The Ultimate Guide to Event Sponsorship [Types, Examples & FAQs]

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The Ultimate Guide to Event Sponsorship [Types, Examples & FAQs]

Content Specialist.
16 minutes read
June 05, 2023

Event sponsorship is the backbone of event organizations. It is the fastest-growing form of marketing in the United States. When done strategically, it offers significant benefits to both the sponsor and the organization–like improving return on investment or opening opportunities for sales.

In this article, we’ll show you the four different kinds of event sponsorships, their benefits to your organization, and how they can increase your visibility.


What Is Event Sponsorship?

Event sponsorship enables sponsors to give some sort of investment in exchange for marketing at an event.

When there’s a good match between an event and a sponsor, you can easily spread your organization’s message without the trouble of planning the event yourself.

Therefore, event sponsorship allows organizations to host bigger and better events faster and at a low cost–a win-win for both parties.

Imagine you're organizing a professional conference for your association or chamber of commerce. You want to make it a remarkable event, but you can't handle all the expenses alone. That's where event sponsorship comes in!

Event sponsorship is when businesses provide financial support, resources, or services to help make your event a success. In return, they receive promotional benefits and exposure to your event's audience. It's like forming a partnership to create something extraordinary!

Imagine you're organizing a technology conference. You reach out to tech companies to sponsor the event. In return for their support, they may have their logos displayed on event materials, get speaking opportunities, or have a dedicated booth to showcase their products and services.

This way, sponsors get valuable brand exposure to a targeted audience, while you get the necessary funds and resources to make your conference amazing. The importance of event sponsorship in the context of professional associations and chambers of commerce cannot be overstated.

In 2022, North American companies alone spent over $24 billion on event sponsorship. This shows the immense value and potential of sponsorships for associations and chambers. By tapping into event sponsorship opportunities, you can create unforgettable experiences for your members, enhance your association/chamber's reputation, and support your member community.

It's not just about the money; it's about building strong relationships and working together with businesses to create extraordinary events.


What are the 4 types of event sponsorship?

Depending on the nature and size of the event. sponsorship opportunities come in many forms. But usually they fit into the following 4 categories. 

1. Financial Event Sponsorship

financial event sponsorship

Financial, or sometimes referred to as cash sponsors, continue to be the leading type of event sponsorship. With this one, a sponsor offers money to an event organizer in exchange for promotions or other benefits outlined in their sponsorship agreement.

For large-scale events, you can create individual event sponsorship packages for those who agree to contribute to your organization.

Defining sponsorship level is the first step to take for an event to reach its full potential. Make sure to set ambitious but realistic goals. After that, you can figure out the donors, businesses to tap and select the sponsorship levels.

2. In-Kind Sponsorship

in kind event sponsorship

In-kind sponsorship provides goods or services instead of physical currency. Compared to financial sponsorship, it contributes more value to the event. Some examples of it are the following:

Venue Partner

According to a survey report, 72% of event attendees say that an event’s location is a significant factor in deciding whether they will attend the event or not.

Although planning plays a significant part in an event’s success, you have to make sure that your location suits your organization’s brand and caters to the right audience.

With this in mind, choosing the right venue partner is crucial for an event to be successful. It allows organizations to host events at their venue in exchange for a discount or a free rate.

Not only does this type of event sponsorship allow for the venue to gain exposure, but it also gives the organization a great place to host their event.

Prize Sponsors

Prize sponsors choose to donate specific items with their logos for event participants. They are a popular choice when you want to boost engagement in your event.

You may hand these items out as activity-based prizes for winners. However, you should customize them to suit your business needs.

For example, if you are a local gym membership-based organization, prize sponsors may want to donate customized weights or other gym equipment. It keeps your attendees happy while promoting the event sponsor at the same time.

Food Sponsors

An event isn't complete without food. Delectable meals can indeed elevate the attendee experience. You can even boost everyone’s interest by offering free food.

Catering is more expensive due to higher manpower. Therefore, it’s essential to find a food sponsor for your next big event.

