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They are Sponsors not ATMs' (Rant Alert)

By Gwen Helbush, cwc, Where To Start, Wedding Management

It is a joy and a struggle producing events for our wedding community.  I am continually asked to do more BAWN Events; I'd like to but doing so is extremely hard and getting harder.

Why? Attendees are increasingly unwilling to pay to attend making it necessary to turn to our supplier partners asking for ever greater favors.  Make no mistake they are favors, not the investments they should be.  If they were investments, the sponsors would see returns on what they provide; most don’t.

Wait, Gwen, sponsors, get exposure for their businesses that is enough, right?  WRONG, it is a huge assumption that they get exposure to those they want and does exposure truly get them business?  To be fair, not all sponsors can or do track returns but those who do tell me there is rarely a return and if there is one it’s very low.

Attendees have fun, learn something and make contacts.  I hear how great an event was and how happy they were they came.  More and more though I get the “other” calls “I would attend your events, I don’t because you charge a fee. They should be free, especially since everything is sponsored.” 

Well, kids, everything is NOT sponsored, that assumption is naïve and insulting.  Sponsors don’t provide things because they like you; they are making an investment in YOU!  You are supposed to be the return on their investment; most are not holding up your end of the bargain.

Come on Gwen the people saying this can’t be in the event business. Sadly, my friends they are! Should they know what it takes to create events and the associated costs, I think they should; it seems they don’t.  It hurts my heart, they believe that we owe them these events and feel they shouldn’t be expected to pay their way. 

Let me debunk a myth, there are no profits in these events, if we are lucky, we break even, more often than not we lose money.  I’m not speaking just of BAWN, ask anyone who produces industry events, without sponsors none of us would be able to do even one.  If we had to create events solely on what most are willing to pay to attend there would never be another one. 

Below is the actual retail cost of a recent BAWN event.  I share this to illustrate my point.  These events are not a right but a privilege, one provided by colleagues willing to take risks to provide others opportunities. 

I ask you to consider this next time you prickle at the cost of attending an event and please use sponsorship as one measure when choosing supplier partners.

End rant, xoxo, Gwen

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