How do I get sponsorships for the house? How do I throw events and bring the community together around our house?
Coming in right after how to organize a house, events and sponsorships are probably the second two most frequently questions I get asked all the time.
You might think about getting sponsorships for a variety of reasons, i.e. partnering with a brand name, subsidizing the house costs & rent, access to a company’s resources and team, etc. On top of cheaper housing options that come with coliving, having a sponsor(s) to help with reducing rent or house costs is a sweet deal.
From a company’s perspective, why would they want to sponsor? If companies are going to deploy capital towards an initiative, they are going to be doing so under the expectation of return. The ROI they are looking for is specific to the company’s goals (which is why it’s always important to have conversations with the sponsor to ensure you are providing what they are looking for and it’s a mutually beneficial partnership) or typically under the following:
1. Marketing/PR/Brand Promotion
This one is pretty straightforward. For a company, sponsoring a house can help get their brand name out & widen reach through marketing with the house. It provides opportunity for PR for their initiatives (reaching more Gen Z, reaching more women/BIPOC) and promoting a new project or initiative of the company. It also positions them to be a supporter of the community.
2. IRL Community/ Grass root Efforts
Sometimes companies have community, marketing, sales, or business development budgets that they have towards connecting with their potential customers or Gen Z, but don’t know how to exactly get started. Coliving houses, typically the center of gravity for IRL communities, can serve as the bridge and partner to help with those initiatives. This is often the most common type of sponsorship with hosting events and bringing people together IRL.
3. Access to talent pipeline
Companies that are hiring typically find that networking and events are the best way to meet people personally and source talent early. Through access to the house members, the community network, and people that attend your events, companies can realize their return through finding & hiring key employees.
4. Access to allocation, dealflow, or equity
If the sponsor is a VC, they are always looking specifically to get in early on deals, access to allocation, etc. Similar to hiring, VCs can identify and meet founders through the house, community network, and people that attend the events. I’ve also seen some houses operate on an equity-based model, where the VC can determine which founders/companies can join the house or have an early involvement in the companies that are in the house.
How to Find Sponsors
A lot of it does come down to networks and meeting people that would be interested in backing/supporting an initiative like this through capital. If you’re doing cold-outreach, here’s what I would recommend:
Identify your ideal companies that are in your industry that you want to partner with.
Look at other companies that are also sponsoring and doing community initiatives.
Use Linkedin or Twitter to find who works in the following areas at those companies. These are the roles and people who have budget to support initiatives like hacker houses and coliving.
Once you find those people, I’d recommend using Twitter to cold DM them (or whichever platform makes sense for your industry) — feel free to use the following cold template
Hey there! Saw (you/company name) were active in the (location/industry) community & thought I’d reach out - I’m running (House Name) and would love to chat about potential ways to collaborate & partner! Let me know if interested :)
The goal is to hop on a call with them and chat. It’s important to understand what they are looking to get out of this and mold the partnership around what is mutually beneficial (basically go in with a framework for what you want to get out of it and stay flexible to the specific sponsor)
Put together a general deck or page that outlines what the sponsorship engagement would look like. I usually like to send that in writing to them before we actually hop on a call so they can read through and have context before the meeting. The deck is just a rough guideline and by no means is set in stone. Every sponsor is unique and has different goals.
For reference, Elysian House took multiple sponsors ranging $2K - $10K each, but I have also seen houses that get one main sponsor anywhere from $25K to six figures. It varies and really depends on the company and what both of you can mutually provide.
Typically events are the best way to bring in initial sponsors and that can serve as the catalyst for a larger relationship and sponsorship. (We’ve had sponsors that we did one event with end up putting in more money and expanding the scope of our partnership)
Throughout the process, the most important thing is being clear about what the sponsor is getting & what the money is being spent on. Transparency and clarity is key.
When receiving sponsorships, I would count it as a 1099/Individual Contractor and send over a W9 form along. This applies to any bank wire payments. If it was a crypto or web3 company, I would accept sponsorship money in either USDC, ETH, or Sol (whichever you prefer).
The best coliving houses I’ve seen also serve as a center point of gravity for the IRL community. And events are a key way to bring people together. They can range from 10 people get togethers, all the way to hundreds of people for a happy hour or party. Again, like every other part of a house, it all depends on what makes sense for you.
At Elysian House, we did a total of 15 planned/external events across 4 months.
Choose date & time, purpose, and size (# of people).
Fireside Chat/Speaker Panel
Find a Location/Venue
If your house has capacity to host, then do so there
You can also ask around friends for office spaces, co-working spaces, etc.
is an awesome site to find places around you that cater and deliver. Be sure to book at least 24 hours in advance.
Alcohol - I’d steer away from purchasing hard alcohol (we did have some events where our hard alcohol was lying around and people ended up rallying shots and having a great time) so generally going for hard seltzers, beers, wines, and hard kombucha.
Generally I’d estimate 1-2 drinks per person (that also might just be the SF culture, people don’t drink too much here)
What to Do Post-Event
I usually like to share a photo(s) of the event on socials to recap. See examples:
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I also send a post-event email to everyone that attended (grab contact information from the sign ups) thanking them for coming and any call-to-actions that I want them to take. The email is also a great spot to plug the recap photo and have them like/support the post!
also has a feature where it will automatically ask the event attendees for feedback on the event – always helpful to keep track of that. Debrief with the sponsor post-event and listen to their feedback. It’s always helpful to do this check-in and ensure that they were happy with how things went, and if not, how to improve.