Offline Events Shifted To Events Online

Event organizers and nonprofits are missing out on income as well as creating and building relationships with sponsors during quarantine. During a time when people around the world are looking to social media for information and entertainment, there are a lot of missed opportunities to connect events and sponsors. DJs online, conferences online, beauty events online, dance contests online, concerts online, classes online, and many other virtual events are being made and watched at home – online. The Teddy Riley vs. Babyface battle which streamed on social media could have been leveraged to attract followers to sponsors’ (e.g., water companies and student and furniture stores) websites or their social media platforms, as it did for the musicians. Sponsors are missing out on connecting and communicating with their target audience and market via these pop-up events online. To move forward successfully in event sponsorship, sponsorship seekers and sponsors need to have a mutual understanding of what event sponsorship is and how it works. The basics of event sponsorship is to become familiar with the language. One of the biggest misconceptions there is about event sponsorship is that sponsorship is a synonym for donation. If both sides don’t get it right, the results will be unsuccessful.  

Event Sponsorship Prior Pandemic

Lots of sponsorship seekers and sponsors were getting sponsorship wrong. When seeking sponsorship, sponsors’ gatekeepers would send sponsorship seekers to a voicemail that took only donation requests or  both, donation and sponsorship requests. Gatekeepers who lacked event sponsorship awareness and knowledge were either totally dependent on the sponsorship seeker’s guidance to get to the correct department or would get frustrated or embarrassed and hang up the phone. It was chaotic; the chaos showed up in sponsorship partnerships. Properties (sponsorship seekers) became concerned with how to measure the success of the sponsorship and retain their sponsors, and sponsors stopped renewing deals because the sponsorships were not paying off. 

Event Sponsorship During Pandemic

Offline events came to a halt when COVID-19 (Coronavirus) shut down the world. Sponsorship seekers wanted to know what to tell their sponsors when venues closed, promotion stopped, deposits were non refundable, all paid for by their sponsors. Properties and sponsors became confused and were concerned about the future of the sustainability of their events and businesses. Some sponsors did not survive hence they went out of business. Large brands abandoned their target audience, and started to pour their money (without getting into tax breaks and benefits companies receive for doing this) into renowned nonprofit organizations.

Event Sponsorship Post Pandemic

Sponsorship seekers and sponsors will continue to get sponsorship wrong because of lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). Sponsors will have tighter budgets after disappropriate spending, i.e. did not support their target audience (Proverb 21:20).

Event Sponsorship Solutions In A Pandemic

  • Gain Understanding

Sponsorship seekers and sponsors must first have a mutual understanding of how event sponsorship works before closing sponsorship deals; with understanding comes win-win opportunities and successful outcomes. 

  • Communicate

Become familiar with terms used by seasoned sponsorship professionals, common benefits that can help sponsors achieve their goals and objectives, dates sponsors’ budgets are open, what is their budget, and what does a successful sponsorship look like to them, for example, a specific number of leads, sales, online traffic, a new market, good-will. 

  • Evaluate

VMFESS (Vigilance Metric For Evaluating Sponsorship Success) is a new metric found in the third edition revised of How To Secure Sponsors Successfully that helps sponsorship seekers submit and sponsors approve successful sponsorship proposals. 

Conclusion

It’s time to rebound. Sponsorship seekers need to be proactive and should extend their reach, i.e, target sponsors outside of your country. Every no gets you closer to a yes when contacting sponsors. The more calls you make, the more people you contact, the better position you’ll put yourself in. Sponsors should also reach out to event organizers that have the same audience. Remember, event organizers are the ones who have the influence and personal connection with the audience. Go for long-term sponsorship deals to build loyalty, so if there is another pandemic sponsored-communities (events and sponsors) will continue to thrive. Minimal risks, credit to having mutual understanding and implementing the right activation, will help the sponsorship industry bounce back faster and efficiently.

Roberta Vigilance is the author of several event sponsorship books, teaches an event sponsorship course by phone, online, and in-person, and provides solutions to clients with sponsorship problems.

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