You know the feeling when you pull out a winter coat that’s been in the closet for the better part of a year, reach in the pocket, and find a crisp $20 bill? It’s one of the best feelings on earth. “Free money” as I like to call it. Mentally, you had long said goodbye to this money. You never would have even known it was there. But sure enough it was…just waiting for you. All you had to do was find it!
There’s a similar concept in sponsorships. And as part of our consulting work here at SilverCrate, we tend find a lot of “free money” on behalf of our clients. In fact, one of the first things we do when we start consulting with an event is to check all the pockets to see where this money might be hiding.
So, where do you find money hiding in sponsorships? All sorts of places!
[New to sponsorships? Be sure to check out our free eBook How to Find Event Sponsors: 6 Steps for Securing Massive Event Sponsors today!]
For example, this past weekend we just finished up work with the Show of Hands event in Chicago. This bi-annual artisan market features over 100 local artists and makers selling everything from homemade candles and scarves, to one-of-a-kind stationary and home décor. I even saw a homemade statue of Ruth Bader Ginsburg…literally, this place has everything!
But like all events, it’s not “for everyone”. In fact, the event producers have done a wonderful job of identifying the core audience: 25-44 hip, affluent, urban-dwelling females. When we looked around the event at any given time, this is primarily who we saw. And as such, this is primarily who we found sponsors for. Artisanal coffee manufacturers, local brewers, car shares, hair salons, gyms, and more all came on board to reach these women.
But there was some additional money hiding within this event…with the vendors!
That’s right, while the main focus was on the 8,000 women attending the event, there was a secondary market just waiting to be explored. With over 100 vendors at the show working all weekend long, we were able to build out some additional sponsorship opportunities to connect directly with this audience: a group of hard-working local small business owners.
Show of Hands Chicago
Can think of a few businesses and brands that might want to connect with local small businesses? We could, and we did. We found insurance agents, commercial banks, financial services, small business software providers and more, and had them sponsor things like the Vendor Lounge, the wi-fi, morning vendor breakfasts and so much more.
This created thousands of dollars in additional sponsor revenue that had never been explored. Yet it was literally sitting right there all along. All we had to do was reach into the pocket of the event and find it!
[Want to know how we secured these sponsors? Be sure to check out our most popular online course: How to Write a Sponsorship Proposal That Earns]
We had a similar experience with another client earlier this summer. Working on the Great American Lobster Fest series, which is a 3-day food festival that runs in Chicago, Detroit, and Omaha, we found over $10,000 in “free money” by looking once again at the vendors.
Great American Lobster Fest
Each event had a selection of local food trucks and restaurant owners represented. Can you think of some companies that would like to connect with these types of people? Of course! We found local restaurant supply shops, small business marketing firms, insurance companies and more, and had them sponsor the vendor hand washing stations and vendor break area.
And just like that, we had over $10,000 in free money!
Now in both these examples, it’s important to note that it really was free money being found, because we didn’t need to do expensive build outs or add expensive sponsor assets. At Show of Hands, we were always going to have Vendor Wi-Fi and a Vendor Lounge. And at the Great American Lobster Fest, we were of course going to have hand washing stations and a break space. These items were happening no matter what. We didn’t add a single new thing. All we did was find a group of sponsors interested in connecting with these secondary markets and convince them to invest in the opportunity to do so.
So, how can you get started with finding free money within your own events? Follow these easy steps:
Think about your core audience - who makes up the bulk of your attendees?
Now, think about every single face at your event that’s NOT in this market:
List companies that you think would be interested in reaching these secondary audiences
List areas and ways you could connect these companies with your secondary audiences:
Volunteer Email Chains
Write your proposal and start your outreach!
[Looking for help with writing your proposal and identifying your leads? Be sure to check out The Turnkey Sponsorship Toolkit, the only complete sponsorship program toolkit.]
That’s it! Follow these 5 steps, and you’ll be on your way to finding lots of free money that’s just sitting there, waiting to be found. All you have to do is reach down into that pocket and grab it!