It’s an undeniable truth: sponsors make your conference possible. They underwrite the key speaker, they pay for printing and meals, or they provide the cool giveaways for attendees (things that the registration fees alone won’t cover). Sponsors write the checks, big and little, that pay for the events and the workshops and a lot of everything else. Here are a few quick and easy things you can do to keep your sponsors happy:
Find out what the sponsor objectives and goals are.
Face it, no one is going to sponsor your conference out of pure altruism. Your sponsors have a goal, they have an objective. Maybe they just want the recognition as a sponsor. Maybe there’s a new product or service they are trying to promote. Whatever the goal may be, it’s a good idea to know what that is in advance. If you help the sponsor meet that goal you have a better chance of getting sponsored again.
Fulfill your promises.
Did you agree to place their logos on all printed materials? Double-check the proofs before printing.
Did you agree to name an event after them? You will actually have to name an event after them.
Did you tell them you would thank them in the keynote event? Make sure you’ve included the thank you in the script.
Promises were made. Promises must be filled. No exceptions.
Identify what their message and hashtags are.
There may be a tagline or message that the sponsor is trying to promote. Learn it and identify how you’re going to incorporate it into the conference materials.
If your sponsors are using conference-specific hashtags as part of their participation, you may need to incorporate them into your printed materials and other promotional items (banners, signage, programs). Then incorporate those hashtags as part of your conference messaging on social media (photos, Twitter updates, etc.). And be consistent about it.
Encourage all your volunteers to help the brands meet their goals.
Volunteers should all be encouraged to help support the sponsors get their messages out. Ask your volunteers to visit all the exhibit booths and send out photos and messages using the appropriate hashtags. If sponsor goal is to get people to test drive/try a new product/enter a contest, volunteers should help them meet that goal using their own networks.
Assign someone to each sponsor in advance.
Things get crazy during the conference, especially if you’re organizing it. Your sponsors are going to need things, have some questions answered, or just need reassurance that what they’re expecting to happen will happen. You are going to be busy. Someone is going to need to be available to smooth things for the sponsors. Assign someone, in advance, Introduce them. Give the sponsors contact information for their assigned conference coordinator. Make sure the coordinator is empowered to handle most issues that may come up for sponsors. And that they can contact you for those items they can’t resolve themselves.
Be grateful. (No explanation needed.)
And many more! These are just a few of the ways you can strive to keep your sponsors happy. But it’s just a beginning.
Do you have a suggestion on how to keep your sponsors happy?
— Written by: Sandra Fernandez
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