Educational seminars are a good way to introduce new clients to your barn and services and to provide learning opportunities beyond lessons and riding for your current boarders or customers. Seminars at your own facility tend to be low-cost events, but sponsors can help by providing experts to speak, furnishing refreshments and swag, and increasing awareness of the event.
Following are a few things you can ask sponsors for in support of your educational gathering.
Provide a speaker: Many feed and pharmaceutical companies have local representatives who are more than happy to provide an educational talk to your clients. Your veterinarian also is a good source to tap for educational seminars. Some presenters just get up and talk (i.e., biosecurity), some want a horse to demonstrate on (i.e., body condition scoring), and others will want to have a PowerPoint presentation (i.e., internal parasites). They also will want an opportunity to provide information about one or more of their company's products or services, but discuss with them ahead of time that you want the talk to be non-commercial. Then give that person time for people to speak to him or her one-on-one and provide a space for company information to be handed out.
Financial: If you are bringing in a clinician or other expert, you often can get a financial sponsorship from a company to support your efforts. That company will probably want to have a representative there with a space to display company literature and signage that shows their sponsorship. Think outside the box on this...perhaps your local bank would want to sponsor the event.
Notebooks and pens: Notebooks and pens are an inexpensive, fun and creative way for a sponsor to get its name in front of seminar attendees. It gives participants a way to take notes and also provides them a takeaway that is a reminder of the sponsor's support for a long time beyond the event.
Samples: Perks and swag are always fun to give away at an educational event. Companies sponsor events in the hope of acquiring new customers, and providing product samples is a great way to reach potential shoppers. Businesses already have these items on hand, and attendees feel like they are receiving a bonus just for attending.
Logo bags: Many companies that provide sponsorships already have giveaway items produced. Sometimes that’s a plastic or reusable bag with its logo. Ask a sponsor to donate enough bags for event attendees. That is an easy way for a sponsor to get involved with your equine business. Seminar participants love totes for packing up informational literature and handouts, and the sponsor’s logo serves as a lasting reminder of the company’s support.
Refreshments: Most participants don’t expect a meal at educational seminars, but light refreshments can encourage attendance and keep people hanging around after the presentation is over. Ask a sponsor if they would be willing to cover the cost of providing snacks.
Coupons: Many companies have coupons that they will send you to hand out or let you print off on your computer. Just make sure that you don't get coupons from a company that competes with one of your other sponsors!
Remember that sponsorships of any value are about relationships. Recognize sponsors and say thank you often. During the seminar be sure to acknowledge sponsor support. After the event is over, give sponsors a shout out on social media and include a thank you on your website and even on your barn's bulletin board.
“Send thank you notes and also photos from the event with the sponsor's signage included," recommended Laura Smith, the chief executive office and co-founder of Youth Equestrian Development Association. "The more time you spend finding and working with your sponsors, the more successful your event will be,”