Every year companies spend billions on corporate event sponsorships, providing smaller organizations with financial support for their events, brands, and teams. In 2022, it was estimated that well-known corporate brands spent more than $68 billion in sports, entertainment, social cause, and event sponsorship properties.
The purpose of getting sponsors for any event helps to increase brand loyalty among businesses and customers. It can introduce a company to a completely new marketplace, helping them increase its brand visibility and recognition. Getting sponsors requires companies to effectively partner and collaborate with financial partners through branding and marketing efforts, and has become a massive part of any organization’s marketing strategy.
From small 20-person events to hosting a marathon or music festival – attracting sponsors is about creating a valuable return, and providing companies with an attractive reward through brand awareness. The better a company can offer these types of benefits and rewards for sponsors, the more likely they are to receive more lucrative sponsors in the future.
Types of Sponsorship for Events
With a variety of event sponsorships to choose from, companies that seek financial assistance for their events from third parties will need to ensure they acquire the right type of sponsorship for their event.
1. Financial Sponsorship
The first, and perhaps most common event sponsorship type is direct financial support for an event. These sponsors are provided in cash to a company or event planner. Providing organizations with financial sponsorship allows them to direct the funds toward purchases needed for the event.
Typically a company will already have a financial officer who delegates the sponsorship procedure and transfer of funds. Cash is typically the easiest form of event sponsorship, and some corporate companies use their sponsors as tax incentives.
2. In-Kind Sponsorship
Another well-known type of sponsorship is in-kind event sponsorship, where companies provide goods and services as prices for an event.
A typical example of this is companies sponsoring vouchers or physical prizes as an award to a company that’s hosting prize giving or award ceremony. Often companies offer in-kind sponsorship as it provides them an opportunity to market a new product or service to a new marketplace of consumers. e
It’s important to know that both financial sponsors and in-kind sponsors are not considered charity giveaways, as there is typically some commercial agreement between companies.
3. Media Sponsorship
Companies that require advertising or media exposure for their event can acquire a media event sponsorship, as this will help to expand their media coverage either through printed media or digital format.
The form of distribution and coverage will typically depend on the company that provides the media sponsor. Companies that require a media sponsorship package will in return receive marketing exposure for their event, by the sponsor posting about the event online, on their website, or social media.
The media agreement will usually outline the type of distribution and for how long an event will be advertised. Media sponsors are a great way for brands to receive increased recognition, not only for their events but for their companies as well, helping to establish an authoritative influence in their existing marketplace and among new consumers.
4. Venue / Virtual Event Sponsorship
Depending on the size of the event and requirements, often companies will go into agreements with event sponsorship for an event or location at which they can host their event. Some corporate companies own commercial property such as stadiums, arenas, and theaters that can be sponsored at a discounted or free rate for an organization.
A venue sponsor can help a company save a lot of money, as venue hire typically takes up a majority of the event budget. Depending on the agreement and venue package, companies will often require that their branding is displayed across the venue or designated as the main sponsor for the event.
For virtual events, which grew in popularity during the height of the pandemic, virtual sponsorships can help with pre-event exposure and media coverage.
On top of this, these sponsors are considered an important component of the planning process, assisting organizations with virtual venue costs, or allocating funds for specific event requirements such as paying for marketing, event branding, or even guest speakers.
As more companies recognize the benefits and practicality of virtual events, the more virtual sponsorships will grow in popularity.
5. Merchandise Sponsorship
Another well-known type of sponsor is through merchandise, where companies provide organizations with either financial capital or physical merchandise for their event. These types of sponsors are typically companies that operate within the textile or retail industry, such as clothing brands or corporate workwear businesses.
Organizations seeking merchandise sponsors are usually those that seek branding for their event personnel or to help boost recognition for their event. Merchandise is often seen as an affordable and easy way to increase the exposure of a brand or event, and is often seen as free marketing for events.
In some cases, companies provide merchandise sponsors to help increase marketing awareness for new products or services, including these items along with prizes and giveaways as part of the event.
Merchandise sponsors help with brand awareness, both for the event and the company providing the sponsor. Due to the nature of the exposure, companies are often more inclined to provide merchandise sponsors for small and large events.
6. Promotional Sponsorship
Although people often confuse promotional and media sponsors, there is a strong difference between the two. For starters, promotional sponsors are typically individuals such as influencers or prominent media figures that have a massive social media following or fan base. On the other hand, media sponsors are companies or organizations that can provide media coverage for an event.
Promotional sponsors have grown in popularity, as the rise of social media influencers become an increasingly crucial part of digital marketing strategies. Promotional sponsors will typically be approached by the company hosting the event, in hopes of the person sharing the event with their following.
Nowadays companies are spending millions on influencer marketing, as consumers are more likely to purchase products or services that have been recommended by an authoritative individual. Consumers will often associate themselves more with brands and influencers that partner or collaborate on events, helping companies increase marketing efforts, return on investment, and attract more potential event attendees.