It can yield significant results, like increasing event attendance and encouraging mingling among participants.

Digital Sponsors

You can usually find digital sponsors during tech-related events. They provide either an app for the event, poll questions, media walls, or live tweets.

With the recent switch in technology, digital sponsors are becoming increasingly popular in the event planning industry.

People enjoy fast response time and personalization. Event Venues can benefit from digital sponsors as there's a growing trend in digital event spaces popping up across the globe's most tech-driven cities.

Keep in mind that in-kind sponsorships are not limited to these four examples. There are plenty of ways to find the right ones that bring value to both the sponsor and the organization.


Tijana Marković, Head of Communications, Digital Strategy, and Event Organization at BSCC

"Thanks to GlueUp, we are now able to redirect more of our time and focus on project planning and implementation, developing new strategies, and expanding our business and network, thus we expect even higher growth rate than before."

Tijana Marković
Head of Communications, Digital Strategy, and Event Organization at BSCC
Read the full case study here >


3. Media Event Sponsorship

Media event sponsorship

The use of smartphones grows rapidly, which affects the global and localized forms of direct marketing. Technological advancements contribute to the recent shift in the appeal of media sponsorships.

A report says that 78% of the population are now smartphone users–compared to only 17% in 2008.

Due to the surge in digital activity from gadgets, companies are now advertising their events more through media sponsorships, primarily through social media.

Given the budgetary constraints that nonprofit organizations and events tend to face, this type of sponsorship most suits them.

Having readily available media sponsors is key exposure tactics for the advertisement and publicity purposes of smaller companies.

When media sponsors are present, the organizations spend less time and money on the advertisements.

Moreover, they and do not face the difficulty of purchasing the media coverage they often require.

Finding the right media sponsor for your organization is vital when determining the success of this partnership. Similarly, you need to prepare sponsorship packages that show how they can benefit sponsors to attract their interest more.

If you want to be your own media sponsor, Glue Up's CRM software allows you to keep all contact information and activity tracking up-to-date in a single location.

You can send out email campaigns to promote your events with ease using our reliable event management software.

4. Promotional Partners

promotional partners event sponsorship

Compared to media sponsors, promotional partners are individual people who have a large following on social media. They can promote your organization's event to their individual fan base.

Instagram has become a modern approach for brands to promote their products and drive sales. According to the photo and video app company, 60% of people claim they found new products on the platform, while 20% of users browse a business profile every day.

In line with this, research says 81% of consumers say they're more likely to buy products they have encountered on social media.

When it comes down to it, any kind of event sponsorship will be crucial if your organization wants to continue growing and promoting its business. Plus, it’s an excellent opportunity for your organization to reach out to other companies and create lasting connections.

Are you interested in leveraging an event management platform to make it easier for you to get your sponsorships on your web page, emails, and more? Book a demo and get a tour of the Glue Up platform!


What do event sponsors get in return?

Let’s flip the coin and explore the other side of event sponsorship. What's in it for the sponsors themselves? Consider the business conference scenario. In this case, you're not just an attendee, but a key partner making the conference possible.

Why would you want to play such a role? The answer hinges on two primary elements: visibility and reputation. Firstly, sponsoring an event serves as a giant showcase, amplifying your brand's voice to everyone: "Take notice of us! We're formidable!".

A study highlighted that 76% of consumers have a more favorable view of a company that supports a cause they believe in. Imagine your business identity being linked with a prestigious conference or a charity gala. That's a prime opportunity!

Furthermore, event sponsorship provides a unique platform to interact directly with potential members. Imagine having the ability to engage in meaningful conversations with hundreds or thousands of your potential members. That's an impactful strategy!

Another significant aspect? As a sponsor, you get to network with other businesses, creating new avenues for collaborations and partnerships. A revealing statistic shows that 72% of corporate event sponsors are continuously on the lookout for fresh partnership prospects.

