Need to Sponsor Your Next Science Engagement Activity? Here is How…

By: Noha Rahhal


If you are reading this article, there is a huge probability that you operate in the science engagement event management business. It is no secret that, with the decline of the global economy due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Russian-Ukrainian war, along with other inflation-inducing misfortunes, most businesses and institutions cut down their marketing costs. Of course, if your job is all about planning science engagement exhibitions and events, you might be in a bigger dilemma, since your activities do not necessarily generate profits.

As an organizer, deciding to proceed with a low-budget event can bear its own risks, especially with jeopardized quality. But what if you know that you can partner up with other entities that can pump some extra funds to help you implement your program as desired? In return, you would have to give back through some high-impact benefits that guarantee a win-win partnership. Yes, this is exactly what “event sponsorship” is all about.


First things first: what exactly is an event “sponsorship”?

Sponsorship is one form of partnerships; pure and simple. Let us say, you are working on a science exhibition scheduled for next month. You might be approached by an organization or business to help you with the financial side of the exhibition, in exchange for their brand exposure, which will be discussed in detail later on. Sounds too good to be true? Not so much; sponsorships might sound like a piece of cake, but there are some systemic details and a lot of work goes into the process to guarantee a fruitful collaboration, ensure that your science exhibition stands true to its goals, and extend a long-term partnership with your sponsor(s).


If it is such a time-consuming process, why even bother with sponsorships?

As already mentioned, diversifying your funding options comes in handy with strict event budgets. However, there are some reasons that may further encourage you to look up potential partners, or “sponsors”. The shared publicity brought in when partnering with another entity can help with your endeavors in the long run. You might land extra sponsorships for upcoming events, or even better, you may attract a bigger audience as a result of the more extensive visibility.

This is all about your winning side, but what is in it for businesses? It is important to understand the psychology of your partner, as this will help you hone your skills when looking for a potential sponsor for your next science engagement activity. Sponsors have a variety of reasons with regard to why they may choose to invest in your activity. Motives vary from building their brand credibility, access to specific audiences, and/or even brand awareness.


Now that you know the “why”, here is how to choose sponsors...

Since you now understand the potential value added by event sponsors, you will have to create a list of entities, be it businesses, organizations, universities, schools, etc., that share some common grounds with your event and/or the organization you are representing.

Let us assume that your upcoming science exhibition targets children aged 10-14 years old, you would then want to look for entities targeting the same age group, in your city, and with a core focus on science or education. That is why schools, educational/cultural centers, and sports clubs might possibly be interested in being a partner with you.

Sharing the same demographics when it comes to the target audience is key to shortlisting a sponsor; however, you would want to check for businesses or institutions that value and understand this kind of marketing. They may already have a presence in their community, with solid marketing activities. They may have sponsored similar events before, or have an agenda of events/programs that match the goals that you would like to achieve. That is why doing some real in-depth research can help you nail the right partners-to-be.



Get the conversation going…

he shortlist of potential sponsors will help you get closer to your goal; that is, securing a sponsor for a science engagement activity. All you have to do now is start the conversation. Look for contact people enlisted on the sponsors’ websites, or look up the professionals on social networks such as LinkedIn. Send either a message and/or email to the person in charge, and ask for a meeting to discuss the details in person.

Be brief and clear about who you are, which institution you represent, why you are getting in contact, few details about the event in question, while stating that you are interested in building long-term partnerships. Remember to adopt a friendly, yet professional, tone. This communication is the first impression sponsors get about you and your business. Thus, you need to come off as a pro. Follow up with a phone call or even a message if you do not get feedback within 48 working hours.


Good News! You got their attention; how to do the Sponsorship Pitch?

  • Be prepared. This involves getting all the info you have and that you think might be of interest to your potential sponsors. This includes info about the organization/institution you are representing, and info about the event at hand (objectives, agenda, speakers, exhibitors, expected number of audience/visitors, why the event is unique and worth the buck…, etc.).
  • Remember to include your track record of organizing previous similar events. Include pictures, testimonials, press coverage, a list of previous VIP visitors, featured guest speakers and exhibitors, and the number of visitors.
  • Do your homework. Read about the potential sponsor, to better help you with reading the room. Imagine how they might feel if you show up to a meeting without knowing the basic info about their business, services/products, or even marketing activities. Check out their website, and social media, and even try to fetch someone you may know inside to help you understand their management’s direction.
  • Do not forget to lay out the detailed sponsorship packages in bullet points; the price tag on each package, and the benefits sponsors would get before, during, and after the event.
  • Use visually attractive materials. This includes brochures or even a well-designed PowerPoint presentation that is ideally sent before your meeting to give them a chance to go through it, and prepare questions, if possible.
  • Show up on time. Whether you are meeting physically or virtually, remember that your punctuality will set the bar for your business collaboration. It shows gratefulness and appreciation for the other person’s time. It is also an indicator of your commitment and dedication; both qualities are crucial to the success of an effective campaign or event.


Here Comes the Kit…

f you have reached so far, congratulations! Not only did you get their attention, and gain the interest of what may be a long-time partner, but you now get to showcase why it might be a great idea for another business to be your sponsor. Here comes the important role of a sponsorship kit.

A sponsorship kit is what you offer to sponsors in terms of:

  • Physical space during your exhibition (booth, kiosk, space..., etc.)
  • Press communications; do you have a strong social media presence with thousands of followers? Will you publish a press release bearing the names of the sponsors? Are you working on digital or offline ads? Will you include the logos of your sponsors? Which media personalities will cover the event itself? If you have a media plan for the event, this is the proper time to share it with the sponsors.
  • Create Sponsorship Tiers; with a versatile set of options related to the cost of each sponsorship package equivalent to the number of benefits you can offer for each tier.
  • Include freebies for the sponsors. For example, if you are hosting a science exhibition for children, you can offer a number of free tickets to be utilized by the sponsor. You may also offer discount codes especially dedicated to the sponsor’s networks.



The Post-Sponsorship Phase; Are You Done Yet?

Last but not least, you need to keep an open communication channel with your sponsors throughout the whole process. You need to think of this sponsorship journey as a sales process. Are you familiar with after-sales care? Ask for feedback, share findings from the event, and be upfront about what might have been done better and how you aim to fix it in upcoming events. Be grateful for the opportunity, and share your plans for the future, in case they would like to partner up on more events with you.