Check Out How to Get Sponsors for an Event:
Examples of Event Sponsorship
With thousands of companies seeking event sponsorship today there is a near-endless list of examples of event sponsorships that have forever inspired companies and organizations.
These sponsors have helped add value and credibility to events, and those organizations that support them. It potentially helped cover event costs and raise awareness targeted at specific interests helping to bridge the gap between the company and different types of consumers.
The first example is GitHub which provides event sponsorship through its lucrative list of network connections and consumer-centered data. GitHub helps organizations with event sponsorship packages by providing companies access to demographic data, consumer trends analysis and estimates, and further exposure to well-known corporate companies.
Another example of event sponsorship is FinCon, a hybrid event for financial professionals. FinCon sponsorship includes different areas of expertise, all focused on raising guidance for companies by providing them with information and data related to organizational operations. FinCon makes it straightforward for companies in the financial sector to increase exposure for their services and products, and attract the right attendees to events.
INBOUND has become a globally recognized digital marketing event that is hosted online and is an event sponsorship that provides companies with impactful conversion rates. INBOUND events have grown to more than 70,000 attendees annually and provide both small and large companies with a platform through which they can connect with corporate partners and increase marketplace awareness.
Not all event sponsors are the same, and organizations will typically look for sponsors that relate to their industry. Through this companies can network with potential sponsors and help build better brand recognition among consumers.
How to Get Corporate Sponsorship for an Event
Before an organization secures a sponsor for their event, they need to consider whether they need a corporate or business sponsor. While both can provide financial support for the event, it’s often possible to secure sponsors at different levels of the event.
Corporate sponsors are typically companies that are leaders in their industry, have an authoritative influence, and see millions divested into annual sponsorships for events. While corporate sponsors can provide bigger and more lucrative sponsor packages, they tend to be the most difficult to secure as so many organizations are seeking support and guidance from these companies.
To secure corporate event sponsorship, here’s a look at some of the things you can do.
Select Companies That Align With Event Objectives
One of the first things to do while researching for corporate sponsors is to look for companies that have similar values and company objectives as that of the organization and the event.
While corporate sponsors may have the finances and industry influence, it’s often difficult to find companies that support the same objectives as your organization or event. For example, it would be a business faux pas to partner with companies that are operating in the exact opposite direction of your business.
It’s crucial to research different companies and select a few you’d like to approach. Take some time to get to know the companies, who their target audience is, and what their influence in the industry is. Corporate sponsors may have the influence, but this can either be a positive or negative outcome for your event.
Companies may be open to providing sponsors, but what will your event give back to them in return for the support? To ensure you can foster a lasting relationship with specific sponsors, ensure that you have something to give them such as consumer exposure, market influence, or potential business opportunities.
Often, companies seek a return on their investment, and in most instances, this comes with increasing their market exposure. Organizations in this case can provide their sponsors with online consumer metrics, and impressions their company receives in specific untapped market categories.
It’s important to provide something valuable in return that corporate companies can benefit from in the near term. Startups and smaller companies can potentially benefit from corporate sponsors, but so do these companies as they can provide them with innovative tools and services for long-term growth.
Have a Clear-cut Proposal
The last thing companies want to deal with is proposals that are not written, and provide little to no objectives. It’s important to compile an event proposal that gets straight to the point and delivers useful information that can help support your application.
Think of it as applying for a job, only this time you’re asking a company for money and support. Be clear in your intentions, and have a well-detailed event plan.
Additionally, don’t beat around the bush about what you require for the event. If you need a financial sponsorship, clearly state the amount required and how funds will be used to put the event together. If it’s a merchandise or media sponsorship, provide the basic information, and how these sponsors will help to increase exposure for the event.
Take the time to compile a proposal that focuses on the important aspects of the event, and how corporate sponsorship will help increase event visibility and company exposure.
Conduct a Follow-up
Once you have submitted your proposal, and have gone through the different phases of acquiring the sponsorship, it’s important to follow up on the process. Often companies will approve a sponsor proposal, only to take several weeks, even months to divulge the necessary resources for the event.
Establish a clear line of communication from the start, as this will ensure both parties will remain informed throughout the progress. Have a designated employee or individual in the company that can constantly liaise with corporate sponsors about the process and what the organization can expect in terms of sponsorship status.
It’s typically during this phase that companies establish firm and healthy relationships with their sponsors, to concretely inaugurate a partnership.
Check Out How Sponsors Evaluate and Measure Event Sponsorships:
How to Get Businesses to Sponsor Your Event
Business sponsors for events are often different, but can also provide organizations with financial support and guidance. Although their sponsors might be smaller, in terms of monetary value, these relationships are typically important for organizations looking to improve their influence within a given industry or sector, while at the same time growing their consumer support.
Here’s an overview of how an organization can secure a business sponsor for their event.