However, the most compelling aspect of sponsorship transcends business metrics: it's about contributing to your community. It's about backing initiatives that resonate with your members and community at large. It's about transcending the typical corporate identity and establishing yourself as a responsible and supportive partner in the community.


How to find the right event sponsors?

For finding the right event sponsors, we need to know our event from every angle. Is it a networking mixer or a full-scale conference? What are our objectives? What's the attendee profile? Answers to these questions will guide us to identify businesses that are a natural fit for our event, based on shared goals.

Now, it's time to put ourselves in potential sponsors' shoes. What are they after? It could be lead generation, brand visibility, or access to a niche market segment. The more we comprehend their goals, the more we can personalize our sponsorship proposal to win them over.

Identifying suitable companies is key. Let's say we're organizing a tech forum - Apple or Microsoft might be more interested than, let's say, a fast-food chain. We need to research and reach out to companies that echo our event's theme and audience.

To make our search more efficient, we can leverage digital tools like SponsorMyEvent or SponsorPitch to link up with prospective sponsors. Scanning the sponsor pages of related events can be a goldmine.

If a company has sponsored a similar event, chances are, they might be up for sponsoring ours too. Before we approach a potential sponsor, let's do some recon. Who are the key people involved? What are their marketing goals? Can they afford our sponsorship package?

This reconnaissance helps us tailor a compelling pitch likely to win their sponsorship. And remember, our pitch should be all about them, not us. Highlight the benefits they'll reap from sponsoring our event.

Mention estimated attendee numbers, success stories from past sponsors, projected ROI for them, and glowing reviews from past sponsors and attendees. Let's make sure to ask essential questions to confirm that their values are compatible with ours and our event's.


How do you determine if an event sponsorship is worth it?

Just like a home run in baseball, the right event sponsorship can knock your goals out of the park. But before stepping up to the plate, we need to know how to measure success. The secret is in setting clear objectives.

Just like mapping out a journey, we need to know where we're going and what we want to achieve along the way​. We've got various tools in our kit to help us. Pre-event emails can build buzz and gauge interest.

Your sponsors' logos and messages in these emails can be a home run for visibility​. Then there's the power play of social media, where event buzz can spread like wildfire, giving sponsors their moment in the spotlight​​. On-site branding at the event, whether it's physical or digital, provides another winning strategy.

It's like having the sponsors' banners flying high in the stadium, catching every eye4​. Moreover, offering sponsors the chance to share their insights and knowledge can boost their status in the industry, just like a star player sharing tips in a post-match interview​​.

Access to attendee data can be the grand slam that sponsors are looking for, putting them in direct contact with potential customers​​. After the event, the post-event data is like the match replay, offering valuable insights into what worked and what can be improved for the next game​​.

Remember, the key is to align the sponsorship with your goals and the values of your event. Just like a baseball team choosing the right players for the right positions, you need to choose sponsors that fit your event and can help you achieve your objectives.


How much does it cost to sponsor an event?

Now, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer, because the cost can vary widely based on the size, scale, and prestige of the event. From small local gatherings to grand international conferences, the range is broad.

You could be looking at anywhere from $100 for a small local event, all the way up to $1 million or more for prominent events like music festivals or sports events​​. But, let's put our focus back on professional associations and chambers of commerce.

The key here is to remember that sponsorship is an investment, not a cost. Yes, there's a dollar figure attached, but what you're really investing in is an opportunity - to increase your visibility, boost your reputation, and connect with your potential members and business partners.

It's all about finding the right event that aligns with your goals and budget. Here's the deal - the cost of sponsorship is relative to the value you expect to get out of it. If the event aligns with your target audience, and you believe it'll enhance your brand visibility, it might be worth the investment.

It's all about the return on investment (ROI), folks! Remember, your sponsorship journey is a marathon, not a sprint. It's about building long-term relationships and growing together.


How much should you charge to sponsor an event?

Determining the right price for sponsorship involves a number of factors including the size and scope of the event, the audience demographics, the benefits offered to sponsors, and the reputation of the organization.

Keep in mind that sponsorship is not just about money – it's about building a mutually beneficial relationship between your association/chamber and the sponsor.

