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You are not required to solicit sponsorship monies to help offset costs for your meeting. However, if you decide to try for sponsorship funding, below are some tips from Paul Doss, 2008 North-Central Committee Chair which you may find very helpful.

From: Paul Doss
Sent: Monday, August 04, 2008 10:40 AM
Subject: Re: tips for getting sponsorships

In addition to starting early!...I think five things specifically helped me the most in my fundraising.

1)--I targeting prospects that were clearly linked to my selection of Keynote speaker. I invited a speaker that had made international press with geological research in an Illinois coal mine. Then I targeted the regional “powerhouse” coal producer and the Illinois State Survey.
2)--I highlighted specific elements of the program that were relevant to specific sponsors.
3)--I targeted prominent local and regional corporations that I knew had deep pockets.
4)--I didn’t mess around with “nickels and dimes.” I set up a sponsorship packet modeled off of the national meeting (levels such as diamond, gold, etc) and made the smallest listed amount as $200-$499 (of all my cash sponsors that I solicited, only one gave in the lowest level, and nearly all gave in the $1000-$4999 level).
5)--I personalized a detailed letter to every one of my sponsorship prospects. Only one of my sponsor prospects declined the opportunity to give.

I prepared a sponsorship solicitation packet that included the detailed personal letter, a general sponsor call, and a page of sponsor levels and benefits (I have included a letter example and the other pages here if you wish to use them). I also played one or two sponsors off each other (ethically of course). For example, I sought sponsorship from our Historic New Harmony program here at the University, and after they gave $600.00, I knew my college dean would never let that program have a larger sponsorship than him—so he gave much more after informing him of the New Harmony amount. I assured all sponsors that they would get significant exposure, and I prepared a cool (and cheap) looping PowerPoint “electronic banner” that ran all meeting long in the exhibit hall.
Dr. Paul K. Doss, LPG #2047
Department of Geology
University of Southern Indiana
Evansville, IN 47712