Most organizations can benefit from the promotional strength of events. Whether you’re a small business owner, a founder at a tech startup, or a marketer from an industry-leading brand, you’re probably well aware of the importance of showing up where your audience spends their time. Events and virtual events present opportunities to showcase your products, answer questions, and connect your audience with your brand. 

That said, events and sponsored events require lots of planning and budgeting. And no matter how small your company or events department, you can always expect collaboration with different team members — including the stakeholder who signs off on various costs to get the planning process started. 

Whoever the main budgeting stakeholder is for your events strategy, the best way to advocate and get an event underway is an event proposal. Creating an event proposal with a high-level breakdown of what the event is, budget allocation, and what you hope to gain out of the event in concrete metrics, can help you secure the needed resources to make things happen.

Whether you plan to create a one off event, pitch a sponsored event, or plan several events throughout the year, we’ll break down how to write an event proposal to get buy-in from the necessary people.

What is an event proposal?

An event proposal is a core component of a company’s event planning process. It’s a pitch, a fact-sheet, and a guide. 

Because so many resources go into an event, you want to make sure there are clear goals and measurements for success. For this reason, most events start with an event proposal, or an event sponsorship approval request. This proposal outlines the scope and details of the event, budget breakdown, and key stakeholders and matches this information with company goals and measurable impacts. 

Whether you’re planning a virtual event, hybrid event, or in-person, internally organized or hosted by a conference or some other organization, an event proposal can help you launch your event and keep surprises at a minimum. A carefully thought out proposal doesn’t just ensure funding and approval—it’s a great starting point when it comes to setting up collaboration between departments, and bringing your event to life.

How to write an event proposal

At face value, an event proposal is nothing more than a sheet of paper summarizing the strategy and logistical details of the event. But when it comes to actually filling this sheet, it gets a bit more complicated. 

It’s kind of like making an omelet — only the first step is to hatch the chickens that lay the eggs. 

So in that vein, let’s start with the constituent parts of the event proposal, or (for the sake of the omelet analogy):

Ingredients for an event proposal

Below, we’ve listed the key ingredients you need to create an event or event sponsorship proposal for your main stakeholders.

Basic event info

  • Partner Organization: Your proposal should include the name of your proposed event, or, if you’re pitching a sponsorship opportunity, the name of the organization hosting your booth, talk, or event. 
  • Type of Event: Be specific about the type of event. This could be a conference, trade show, film festival etc. You may also want to clarify if it is a virtual event, in-person event, or both. 
  • Dates: Identify the dates that the event will be held. 
  • Location: Identify where the event will be held. 
  • Target Audience: You’ll want to connect with attendees at the event to talk about your product. Think about who you’re hoping to reach. As you think through the details, describe your target audience as much as possible and consider firmographic data like industries, company roles, or use cases. This is an important field, because it directly advances your overall marketing strategy for your product. 

Event overview

  • Recommended by: Depending on how budgeting approval is managed at your organization, you may need to identify which department is pitching this event. For example, it might be the sales team for the product you’re promoting. 
  • Details of you event or event sponsorship: Describe the space of your event. If you’re hosting an event, share details about the event theme, event programming, and venue. If you’re drafting an event sponsorship proposal, add details related to your sponsorship. For example, if you want to set up a booth at a trade show, include the dimensions of your booth space, where it would be located, and other details. 
  • Event cost or sponsorship fee: Prepare your expected event cost if you plan to host an event or the fee you’re paying your partner organization to host you. 
  • Additional cost estimates: Check the breakdown of fees for any builds, swag, or marketing collateral.

Event goals

  • Total spend estimate: Sum up all your event costs. 
  • Product focus: Identify the product or services that your company is promoting.
  • ARPU: This stands for “Average Revenue Per User.” This is primarily used for sales events and refers to your cost/benefit analysis of doing the event. For example, if you have 1,000 people show up at your event, how much revenue could you reasonably expect to generate out of those leads? 
  • Overall goals: Summarize what you hope to achieve from this event. Do you want to raise awareness for your brand? Capture more leads? Launch a product? Having a crystal clear idea of this will help you communicate why this event is necessary to everyone involved. 
  • KPIs (i.e. press/social, deals closed for sales events, etc): Here is where you detail out your broader goals in clear-to-understand metrics.

Free event proposal template

Here’s a sample event proposal to help you capture all the relevant info to pitch your next branded event or sponsored event. Format the template into a doc to share with your team or build a slide deck proposal you can present. 

Event Proposal

Basic info

Event name or Partner Event Organization:
Type of event: 
Date: 
Location: 
Target Audience: 

Event Overview

Details of event, sponsorship, or brand activation: 
Event or Sponsorship fees: 
Additional cost estimates:            

Event Goals

Product highlights: 
ARPU for product: 
Overall goals:  
KPIs (i.e. press, social, leads, sales, etc): 

Budgeting

Event spend: 
Remaining budget:

Additional Notes

6 steps to write an event proposal

1. Understand your company goals and define your audience

Before planning out your events, consider holding a series of dedicated strategy meetings. This will help acquaint all relevant teams with important goals, target audiences, and upcoming product launches that can inform your overarching event strategy.

2. Gather your research

Once you have a comprehensive view of your yearly goals, dive into research.

For example, an area of focus might be a new product launch with its own separate audience.

Your team may need to learn how to promote a new product or service to a new audience or customer base. As an event planner, you’ll want to learn more details. Where is your target audience located? That may inform what types of events you want to design and promote or the types of trade shows, business conferences, or networking events you’ll want to invest in. 

As you compile your research on your target audience, products, or larger business goals, keep an eye out for recommendations from other teams (like your sales team) that can help you determine the types of events to prioritize.

Pro tip: A good rule of thumb when looking at sponsored events is to ask for testimonials, factsheets and case studies from event organizers. This will help you get a good idea of how your organization might benefit from each event and balance that information against your goals and/or your target audience.

3. Draw up your calendar

There’s always a calendar exercise involved in mapping your sponsored events for the year—particularly when it comes to in-person events. It helps to understand exactly how much time will go into the planning and organizing of each event. 

A large tradeshow or conference might take more than six months to plan, while a smaller meetup might only take a month or two. Here’s where you’ll want to confer with all your stakeholders to schedule out your time and manage bandwidth expectations for everyone involved.

Generally, sponsored virtual events are much easier to plan than live, in-person sponsored events. These are typically speaker events and occasionally virtual trade show booths, so teams can designate fewer point-people for each event and schedule more of them in a year.

4. Work out a budget

Once you have the details of the events and where you want to show up, start working out the budget. Match it against the overall event spend that you plan to allocate for the year.

5. Be clear and detailed in your proposal

You’ve got your strategy, your calendar planned out, and a general outline of your budget and suggestions and input from all the relevant teams. It’s time to bring all the necessary parts together to create your event proposal pitch.

Even though the event proposal template provided above is one sheet, it’s important to include as much information and detail as possible—especially when it comes to your budget, design assets, and return on investments. 

Being able to provide hard numbers about your expected lead counts and event spend will help you justify your event as well as set workload expectations for all your key stakeholders.

6. Keep your event proposal saved and available to everyone

Once your event is approved, the proposal can be a great building block to base other documents — like a creative brief or an event kick-off slideshow — which will further flesh out the plan for your event with additional information for different departments. 

You can even templatize your event proposal so your team can reference it for future events and quickly scope out event plans for the months or year ahead.

It can be a handy tool to compare your goals and expectations after the event has passed, and help new members of your team to dig through for information on recurring events in the future.

Plan and launch your next virtual event