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How to value sponsorships in virtual events.

Many traditional avenues to highlight and value sponsorships are just not possible when organizing virtual events.

As you guessed, the main subject of this article is about how to value sponsorships in virtual events. Anything related to on-site visibility and proximity interaction with participants and visitors is out of reach for now. But rest assured that innovation and creativity will open-up a wide range of new possibilities and opportunities for you to team-up with Sponsors.

Furthermore, sponsors fully understand how their way of doing things does not apply anymore. Admittedly, they too are faced with new challenges and will most certainly appreciate solutions to better help them reach their target audience. Prior to contacting them, you should reconsider your approach. Your presentation and solicitation process must be revisited to reflect the new reality.

So, no need to fear their reaction. Simply be flexible and explore possibilities with them to provide a maximum of impact and interaction. Before offering new solutions, you might want to better understand what it is they are looking for and trying to achieve in sponsoring your event.

They will appreciate that you do not offer a one size fits all approach and that you seek to understand their perspective on how to best align their objectives with your solutions. It’s not a matter of salesmanship as much as expressing a certain level of empathy for their preoccupations, challenges and even their uncertainty in such disruptive times.

Once they are onboard with supporting your event, you can then wow and charm them with your new and improved sponsorship packages. Your primary objective is to clearly demonstrate how they will benefit from more visibility, interaction and top of mind awareness from participants.

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To ensure maximum success, you must make it clear that you expect more than a financial contribution, you also want them to be involved in promoting and endorsing your event. By fully leveraging their brand, they make a great contribution to your event while reaping the benefits of heightened awareness from participants and the community.

In fact, you can be as creative as you want in offering online options and packages. Here are a few examples to illustrate options and possibilities :

  • Branding – is how and where you will display their logo and company name in your emails, newsletter, web assets, social media platforms, physical goods such as T-shirt or race certificate and so on. Of course, you could also include logos on your packaging and your sponsors name in your delivery and follow-up processes.

  • Interaction – most anything can be done in view of getting their brand in front of your audience. You could include it into your reporting or running of the actual event by mentioning their brand, making a special offer on their behalf, or highlighting some interesting and pertinent information about them. Think in terms of organizing a contest, running a survey or a quizz, launching an entertaining campaign or sharing trivial or fun content participants will appreciate and share.

  • Engagement – relates to how their sponsorship is making a difference for your cause, its beneficiaries and even the community at large. Highlighting what they do, their level of commitment and its impact will go a long way in positioning their brand in front of your audience.

  • Experience – providing a unique experience is one of the most powerful ways you can connect your sponsor with your audience. Find ways to captivate participants with a special activity related to the sponsorship, something that could be integrated into the event itself or offered as a bonus.

  • Advertising – instead of displaying traditional ads, you could integrate their brand in your communications. As an example, the brand would be better positioned in the mind of participants if its commitment to your cause were weaved in your story telling of the event. Being mentioned in that way would make it more memorable than just displaying the logo in your newsletter.

  • Visibility – your website provides ample opportunities to display your sponsors. You could showcase important sponsors in a dedicated page or section instead of having all of them displayed everywhere. There are no set rules as to how you can promote and value sponsors, but explaining why their contribution is unique and relevant is certainly a good start.

  • Momentum – how about initiating a conversation between your sponsors and your participants. It could start before the event, in real time during the event and a continue after the event to solidify brand recognition. Of course, sponsors could make a special offer or find a way to continue fundraising activities for the cause via their network long after the event.

  • Reporting – providing them with an after-event activity and evaluation report will make it so much easier to maintain a long term relationship with them. It is very difficult for them to fully assess how their contribution made a difference and what ROI they can expect. Looking from the inside, you can share valuable information and insights they can use with other types of sponsorships.

As you can see, there are a number of avenues you can explore to increase sponsorship revenue.

Your primary objective is to clearly demonstrate how and why your event will become a formidable opportunity for them to connect with your audience and support your cause.

In the end, the notion of sponsorship is rarely a question of money per say… but almost always a question of perceived value. You can provide a different outlook on sponsorship by moving away from the traditional increased visibility approach to that of orchestrating a series of interactive activities with your audience that are much more valuable and rewarding for everyone.

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