Establish an Asset-based Relationship
One of the important elements that will help to secure a business sponsor for an event is to establish an asset-based relationship. Businesses that provide sponsors for events do so based on the principle that they want something out of it in return.
When approaching businesses with a sponsorship proposal, be clear about the potential value the event will bring to their business and clients. Unlike corporate companies that already have teams of employees researching target audience demographics, and creating predictive models or psychographics, smaller and medium-sized businesses will often lack these elements within their structure.
If your event can provide them with better insight into these facets, clearly indicate it in the sponsorship proposal and provide them with the necessary feedback they are seeking. During the planning process, identify unique incentives that can help to distinguish you from any potential competitors.
Request Different Sponsors
Another way to secure a business event sponsor is to request more than one type of business sponsor. Start by creating different sponsor packages that can cover a broad range of assets such as finance, merchandise, promotional, or media coverage.
Perhaps you may approach a business for a financial sponsor, but they are unable to provide significant financing. Instead, offer an alternative that you can leverage to your advantage.
Make sure that the businesses you approach can provide the resources you’re looking for or need for your event. It will be redundant to request sponsorship from businesses that are unable to provide any type of sponsor, despite your event offering them several incentives.
Promote the Sponsor
Although the event is predominantly about your organization, it’s crucial to properly promote the business or sponsor it as well. Make sure to include business names and logos in all advertising material, online content, and at the event.
If the business provides promotional material, such as banners, flyers, and posters for the event, be sure to include this as much as possible to ensure they are receiving the necessary exposure they expect.
Make sure you know what the sponsor wants, and how you can fulfill these needs as much as possible. Negotiate as much as possible throughout the process, this way you can assure the sponsor and yourself that both parties will benefit from the event.
Negotiate Terms and Conditions
It’s often easier for organizers to negotiate their terms and conditions with business owners compared to corporate sponsors. Seeing that event organizers will often meet face-to-face with owners, and not necessarily a large team, it becomes effortless to negotiate what your organization wants, and what you can provide the business.
It’s always better to meet a business halfway and to provide them with alternatives when needed. Consider both the sponsors’ needs and requirements, and align that with the event objectives.
If you’re unable to provide them with what they are asking for, devise a plan that can ensure the business will benefit from the event, and the organization will still achieve its goals.
Sponsorships for Virtual Events
Sponsorship for virtual events is still a relatively new territory many companies are busy exploring. Unlike in-person events that can provide a direct line of communication between organizations and event attendees, hosting virtual events often requires companies to have tailor-made experiences that can help achieve the best possible results for their sponsors.
Virtual events can offer organizations and their sponsors more qualified-lead generation, consumer relationship building, and brand awareness online – it’s important to communicate these possibilities in the sponsorship proposal.
Types of Virtual Event Sponsorships:
- Digital marketing templates on websites and online stores.
- Banner ads and pop-up ads on mobile apps or the sponsor website.
- Video ads that can be published on social media posts.
- Virtual breakout and discussion rooms.
- Algorithmic provisions and virtual meet-up booths.
- Branded virtual meeting rooms before and during the event.
How Many Followers Do You Need to Get Paid Sponsorship?
Micro-influencers, those with 10,000 or fewer followers, can secure event sponsorships with small brands. While macro-influencers, individuals with hundreds of thousands of followers, can secure collaborations with corporate brands.
How Long Is Your Sponsor Responsible for You?
This typically depends on the sponsor agreement and can be anything from three months leading up to the event and during the event itself. If organizations and companies have agreed on an established relationship, the sponsor may have some influence regarding future events.
How Do I Find a Sponsor Online?
Run campaigns targeted at specific sponsors and provide valuable information or resources that will benefit the company. Additionally, it’s important to research businesses and companies that operate within your industry.
How Much Money Does a Sponsor Need?
Genuinely there is no minimum or maximum amount of money a sponsor is required to have, as this will be determined in the sponsorship agreement. Although the monetary contribution is the best type of sponsor, companies can also sponsor media coverage, merchandise, or promotional materials.
Is a Sponsorship a Tax Write-Off?
The IRS outlines that if a sponsorship is considered advertising and qualifies as a sponsorship payment based on IRS guidelines, it’s possible that a sponsorship can be considered tax-deductible.
Finding an event sponsor is a tedious process that comes with a range of challenges. While companies allocate millions each year to organizations as event sponsorships, these dollars will need to translate into a valuable return for the sponsor.
Organizations need to seek sponsors with similar values to their company and support event objectives. It would be pointless to secure a sponsor if the business is unable to support the event, either financially or through marketplace influence.
In the same breath, event organizers need to provide companies with attractive benefits that will help them increase their exposure to a new group of consumers and promote their products or services.
Ultimately, event organizers want to partner with companies that share the same prospect regarding the industry and the consumers and can establish a valuable relationship with one another for the long term.