Virtual events are necessary but hard. From the initial concept to sponsorship level ideas, getting people excited by yet another “online” meeting, event, or happening is exhausting these days.
Enticing them to buy tickets feels like pulling teeth.
And forget the sponsorships!
Those are next to impossible, right? Or are they?
If you’re still getting attendees, sponsorships shouldn’t be that difficult. You just need to catch sponsors’ attention and show them the return on investment. One way to do this is to bring the fun to sponsorships.
How to Bring the Fun to Event Sponsorship Levels & Benefits
There are several ways to delight your way unto sponsors’ hearts. You can:
- give them something fun to sponsor. A fun event, fun theme, or fun service works wonders for getting people excited about giving the chamber money.
- make sure they get more than a return on investment from it. There’s a lot of competition for money these days. Concentrate on what you can do to ensure it’s more than an investment; it’s an enjoyable experience.
- solicit them in a fun way. Sending an email or calling them to open their wallet isn’t fun for either of you. Instead, think of a creative way to get their attention. For instance, if you want them to sponsor something for your holiday-themed event, dress up like an elf, a present, or Cindy Lou Who to get their attention when you enter their office. If you can’t visit in person, set up a virtual meeting/call and come in character without telling them first. It also makes them realize this is not going to be an ordinary event. You are surprising and delighting them with something extraordinary.
- share the excitement behind the event. If it’s one of your big signature events, interview people or share with your potential sponsor how many people are looking forward to this. People want to be a part of something big and exciting. They want to know people will talk about it and remember it. Share with them your plans for making a big impression.
Another way to make sure they understand this is going to be an amazing event is in the way you describe the sponsorship opportunities.
The most obvious way to make them stand out is to name the sponsorship something memorable. Sure, gold, platinum, and silver are fine but they don’t do anything to set your event apart.
Here are a few ways to help you come up with some creative sponsorship level name ideas for your virtual events.
Use a Theme
If your event has a theme, incorporate your sponsorships into that theme. For instance, a Valentine’s Day-themed networking event may use popular love terms such as:
- The Honey Baby Sponsorship
- The Yes, Dear Sponsorship
- The My Boo/Bae Sponsorship
Tie the Name into the Type of Event
Another way to make a sponsorship name more appealing is by tying it into the type of event it is. For instance, an awards ceremony might use names like:
- The Blue Ribbon Sponsor
- The Golden Statue Sponsor
- The Best Ever Sponsor (Who doesn’t want to be the “Best Ever”?)
Name the Sponsorship After the Goal
Businesses often choose sponsorships based on what they’re hoping to receive from the event. Each business’ goal may be different. Some businesses want more customers, some want to make a positive impression on the community, while others are looking for an introduction to the community because they are new.
You could choose to name the sponsorship after what it accomplishes such as:
- The Brand Builder
- The Community Supporter
- The Networker
You can choose to make these names public or use them only with potential sponsors themselves. It’s a quick way to communicate what they are getting out of the sponsorship.
Tie the Sponsorship into Your Community
Is your community known for something or does it have several historic events that took place there? You can tie sponsorship into those names just be careful not to use anything that is trademarked.
For instance, my town used to be known for its sponge harvests. Our high school mascot is The Sponger (named the 29th best mascot in Florida).
Events in town could use tie-ins like:
- The Golden Sponge Level
- The Platinum Sponge Level
- The Diamond Sponge Level.
This idea depends largely on your audience. If you have very serious business professionals who absolutely hate the idea of cracking a smile, this is probably not the direction to take.
If, however, you have a fun-loving group, consider calling out the elephant in the room in a virtual event with these sponsorship level names:
- I’m Not Wearing Pants Level
- You’re Not Muted Level
- The Refuses to Be Part of Another Boring Event Level.
It’s intriguing, fun, and a conversation starter.
In addition to the way you name your sponsorships, you should also give some thought as to how you can make them fun and memorable. Frankly, businesses are tired of sponsoring some of the same old spots. Give them some new ideas and get them excited about supporting you.
Creative Virtual Sponsorships
- entertainment. Your virtual event doesn’t have to be all business. Throw in some unique entertainment through a sponsorship such as a local band (they could probably use the work considering so many bars were/are closed due to COVID), a ventriloquist, or someone who specializes in pet tricks. It may sound corny but it will set your virtual event apart.
- games. From icebreakers to scavenger hunts, fast finger games to trivia, there are tons of ways to entertain guests and sponsors that can be very economical. Being a game sponsor can be appealing too because it brings a type of levity and good feelings that everyone wants to be associated with.
- food. The reality of this undertaking depends on how large your area is but food delivery or swag bags are becoming very popular, fun additions to virtual events. With a sponsor, you could ensure all attendees can dine, snack, or drink “together” virtually. You can have someone deliver the food as well as someone sponsor the cost of the food. This can also work for sponsored gifts. Advise everyone to be on the lookout for a fun surprise on their doorstep so you needn’t worry about contact.
- printed program, invitation, or agenda. Now that many of us are home to receive mail, it can be quite a thrill to get something. It also helps your event stand out from other virtual events.
- branded breakout tables. There’s some software out there (Zoom and others) that allows you to break off into smaller groups or tables. You may be able to brand them for your sponsors.
- virtual swag bags. If your viewing area is large and delivering swag bags is not cost-effective, even with a sponsor, consider delivering a virtual swag bag with special offers and coupons.
One of the best ways to get more sponsors for your virtual events is to consider creative and fun options. These include naming rights and what they’re sponsoring. There is nothing in your by-laws that requires you to use the precious metals or gems levels for sponsorships. Try something new and you might just see a surge of interest in sponsorships.
Virtual meetings and events can be taxing and tiring and you’re not the only one doing them (or asking for sponsors).
Right now, there’s a lot of boring, non-creative sponsorship levels out there. You don’t have to stress to be the absolute perfect, just be a bit more unique, a bit more you and your community and you’ll stand out as one of the few doing them well.