Want to know the single fastest way to improve your Ren Faire bottom line? We have two words for you: sponsorship revenue. 

When done well, sponsorships benefit both the event organizer and the brand in a big way. 

True experiential marketing is often challenging to pull off. Event sponsorship, however, allows brands to interact with customers in a non-threatening atmosphere. 

Attendees feel extra valued and naturally attach a positive experience to your event when they are showered with sponsor-provided perks, giveaways, and merch. In addition to improving the event experience, the sponsorship dollars you rake in will be 100% pure profit. Need we say more?

The 7 secrets in this post—delivered to us straight from the experts—will help you grow your revenue and attract even bigger sponsors. Let’s dive in.

1. Make Sure You’re Ready for it           

While “make sure you’re ready” might sound like a cautionary cliché, the advice is too important to skip. With a long sales cycle and a path peppered with “Nos,” you need persistence and a thick skin to develop a sponsorship program. 

How do you know whether you’re ready for a serious commitment? 

  • - Evaluate what’s happening in the Ren Faire market. 

  • - Scout out other well-established Ren Faires to see their sponsorship integration. 

  • - Check out companies actively sponsoring Ren Faires and investigate the terms of their deals.

Once you’ve done your research and determined that your team is ready to run, it’s time to jump in with both feet.

2. Get to Know Your Audience

Ren Faires, by nature, attract people who love the Renaissance era and appreciate the fantasy realm. Beyond these characteristics, however, your audience may vary widely. Some faires attract predominantly adults who are eager to down a few pints of ale before the joust competition, and other faires are filled with children in fairy costumes. 

Whatever the composition of your audience, it’s important as an event organizer to dig into the demographics and psychographics of your market. Make an effort to understand their values, opinions, interests, and lifestyle.

3. Take Inventory of Your Assets

To create compelling sponsorships, you need to know what you have to sell. Start by making two lists of everything sellable within your event. 

First, make a list of general assets that you can include your sponsors on. For example, this might include a logo on your registration page, T-shirts or cloaks, or market research. 

Second, list the specific segments and marketing opportunities you can sell to a sponsor. This could be a VIP parking area, or a branded banner at the faire entryway. 

If you brainstorm, you’ll likely find tons of opportunities within your event that sponsors are willing to purchase.

4. Make it a Win for All

As we mentioned earlier, your sponsorships must add value—not only to the sponsor but also to the participant’s experience. There are so many more options than simply sticking the sponsor’s name on the back of a shirt. 

One way to accomplish this goal creatively is to consider what your attendees need and want during your event.

If you’re organizing your Ren Faire in a sunny desert, for example, offer the attendees discounted sunglasses from your preferred partner when they check out. Bonus points if the style matches the time period of the faire!

5. Create a Killer Sponsorship Deck

Have you ever heard the expression “sell the sizzle, not the steak?” While that’s true (a sizzling sirloin is far more enticing than a raw hunk of beef) you might be wondering, what does meat have to do with marketing?

Well, if you want sizzling sales success, sell the meaning of the outcome, rather than its features alone. A thoughtful and visually appealing deck will speak loudly to your event and your commitment to excellence. 

As you’re creating your sponsorship deck, keep this five-item checklist handy.

  • 1. A summary of your value proposition. 
  • 2. High-quality photos.
  • 3. A knowledgeable breakdown of your audience.
  • 4. The prices of each level. Use these initial prices as a benchmark, and then customize from there.
  • 5. Your contact information.

You can also check out this blog for sample sponsorship proposals. Before you hit send, make sure it’s compelling and clear.

6. Listen to Your Sponsor’s Needs

Steak (or turkey legs) aside, the key to fantastic, long-term partnerships is understanding your sponsor’s objectives. Don’t wait until one of the parties is dissatisfied to clarify your objectives. 

Take a walk in their shoes and look at the world through their lens. Set yourself up for success by going into the partnership with a written list of their objectives. 

When you truly understand your customers' needs, your sponsorship programs will not only boost your revenue, but they will benefit all parties involved!

7. Consider Sponsorship Levels

If you don’t have the bandwidth to customize a deck and proposal for each potential sponsor, consider creating pre-determined levels of sponsorship instead. Specify the terms on your website, and let the sponsors pick their preferred level of contribution.

Some state Ren Faires offer 7 levels of sponsorship, ranging from the Knight ($100) to the King ($10,000). 

8. Give it Time

Lastly, remind yourself that bigger sponsorship deals take time to cultivate. Kicking off communication with a company this month might not materialize as a Ren Faire partnership until next year. 

Get to work early and be patient with the process. 

Here to help you host your most successful event ever!

— The TicketSpice Team