Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio April
Back to Basics
By Chip G. Stockton, CMP
GIVING EVENT SPONSORS THEIR DUE
Organizations can help underwrite an event through staggered
levels of sponsorship
Sponsorships of meals, services and other event elements are
economic necessities for many conferences. Before your organization
begins soliciting these angels for the first time, it’s important
to define levels of support, what is expected from sponsors and
what they will get for their money.
THE RIGHT PRICE
For an event of about 750 attendees and 100 exhibitors, the
following guidelines have worked well. For comparison’s sake,
exhibit space runs about $30 per square foot, and it is based on
that price that all levels of sponsorship and trades are made.
Our conferences, most of which involve the computer industry,
offer organizations and publications the option of becoming
co-sponsors, cooperating sponsors or “in participation with”
Co-sponsors are expected to offer services,
products or advertising trades valued at $15,000 or more per event.
They may be involved with developing the program by reviewing
papers, supplying speakers, organizing sessions and/or
participating in development committees. Because the computer
industry is so competitive, we have to limit co-sponsors to a few
noncompeting periodicals, organizations or associations for each
event, chosen on a first-come, first-served basis.
We presume that our co-sponsors have substantial direct interest
in ensuring the success of an event, and therefore we expect them
to provide more of their technical expertise and networking muscle
than lesser sponsors. Most important is the co-sponsors’ help in
promoting the conference, in the form of advertising space in their
periodicals, editorial write-ups, listings in calendars of events,
co-promotion at other events, help with mailing list sorts and
mailing services as needed.
Cooperating sponsors are expected to offer
services similar to those of the co-sponsors, but in value from
$7,500 to $15,000. They are asked for promotional help but are not
required to provide committee participants or speakers.
“In participation with” sponsors pay up to
$7,500 to support activities, souvenirs, giveaways or trade-outs.
For them, it’s an opportunity to show an interest in the subject of
the conference without a substantial investment.
Of course, potential sponsors do not offer to support an event
without some quid pro quo. Over the years, we’ve developed various
All sponsors are listed, logos included, in publicity before and
during the conference. This includes appearing in the call for
papers, the advance program, advance announcements, all press
releases and the final conference program. Co-sponsors and
cooperating sponsors also receive a Web site listing and banner;
information about them appears in the conference proceedings book
of white papers, the final program and other event-related
materials, including e-mail and Internet announcements.
In addition, co-sponsors and cooperating sponsors get a free
10-by-10-foot space on the exhibit floor. They are also provided
with up to 500 complimentary VIP exhibit-only cards, which they can
imprint with their own logos.
Co-sponsors can rent up to two additional booths for a 25
percent discount. They also can be the exclusive sponsor of one
conference event or giveaway. Cooperating sponsors can underwrite
one conference event or giveaway as well, but on a nonexclusive
Co-sponsors get a few more perks: Their materials and souvenirs
are included in registration packets at no cost, and their names
appear on all conference signage.
All sponsors receive the final attendee mailing list so they can
continue their marketing efforts after the event.
Chip G. Stockton, CMP, is an independent planner specializing in
high-tech and computer events for Conference Concepts in Poway,
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