January 27, 2016 by Jeff Hurt
Often we feel that conference sponsorship is a necessary but unpleasant activity to support an event.
We are uncomfortable asking organizations for money to support our endeavors. Sometimes that uncomfortable feeling is more a reflection of our personal beliefs about money than our beliefs about our conference’s impact.
Raising conference sponsorship dollars should actually be proclaiming what we believe about our event in such as way that we offer other organizations the opportunity to participate with us in our vision and mission for our event’s participants. It’s a call to action. It’s a call to a deeper relationship with our conference customers, their needs and their growth.
Ever had the following conversation in your head or with colleagues regarding an upcoming event?
How are we going to get the money we need to provide the best conference attendee experience possible?
Well, we have to start asking for it.
Suddenly, we realize that we are not used to asking for money, especially sponsorships. We feel awkward. Maybe even a little embarrassed about it.
Then we begin to worry…and question…and wonder: “Who will give us money? How are we going to ask for it?”
We have to realize that asking for sponsorship dollars is not a response to a crisis. It is first and foremost a call to service, connectedness and relatedness to our conference customers. It’s a call to connect to the community and its growth.
Asking for sponsorship dollars is a way for us to announce our conference’s vision. And a way to invite others into that vision.
Your conference’s mission and vision are so central to your attendees’ life. Don’t ever forget how ancient texts state that people without a vision person and without a mission we lose our way.
Your conference vision brings together your customers’ needs and the resources to meet those needs. Your event’s vision also shows others new directions and opportunities for mission.
Your conference vision gives you the courage to speak and ask when you might want to remain silent.
Asking for sponsorship is proclaiming what you believe for your conference in such a way that you offer others an opportunity to participate with you in your conference vision and mission.
This shift in thinking about sponsorship is thinking differently than seeing it as transactional or advertising. It’s deeper than seeking eyeballs and time on the stage to sell a product or service in exchange for dollars.
It’s about helping others connect in relatedness to their target customers. That desire for authentic relationships should stir the desire in potential sponsors. Usually your prospect sponsors are people that are generous with their time, their concern and ultimately with their organization’s sponsorship dollars.
If you are putting your sponsorship dollars toward helping your conference customers improve their profession, develop, grow and connect, you are ultimately involved in a labor of relatedness and deep concern. Some might even call it a labor of love.
When asking for sponsorship dollars, you are inviting others to invest the resources they have in your amazing work. Your invitation becomes clear and confident because you trust your vision and mission yields fruit for your attendees.
Read more from VCC’s Sponsorship Mattering ebook.
What is lacking in the current sponsorship model that so many conferences use? What do you need to move from your fear of asking or feeling rejected to confidence?
Filed Under: Sponsorship & Exhibits
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