How to Get Sponsors for Your Event

Utopia Announcements, Sponsors

I have had several people come to me asking how I birthed utopYA because they want to create their own conference or book signing event. For them, I held a special podcast a year ago, where I shared how we did it. I’ll probably be sharing that podcast recording again soon in some way.

I can even count a handful of these events that were created by women who attended utopYA, and wanted to bring that same opportunity and spirit to their own towns. Let’s stop right here, and take a minute to celebrate that. Let’s celebrate that more opportunities for writers to connect with fans and each other are popping up all over creation [insert happy dance here].

Today I am announcing a few of our sponsors, but following that, in the spirit of “lift as you climb,” I thought I’d pull back the curtain on sponsorship for those looking to attract them to your own events.

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Every year I like to find full-throttle doers who are like-minded in their own mission to lift this community of writers. We have been so unbelievably fortunate each and every year to be blown away by the sponsors we get. Their generosity, their contribution, their ideas, their enthusiasm — is mind-blowing. I can’t wait to introduce you to all of them. Today, however, I present three:

WW_logo_small_clearbgVisit the homepage of Whit & Ware and the big question you get asked is “How do you want to Dream Out Loud today?” Some of you may already know the lovely Victoria Faye through her beautiful book cover designs…or perhaps through those crazy cool journals she unveiled at utopYA 2013 that looked like books. She is a creative design force, rivaled only by her big heart. I’m thrilled to announce that Whit & Ware is a utopYA 2014 signature conference sponsor.

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If you look at the homepage of evatopia you’ll start to see the common thread that runs through the fibers of all the people we work to connect you with through sponsorship. With phrases like “Find your happy” and “Fuel your imagination,” it’s no wonder  we ended up partnering.

While evatopia head Margery Walshaw wasn’t able to come to utopYA 2013, she did opt to insert chapsticks into the Welcome Bags. With a name like evatopia, is it any wonder we struck up a conversation? We’ve kept in touch, and now I’m pleased as punch to announce that evatopia is our media sponsor for #utopYA2014.

A multi-pronged entertainment company, they help writers achieve their dreams and improve their craft, they help brands connect with bloggers, and much more. Check them out.

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hellion logo

I’d say she’s a triple threat, but I think I’d be leaving out a few things. Author, producer and graphic designer Frankie Rose, is the rock star behind Hellion Works. She returns as a premium sponsor of both the #utopYA2014 conference and the Third Annual UtopYA Awards.

Last year, the trailer she created for Abbi Glines’ Ceaseless, won Best Book Trailer of the Year at the Second Annual utopYA Awards. She’s also the woman responsible for bringing her Eternal Hope book cover hottie, Collin Patrick, to utopYA. (thank you, Frankie!)

If you’ve finished writing your book, let Hellion Works create the perfect trailer to showcase your story. Whether you want a 15-second promotional clip to announce your release, or you want a cinematic experience that will get your reader’s heart rates thumping, Hellion Works can cater to your needs.

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Now, here are my top tips on the steps needed for successful event sponsorship:

Set your goal(s)

How much money do you need? What is it you need or want to accomplish with the help of sponsors that you can’t do on your own or in a different way? Be specific.

Create your hit list

Who do you want to sponsor? Do your homework. Find companies sympathetic to your audience and to you. Find companies active in sponsorship, but who aren’t over extended. Find companies who can help promote.

Determine Audience — both yours and theirs

Find sponsors who want the audience that is attracted to you.

Know what you have to offer

What can you offer them in exchange for sponsorship? What can you do for them or create for them or offer them that will make saying yes to you a no-brainer?

Cultivate Relationships

Sometimes this means starting local — know any business owners, friends or family members who can help?

Use Twitter, Facebook and other social sites to not only do homework, but to talk with your potential sponsors. Get to know them way before you ask them for anything.

Create Proposal

Put together a nice-looking and well thought out document outlining your event mission, purpose, facts about your audience, facts about your industry, any press you have received, and your sponsor opportunities.

Work with a rock star

I recommend working with someone who has this as their ONLY task for your event. Getting sponsors is not a job that is easy to juggle along with the 50,000 other things on the event “To Do” list. I say this from personal experience.

Be tenacious

If at first you don’t succeed, try again. At the very least, you want to be in their minds when you come a-callin’ next year.

My final thoughts on this are: Creating successful events is extremely rewarding, but definitely full-time work if you want it done right and well. I see a lot of authors out there who also want to create events. I’m not saying it’s impossible to do both, but, undoubtedly, there will be times when one or the other will suffer because you aren’t 100% focused on one. Be kind to yourself when this happens. It’s in our nature to beat ourselves up when our desire to be superwomen who do it all gets challenged. Know in your heart what you’re meant to do, and go for it with every cell of your being.

Hope these tips helped. Here’s to success for all of us!