Event Management · Fundraising

How to attract large sponsorship to a social event?

Phanice Shamalla Founder and Manager IRIS MANAGEMENT- Health&Wellnes-Prenuer and Relationship Coach

January 14th, 2016

We have a project that’s dear to me: The Health Festival www.healthfestival.co.ke

We are devoted to promoting health events under various dimensions that affect individuals and families all around the world, across the country, and right here in Nairobi, Kenya.

 We started the Health Festival initiative, hoping to:

Educate the public on various health topics;

Urge the public to take charge of their health;

Promote healthy living; and

Transforming the quality of life in the community.

 Over the two years, we continue to encourage individuals to join us in our movement to revolutionize the county’s health! However we have not broken even, or made profits.

 How do we approach large organizations to participate in our festival as sponsors?


Andria Younger, MA

January 14th, 2016

Hi Phanic,

As as former director of meetings for a nonprofit, I was responsible for producing large conferences and a 400 booth trade show.  I know how important sponsorships are to offsetting costs, as well as helping generate attendance to an event through cross-promotion.

For the sponsor, its a business development and marketing opportunity.  While it might be a great social cause, it's a business decision on the sponsor side.

Here's what worked for me:

1) Have a clear brand narrative  -  You need to be clear on who you are, what you do, and what's your story and tell it in a couple of ways (writing, pitch deck, video, professional looking website, social media etc.)

2) Benefits of Being a Sponsor  -  What do they get in return for sponsorship (I recommend levels)?  How will they be recognized as a sponsor?  Remember sponsors pay for access to key decision makers and marketing their products and services.  What marketing opportunities can you offer (panelist position, introducing a keynote speaker, logo on website, guest blog post, profile them on your blog, etc.) Be creative.  

3)  Who's Attending the Event -  Sponsors are going to ask who's coming to the event?  So, be prepared to answer this question.  If this a new event with no track record it can be hard.  You need to create an infographic on the demographics of either who you are inviting or past attendees.  They may request a look at a past attendee list, only provide a sample (title, company, location)...NEVER NEVER give full names and contact information.

4)  Identify Target Sponsors and Leverage Connections - Identify target sponsors.  Do your business intel via LinkedIn and find out who can refer, recommend, or make the decision for sponsor for each target sponsor.   Take advantage of everyone's connections in your organization (staff, interns, board, suppliers, media partners etc).  Trust me..you never know who has a great connection...I once had an intern whose Dad was a CEO and made an introduction to a sponsor.

5)  Identify Media Partners  -  This a great way to cross-promote your services, as well generate PR for your event for FREE.  Media partners are also very well connected people so they can help make introductions to sponsors.

6) Make sure you get paid before any promotion starts -  When you land that sponsorship make sure to get paid upfront. This means a signed sponsorship agreement and full payment made before you start marketing them as a sponsor.

Good luck!  If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me.  Andria


January 14th, 2016

Try this platform. 

Mike Keshian Founder | CEO | El Capitรกn

January 14th, 2016

Any advice on how to get people to signup for the event, and have them committed to showing up? 

Andria Younger, MA

January 14th, 2016

Hi Mike,

It depends on the type of event. For example, a free webinar you can expect a 50% no-show rate vs a paid event ($$ to $$$) is usually less 10% no-show rate.

How to get the no-show rate down: 

1) Require people to pay.  The higher the fee --- the more people associate value --- less likely to no-show.   

2) Offer great piece of content (ebook, study, white page, how to guide) or entry for a free give-a-way if they show up and attend the event.

3) Take another look a your marketing schedule for the event.  For example, if you are targeting the B2b market and senior execs for a live event, their calendars are tight so you have to plan to start marketing 4-6 months in advance of the event to get them to commit and show-up.  Especially if it's a first time event. 

4) Reach out to people in your target market and ask for feedback on your marketing materials.  Do a call with them not via email. Your message might not be resonating with the target audience.  

Hope this is helpful! If you have any more questions, feel free to connect with me offline.  


Mike Keshian Founder | CEO | El Capitรกn

January 14th, 2016

Very helpful! Thanks. I wish I would have started sooner! 

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April 19th, 2016

My company sponsors events with a free trip planning widget that can be embedded in the event page and any communications with attendees.  You will have higher engagement and commitment from attendees if they have already arranged where to stay.  We pay a royalty back to the event for all travel booked.  We also contribute 10% of our revenues to your charity of choice once the event is over.

Joseph Wang Chief Science Officer at Bitquant Research Laboratories

April 19th, 2016

If you are in Nairobi talk to these people


NEST is a Hong Kong based accelerator that is branching out, and they have an office in Nairobi. What they specialize in is to link together startups with large corporates. If you need a personal introduction, send me e-mail and I can put you in touch with the right people.  One thing that might be particularly useful is that they've partnered with AIA in Hong Kong to do health related technology, I think those contacts may be useful for Kenya.

Also health related devices is a big thing here in Hong Kong, and I'd be interested in linking what you are doing with some of the startups here that are doing health activities.

Phanice Shamalla Founder and Manager IRIS MANAGEMENT- Health&Wellnes-Prenuer and Relationship Coach

April 21st, 2016

Thanks Andria