Novice event organisers may think it's going to be easy to convince a sponsor to come on board, as long as their product and event are a good match. But as veterans of events know, it's a long and complex process. 'You need to nurture people,' says Nancy Tan, who runs business-to-business events as managing director of the Singapore branch of Ace Daytons Direct. 'Most sponsors come in after three or four meetings. So it takes maybe a year to get one sponsor.' As soon as you're done with the event, you also need to nurture them for next year. That involves plenty of follow-up and as much quantification of the kinds of benefits the sponsor saw from sponsoring the event. It's an absolutely essential, if time-consuming, process to get sponsors on board. There's no way most events would ever get off the ground if they didn't have them. 'If there are no sponsors, there will be no event,' Tan says. 'Registration fees don't cover the total budget, so it would be too expensive - the cost of operations is quite high.' And sponsored events can be a perfect way of reaching a very targeted audience, according to Monimita Sarkar, managing director of KW Conferences, which organises events in India. 'You get a very, very focused audience,' she says. 'As a sponsor, you'll be a speaker and you get special networking time. Often we might have a private breakfast just for the speakers or very high level delegations just with the sponsor.' One of Tan's specialities is to put on events for the medical profession. Such events allow companies that make drugs or medical equipment to talk directly to consumers and doctors in a much more direct way than if they advertise in medical journals. 'If you just do public relations or advertising ... in a journal, it doesn't mean people have read it, or that they paid attention. With sponsorship, you open up a dialogue and they can communicate directly with the consumer. They will be your ambassador,' Tan says. Besides business-to-business conferences, there's also sponsorship for public events such as festivals, concerts and sports events. That can involve much bigger dollar figures, but also a much greater reach in terms of audience. The Singapore office of IMG Artists has put together one-off events such as jazz singer and pianist Diana Krall's 2008 tour of China, sponsored by Rolex, and also runs recurring events such as LIVE!, a conference and trade event for the performing arts which took place in Singapore in June. The industry-focused event was put on by three sponsors, Mercedes-Benz, Lufthansa and IndoChine. 'Event sponsorship for corporates can be quite an inexpensive way to get a lot of mileage,' says Mindy Coppin, the Singapore-based senior vice-president and director of IMG Artists (Asia-Pacific). IMG also works on the annual Singapore Sun Festival, a huge, multi-event set of concerts and performances that spans music, wine, cuisine, health, literature, film and the visual arts. The Sun Festival, which takes place this year from October 29 to November 7, has a wide range of sponsors at various levels, some devoted to one specific event and others ranging across the whole festival. Events allow sponsors to demonstrate that they're tapped into and supporting their local community. That's particularly true with events such as the Sun Festival, which has backing from the Singapore government, meaning the sponsor wins 'brownie points' for fulfilling its civic duty.