat a sponsor in a special manner. This sets up inequality situations that can get nasty during or after the event.
- Try hard not to turn down any sponsor. Work them to make sure the benefits meets their needs.
Striking the fine balance between 2 and 3 above is hard but a necessary step.
A sponsorship plan is available http://www.sqlsaturday.com/92/sponsorplan.aspx