With a lot of the aspects of hosting a LAN event, you can normally find someone with experience in the area. That isn’t always the case when it comes to getting and keeping event sponsors. Most people fly blind when they start and frankly it leads to emails that if you look back later you would be extremely embarrassing. Even though I have always done well with sponsors, looking back on some of my emails I wish I could go back and just stop myself. Well, I don’t have a time machine, at least not yet, so for now I will settle for stopping some of you before you make mistakes. Hopefully, with a few tips I can help everyone host better events. Better events all over will lead to more events for everyone to go to and we can help keep the LAN tradition alive and well. So hang on I’ve put together a whole bunch of information, I hope it helps.
Written by: Wes
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Before we get started, I just want to remind everyone that these tips really only help if you manage to host a good event. So while good sponsor relations is important. The most important thing is to host a great event that your attendees have a good time at. Without that, nothing else matters!
What kind of sponsorships are there
Long before you are even thinking about contacting anyone, you do need to have a better idea of what kinds of sponsorship opportunities you typically see for LANs. What you can get will depend a lot on your relationship with the sponsor, event size, budgets, and how you approach the sponsor.
Swag -This is the most basic type of participation you will find from companies typically. They will send out promotional materials like shirts, hats, pens, etc. These are small, but when given in enough quantities they are a great thing to be able to give out to everyone to make sure everyone who comes ends up with something. In recent years the quantity of swag being sent out isn’t very high, but especially when you are starting out this might be the only kind of support you can get. If you have never priced what it costs to have some of these things made you should really look into it. They aren’t always cheap, so even though it isn’t hardware, I wouldn’t discount it.
Product – This is by far the most popular sponsorship type you will run into. Both with companies and with events. Basically, they are sending you their products for raffles or prizes in exchange for exposure. This includes exposure when promoting your event and people also being able to see and sometimes use their product. Now what they send is going to depend a lot on their budget and the size and history of your event. I’ve seen companies use this as a way to clear out old discontinued products, thin out slow selling hardware, or show off the latest and greatest. So the prices of the hardware can range from small trinkets to full PCs.
Financial – This is what a lot of people think everyone is getting but typically it isn’t the case. Financial sponsorships are out there, but typically more with large events. Some established smaller events can still get help if you can provide a good return on investment and find the right company. A good example of LanOC events doing this is with our name badge sponsorships. We exchange additional promotion and the sponsor's name on the back of our badge in exchange for their support in buying our badges. This helped us upgrade to much better quality badges for everyone.