Q: Sponsor revenue for our meeting is declining. How can we help sponsors justify their investments and set the stage for renewal discussions? A: Post-event fulfillment reports consistently rank at the top of sponsors’ lists of the most valuable services provided by conference hosts. Indeed, according to the 2012 IEG/Performance Research Sponsorship Decision-Makers Survey, fulfillment reports tie audience research as the most important service provided by conference hosts.
In addition to providing value, producing effective reports can help you to demonstrate your commitment to shared deliverables with your sponsors and to express your gratitude for their support. According to IEG, key elements of an effective postevent fulfillment report include:
» A brief (one-page) introduction and executive summary. It should summarize key deliverables and include a short interpretation of the data.
» Participant/attendee information, including attendance figures, demographics and the results of any audience research (e.g., aggregate evaluation data).
» All on-site exposure documented through photos, samples and reproductions; the number of people who received promotional items or were exposed to advertising; and a comparison of quantities, location and position delivered versus what was promised.
» Any off-site exposure (e.g., print, television or radio).
» Trackable promotional results, including the number of people responding to sponsor campaigns.
» Any additional outcomes (e.g., donations to charitable organizations, employee participation or economic impact summary).
» Additionally, consider including third-party endorsements or testimonials, and feedback or data from the event’s attendees or participants. Particularly meaningful are pictures of attendees with their names, titles, organizations and insights.
Here are five tips to develop and release your first post-event fulfillment report:
» Dedicate staff resources. Assign someone as the lead and ensure multidisciplinary buy-in from all other supporting departments/staff.
» Make it an ongoing process. Create the basic template and keep it updated prior to the event. Ensure all staff assignments on-site and post-event are clearly communicated. This should ensure the report is less tedious to complete post-event (with no lost information).
» Keep reports succinct. There’s no magic number— but you’ll know what’s right for the recipients of your report. Bullets, photos, charts and other brief expressions of content are always preferable to lengthy paragraphs.
» Consider the report’s different audiences. A single report may be viewed by the chief executive officer, the chief financial officer, the marketing department and countless other individuals employed by your sponsoring organizations. Consider their needs and ensure your report meets them.
» Deliver in a timely fashion. It’s best to complete and deliver a post-event fulfillment report within 30 days following an event.