Recruiting sponsors for Business After Hours events seems to be much the same story. You get amazing sponsors by hosting well-attended chamber events or you get well-attended events by having amazing sponsors host.
A member of the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook asked:
Any hints on making members more interested in hosting an After Hours mixer?
It’s easy to get sponsors if your events are already well-attended but what if they’re not?
For Sponsors, the First Word is Business
The sponsor wants one thing. More business.
Assuming they have to pay a sponsorship fee and pay for food, for them to see a return on investment they’ll need some significant business from the event.
What can you do to ensure they get some future business out of the event?
- Help them market. Feature them on all of your social media channels.
- If you use Pinterest, use their map feature to map out the locations of all of your past BAH sponsors.
- Don’t just take pictures of the event, take pictures of the food. Use descriptive words about the ambiance of the location (if appropriate).
- After the event, post about a dinner you had there or takeout you purchased.
- See if they’re willing to offer a special on dinners that night (in case people decide to stay after the mixer) or at a later date.
- Recruit people to attend the mixer. It not only helps the chamber, your sponsor will appreciate it as well.
- Thank the sponsor publically over and over. Others will see this and want the same attention.
- Promote them on your website when mentioning the event. Highlight their signature dish in a funny or memorable way. It will refresh previous customers’ memories and get potential new ones thinking about it. For instance, “This month’s BAH event will be held at Ruby’s, home of the mouth-watering Double-Decker Club. Mmmm bacon.”
- Mention them in your newsletter as well and ask members to tell them “the chamber sent me.”
- If the sponsor has catering or takeout, make menus available at the door or in the event.
In addition to marketing the sponsors you have, doing the following will help you get more chamber event sponsors:
- Provide testimonials from other sponsors so potential sponsors can see the advantage to their business.
- Make an announcement at events asking for sponsors. Use a sense of urgency. “These spots fill up fast so…”
- Treat your current sponsors so well and be so publically appreciative that others will see your actions and want to be a part of it as well.
Recruiting sponsors becomes easier once you have well-attended events so concentrating your efforts in recruiting for these will pay off in the long run.
How do you recruit sponsors?
Guest post by Christina Green
Image via Flickr by Thomas Vlerick