A beginners guide to sponsoring

Although it is in everyone’s lips, is not always clear what it is sponsorship. Usually it refers to a financial support of a person, organization, or company to perform a certain activity. This may be an event, but also a person can be sponsored per se, such as an athlete. Of course sponsorship can also be done in kind. In the following, we will restrict ourselves to sponsorship of events in the form of financial support, which is also the most common type on SponsorMyEvent.com

Usually, the sponsor for the service expects something in return, usually in the form of advertising that will make the sponsors brand, products or services known to a wider audience. For this purpose the organizer usually offers sponsor-packages that contain, depending on the size of the sponsorship certain services in return. Most often, this is the application of logos either at events, but also the presentation of logos on a website, or print media. Occasionally, the sponsor receives in return for its sponsorship free tickets for the event to be distributed to his clients.

Amount of sponsoring

The amount of the sponsoring depends on several criteria:

  • Popularity of the event and the organizer
  • Expected number of visitors
  • General visibility
  • Target group and nature of the event
  • Economic

Popularity of the event

galaThe equation is simple: the more attractive the event is, the more sponsors will be interested in the event and the price of the sponsorship will be correspondingly higher.
Gaining popularity can be tricky. An unknown organizer with little experience will hardly be able to win high-profile participants for an event, nor will he be able to lift a logistically big event. However, it is quite possible that events grow from year to year, gaining popularity and credibility.
This is easier for established event-organizers, mostly because there might exist already contacts with sponsors and a corresponding network. Sponsors of course also like to work with organizers who have already proven themselves at earlier events.

As a relatively unknown organizer, however, one should not immediately throw in the towel. Many sponsors are always on the lookout for interesting new events that open up to new customers. The tricky point here: you somehow have to make your events known, so that these “hungry sponsors” become aware, that there exists such an event.

Number of visitors

tradeshowAt first sight, one might think that the equation “the more visitors, the more attractive for sponsors” would always apply. That may be true for sponsors that cover a broad consumer market and aim to reach a big audience with sponsoring. But instead very focused events with a very specific audience can be interesting for sponsors that that seek a clearly defined audience. In this case, the number of visitors plays a smaller role and the quality of visitors are put in front.

Nevertheless, the number of visitors has in each case a direct impact on the amount of the expected sponsorship money, yet it has always to be seen in correlation with the quality of visitors and the expected ROI for the sponsors. Each organizer should be clear about what value a visitor has for a sponsor. The higher this value is, the higher the sponsorship can be.

General Visibility

Sponsorship that is not visible has no impact. Each organizer should be of this fact. If you want to attract sponsors, you have to give them a showcase for their brand, product or service. In other words: give them visibility.
You do not necessarily have to reinvent the wheel, but you will be dependent on what sponsors usually expect. Sponsors usually have material available that is used repeatedly for sponsorships: roll-ups, flyers, brochures, logos, possibly videos, etc. If you want to position yourself as an organizer with a brand new sponsorship concept you will risk that the potential sponsor simply doesn’t have the right material available and first needs to produce the right support, sometimes at expensive costs. In this case it might be that the sponsor jumps ship even before it starts.

Thus: stick with the well-tried and play the safe card not to vex interesting sponsors. However: the mix makes the difference. Why not try something new, modern in addition to the classic packages? It might be that this will be exactly the new idea that a sponsor was waiting for and is ready to dig deep into his pockets.

Target group and alignment

Who you want to actually respond to your call for sponsoring? Just as important as the number of visitors is to be aware at what kind of audience the event is aimed at. Where to expect a very homogeneous audience at a conference for cancer diagnosis, the audience will turn out to be extremely heterogeneous at a football event. The more homogeneous the audience, most likely the more limited the circle of sponsors will be. We can even say, that the amount of sponsorship of an event with a very homogenous audience depends more on the quality of the event, whereas at an event with a heterogenous audience it depends more on the size of the audience.

This must be borne in mind both both when selecting the sponsors, as well as when creating the sponsor-packages. Not to be forgotten also that recurring events with a stable audience might be more interesting for sponsors, because the effects of sponsorship can better be planned ahead.


presentationThe economy has a direct impact not only on the amount of sponsoring, but also on the availability of sponsors. In hard economic times, some companies tend to significantly scale back their spending on sponsorship. In contrary others are viewing in a sluggish economy, the chance to present themselves very efficiently and to develop new markets, or to consolidate existing ones.

When specifying the amount of the sponsorship, you should always keep the economy in mind. The equation is simple: in a strong economy, more companies will be willing to spend money on sponsoring, in a weak one, there will be few. If you find yourself in a weak economy, you should definitely emphasize that the event can be a great opportunity for sponsors.

About the author

Peter Poehle

CEO & Co-Founder of SponsorMyEvent