You’ve likely seen sponsored banners at sporting or community events, that display a business’ name in conjunction with the event. Corporations contribute staff, resources, and money towards these community or sporting events in exchange for some advertising and publicity.

Without corporate sponsorship, many events would not take place. The cost of organizing, running and cleaning up after an event will often require the funds of a corporate sponsor. A corporation will sponsor an event in full or in part, and the sponsorship -- cash, staff, or resources -- is offered in exchange for publicity. The sponsorship arrangement is mutually beneficial for corporation and sponsoring organization.

Hosting a 5K is costly. A children’s charity may decide to hold a 5K event. The charity will need a website set up for registrations, which costs money. Runners will need t-shirts and race number tags for their shirts. The charity will have to spend time negotiating with the city for permission to hold the race. Permits need to be purchased. Cones and barriers will need to be rented. And let’s not forget tables for registration, water and snack stations, and the very necessary port-a-potties. The costs mount, and since most of these events are held by non-profits, the funds that come from corporate sponsorship are a must.

What Are Benefits of Sponsorship?

Sponsorship of a sporting, charity, or community event helps corporations:

  • develop a reputation for community involvement
  • reinforce the company’s image as a business leader or research pioneer
  • sell a product
  • raise awareness for a new product or product line
  • give management and employees a chance to give back to the community
  • incorporate product demonstrations, for instance, all runners may be using a new pedometer provided by the sponsor

Advertising is an enormous business expense. Print or TV ads may be seen by potential customers, but response is not guaranteed. A business will have an online presence through its website and social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Through ads and online exposure, a business can raise its profile, but what about foot traffic to its location?

If your business is a brick-and-mortar store or chain of stores, people will stop by while driving past. A business without a storefront, such as an insurance company, needs to position its business in front of an audience that is receptive to learning about its brand. What better way to gain an audience than to post a banner at a golfing tournament or have the company logo used on a menu card for a dinner event? During the event, all participants will see the banner, and some may take home the benefit program. Others will wear a race t-shirt with the company logo long after the event. The brand stays with attendees, and they have a better impression of the company for its participation in a community event.

What Events Can You Sponsor?

The sky is the limit for a business seeking sponsorship. Look at the organizations in your local area. Which ones would be a good fit for your business? Have you lost an employee to a long-term illness? Is your staff planning to run in a 5K as part of an in-house weight loss club? Involve employees in the planning process. Events requiring sponsorship can be:

  • service clubs -- Lions, Rotary Club
  • charitable groups -- American red Cross, American Cancer Society
  • political organizations
  • community celebrations -- chili cook offs
  • sports leagues -- Little League, Pop Warner football
  • youth clubs -- Boys and Girls Clubs of America, YMCA
  • fundraisers

Sponsoring a Blogger

For the last couple of years, the numbers of people blogging has risen significantly. Many bloggers are moms who write about family, friends, their lives, and the products that they love. Dads bloggers, techies, homeschooling parents, and organic cooks are now writing highly successful and popular blogs.

For some, writing about a highly efficient washing machine may attract the attention of the manufacturer of the washer. A blogger can team up with a brand in a sponsorship arrangement. The washing machine manufacturer may provide the blogger with hotel and travel expenses to a blogging conference. The blogger may agree to write a series of blog posts on washing different types of garments in exchange for hotel and travel costs to a conference. This sponsorship is mutually beneficial as the blogger is afforded the opportunity to attend a conference while the brand has potential access to all of the blogger’s subscribers, Twitter and Facebook friends, as well as get in front of conference attendees. It’s more affordable for the brand to sponsor a highly influential blogger than to pay for an exhibit table at the conference.

Sponsoring a Conference

Business conferences are expensive to run. The tickets purchased by attendees will likely cover a fraction of the cost of running a conference at a hotel or convention center. Many conferences offer a variety of sponsorship packages to businesses to offset expenses. Sponsorship levels may include high-profile placement of the corporate logo on the banner behind the speaker’s podium during the conference or naming a session after the business, the “Widget Corporation’s Session on Innovations” or the “Mutual Health Refreshment Break.”

Find a way to build sponsorships into your marketing plan. With the right partnerships, sponsorships can net you better results than traditional advertising.