Sponsorship Lead: we recommend that you appoint someone in your team as a sponsorship lead who will be responsible for securing and managing sponsorships.
A sponsorship lead will:
work with the team to create a sponsorship shortlist
manage sponsorship outreach
document the sponsorship agreement
follow up with sponsors about payment terms and process for releasing funds
get all sponsor logos and make sure sponsor communication to participants is done according to your agreement
report to the sponsors after the event
You’ll encounter three types of sponsors in your capacity as a Startup Weekend organizer:
Global Partners work with Techstars directly to support Startup Weekend participants around the world with tools and services. They support our global mission — to develop entrepreneurial ecosystems and communities and make entrepreneurship accessible to all.
Regional Sponsors work with specific regions’ teams. They usually support regional initiatives, and outreach is typically done by Techstars or lead organizing teams that run those initiatives.
Local Sponsors are local to the city where you are running your event. The organizing team is solely responsible for securing local sponsorship to cover event costs.
It’s important to represent each sponsor according to their agreement with Techstars and with the organizing team. Give all relevant information about sponsors and partners to your facilitator.
Here is a list of our current global partners and a summary of their offerings to participants:
Google for Startups is Google’s initiative to help your startup thrive, no matter where you live. As a participant of Startup Weekend, you are now part of the Google for Startups community, which gives you access to the best of Google. This includes Google products, connections, and best practices to help your startup grow.
Startup Weekend participants will have access to $300 in Google Cloud credits. Best practices, tools, and other Google resources for participants can also be found at startup.google.com.
For more information, feel free to check out this site: https://cloud.google.com/free
Please reach out to email@example.com if you have any questions. (After applying for the credits, participants should hear back from the Google team about whether the credits have been approved within 2-4 working days.)
GoDaddy Registry provides a domain name that many innovators and entrepreneurs all over the world use. As part of our partnership, each participant can register a free domain name with GoDaddy Registry (.co, .us, .biz). Read more here. Redemption codes will be given to participants by the organizing team.
Finding local sponsorship is key to making sure you have the budget to deliver a quality experience to participants and cover costs associated with running a Startup Weekend.
You will need to cover all costs associated with running the event, including your facilitator's accommodation and travel expenses.
Sponsorship can be provided in cash or in-kind. Examples of an in-kind sponsorship include a venue space, catering, or professional services (like a DJ or someone providing financial advice). You can also offer different levels of sponsorship for cash amounts, specifying what the sponsor will receive in return for their level of sponsorship. This can range from different levels of social media coverage to logos at the venue or logos on T-shirts.
We recommend that you make a list of all potential sponsors and start outreach right away. In addition to reaching out to local venues, caterers and tech companies, consider researching past tech or community events in your city to see who sponsored these events. Think who might be interested in having your participants as customers.
It helps to set deadlines for raising sponsorship. For example, ‘By x date / in the next 2 weeks, we should raise x amount of sponsorship’. You can use your Organizer Checklist tool to assign this task to the sponsorship lead or the person deemed most appropriate for reaching out. Add a date of completion to keep track of the task.
5 Steps to Securing Sponsorship
Please review this five-step guide to securing sponsorship.
Determine the amount of sponsorship you need prior to outreach. We recommend setting your fundraising target (for both ticket sales and sponsorships) at 150% (1.5x) of your total estimated event expenses to account for unforeseen expenses.
It helps to set three different targets:
Minimum goal: The absolute minimum you need to run a Startup Weekend.
Target goal: What you’re aiming to raise to provide an exceptional experience.
Maximum sponsorship limit: This is where you cap your sponsorship to show that you’re being realistic in your goals. Anything above your target goal and below your maximum sponsorship limit helps to enhance the overall event.
02. Understand the sponsor’s needs
Research potential sponsors and identify if they have a history of sponsoring community events.
Use your networks to find the right people within different organizations to reach out and learn more about their motivations for sponsoring events. They might want to engage with a population of motivated, community-minded entrepreneurs, or build brand awareness within the local startup community.
03. Mindful outreach
Companies don’t make decisions; people do.
Leverage your network to help obtain a warm introduction to pitch your event. Before you reach out to sponsors, we recommend having your ticketing page and social media page(s) published online so that the potential sponsor can see your progress.
04. Making the ask
When it’s time to reach out to sponsors, here are some best practices:
Use the Startup Weekend sponsorship deck and sponsor email outreach template to help you structure your request.
Regularly update all online social media platforms, including the pictures and short biographies of the organizing team on the event page.
Align their goals with the benefits of sponsoring a Startup Weekend.
Specify the target sponsorship level(s) and benefits associated with that level.
Keep it short and to the point.
05. Be clear and transparent
Once a sponsor agrees to support your Startup Weekend, develop a clear and transparent agreement.
Some best practices:
Document the commitment in writing.
Clarify the terms of the agreement, including the exact amount and preferred method of payment, to avoid ambiguity.
Discuss and record branding and communication requirements.
Communicate key milestones leading up to the event.
Establish mutual trust and continue to nurture the relationship.
Working With Your Sponsors
It’s of extreme importance that you adhere to your sponsorship agreement and represent their logo and messaging correctly. Your facilitator will add your sponsor logos to their facilitator deck and represent them during the weekend, so make sure that you share the sponsor requirements with them. You will also need to add your sponsor logos to your event management platform. We provide guidelines for this in our event setup instructions.
Depending on your relationship with the sponsor, you might want to ask if they can recommend anyone else who would be willing to sponsor your Startup Weekend.
If a company is not able to sponsor your event, consider involving them in other ways, like inviting them to judge or to mentor at the event.
After the event, we recommend sending a wrap-up summary report and thank you email.
Remember to stay in touch with the sponsor and nurture your new network connections. Connections to local businesses could produce surprising partnership opportunities in the future for both parties.
If you are struggling to raise sponsorship, tap into your local network for ideas or contacts, or get in touch with your Techstars community support contact.
A sponsorship invoice is a legal document that serves as a receipt for your sponsor. This document may be necessary to validate the payment or in-kind sponsorship that you receive from your sponsor.
The requirements for invoicing can be different from country to country, but here is a general list of what to include (some will be legal requirements; some are simply preferable — you’ll need to check):
A unique invoice number
Your business name and contact details
Your tax number, VAT number, or business registration number (a variable dependent on country)
Customer’s name and contact details
Due date (if not paid upfront)
Breakdown of items and their unit cost plus total
Any tax charged
Total invoice amount
Any discounts applied
Any payment terms you may have
Some kind of note, thank you, or friendly reminder