Sponsors add an extra layer of value to your nonprofit events — especially when your budget barely covers the cost of the venue. Deciding how much to charge sponsors, however, can be a challenge.

This process, which is called valuation, according to sponsorship expert Chris Baylis, is something a lot of events get wrong. “A majority of event creators have no idea what the market rate is for their sponsorship properties,” he says. “So they tend to make up their value.”

This method may help you win a handful of sponsorships, but in reality could leave money on the table. “By blindly assigning value to your assets, you can undercharge sponsors or ask for too much,” says Baylis.

Instead, sponsorship pricing should be based on value.

The advantage of value-based sponsorship pricing

To maximize your sponsorship revenues and — if you manage your costs appropriately — your profits, you’ll need to find the sweet spot between the actual cost of each asset and the perceived value of it.

If your sponsor’s perceived value is higher than your activation price, then they will decide to sponsor. And if your cost for activation is lower than that price, you will make money.

value-based-sponsorship-pricing

Not only is this method the best long-run economic model for your event, value-based pricing helps you approach event sponsorship more like a partnership. Instead of being concerned about your profit margin, you’ll be focused on delivering the perceived value.

Valuing your non-profit sponsorship opportunities

Calculate the value of your sponsorship assets using these four steps:

1. Start with the market rate

You’ll start by researching the market rate for your assets — which means looking at your competition. (This information is usually included in your competitor’s sponsorship prospectus or public promotional materials.)

Gather as many reference points as possible and take detailed notes about their value proposition. Also, keep in mind that you’re also competing with other methods of advertising. Potential sponsors are investing money to promote their brands g on a daily basis. They know exactly how much an email blast or logo placement is worth — you should, too.

2. Find out your attendee’s value

Once you have enough to data to determine the market rate for your sponsorship assets, put yourself in your sponsor’s shoes. What will they get out of this opportunity?

It helps to remember that sponsorship is a specialized branch of marketing and advertising that gives them access to their target customer — aka your attendees.

Who are your attendees? Use this workbook to help you gather crucial insight about them and discover the value the add to your sponsorship assets. For instance, let’s say your research revealed that an overwhelming majority of event-goers were the final decision-maker on budget decisions, your assets may be more valuable to sponsors.

3. Set the initial price

With your market rate research and attendee value in mind, you’ll set the initial price of your assets.

If you’re worried about getting it wrong, don’t. No one guesses the “perfect” price on their first go. Even with all of the best research in the world, you will be much better served if you treat pricing as a test-and-then-iterate exercise — an exercise of constant learning and adaptation.

Once you’ve set the initial price for your assets, your next step is to meet with potential sponsors and determine their perceived value.

4. Meet with potential sponsors

Sponsorship is a partnership between your event and your sponsors. It’s a two-way street that requires sincere interest in the sponsor’s objectives and how you can help them achieve goals.

So when you meet with potential sponsors, don’t lead with a proposal or ask them to write a check. Listen to their needs and objectives first, then ask how much your sponsorship opportunity is worth to them.

The more you listen to your sponsors, the better equipped you’ll be to create custom solutions that unlock tremendous opportunities for you, the sponsor, and your attendees.

Use the pricing cheat sheet

Success in sponsorship is trial and error. Let the Event Sponsorship Pricing Cheat Sheet guide you through the valuation process and overcome the greatest hurdle for event seeking sponsorship.

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