So, while it's important to cover your costs and make the event worthwhile, it's also crucial to provide value to the sponsor in terms of brand exposure, networking opportunities, and alignment with their target audience.

One more thing: remember that there are tools available to help manage and streamline the process of event management and sponsorship, such as the Glue up which offers features like event attendee analytics, email marketing, CRM, and secure payment processing for event attendees.


How many followers do you need to start getting sponsors?

On average, sponsors look for about 1,000 attendees at an event or followers on social media channels like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook to consider a sponsorship deal​​. That's right, just 1,000!

But remember, it's not just about the numbers. It's about the quality of your followers. Are they engaged? Do they share your content? Are they potential customers for your sponsors? If you can say 'yes' to these questions, then you're on the right track!

For you, association managers, directors, and event managers, remember that sponsorships aren't just about funding. They're partnerships that can bring numerous benefits such as increased reach, brand exposure, and potential leads.


Is it hard to get event sponsorship?

Getting event sponsorship may seem like a daunting task, but it's not as hard as you might think. It's all about understanding your event, knowing your potential sponsors, and clearly communicating the benefits to them.

The benefits for sponsors can be many - from increasing their brand exposure, reaching new customers, to aligning with a valuable cause or community. Challenges can arise, like finding the right fit or dealing with changes in circumstances, such as those caused by COVID-19. But with proper planning, research, and a compelling pitch, securing event sponsorship is achievable.

Remember, you're not alone in this journey. Tools like Glue up can be helpful in managing the process and increasing your success rate. They provide features like event registration, attendee mobile app, and more to help you navigate the sponsorship landscape with ease​​.


What is an example of event sponsorship?

Here is one incredible example of a hybrid event that absolutely crushed its sponsorship game. This event started off small, but worked its magic and attracted sponsors like magnets.

Thanks to its brilliant sponsorship strategies, they no longer have to chase after brands; sponsors come straight to them! Feeling motivated? Let's dive in and learn more about its awe-inspiring event sponsorship triumphs.

GitHub Universe

GitHub Universe is a fantastic example of how to do event sponsorship just right! The amazing folks behind the GitHub Universe event really put in a lot of effort to create sponsorship packages that hit the bullseye.

They go above and beyond to make sure everything is perfect! On the GitHub Universe sponsorship web page, they share information about the people who attend their events, their demographics, who they are and what they like.

They also show logos of big companies that are not currently sponsoring the event. However, GitHub Universe would love to have them as sponsors because they might be interested in reaching out to the event attendees.

It's like an invitation for those companies to join in and support the event! It's a super smart strategy that helps them find sponsors who are a perfect match for their event. GitHub is like a master in the art of sponsorship.

Other similar examples are re:Invent by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Gartner Marketing Symposium and Reuters’ MOMENTUM.


How Glue up simplifies event sponsorships?

Glue up’s Event management software (EMS) is a superhero for event planning! It's a one-stop-shop for everything you need to manage an event, making life easier for association managers and directors, and event managers.

So, how does this relate to event sponsorships? Well, Glue up EMS simplifies them greatly! Let's say you're planning an event for your professional association or chamber of commerce. You'll need sponsors for your event, right?

Glue up offers a centralized platform to manage every aspect of an event, including sponsorships. You can keep track of all your sponsors, communicate with them, and even handle data related to them. It's like having an extra pair of hands! Another cool thing about Glue up is that it saves you time.

It automates tasks like registration and ticketing, which leaves you with more time to focus on finding and managing sponsors. Plus, it can even save you money and make your event more cost-effective!

What is the future revenue outlook for the global events industry by 2028?

Did you know that the global events industry is booming? According to a report by Research Dive, it's expected to generate a whopping revenue of $1,457.2 million by 2028! That's huge! And guess what? The industry is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.1% during this forecast period.

So, it's an exciting time for event professionals like us! If you're involved in organizing events, this is definitely something to pay attention to.

The increasing revenue in the events industry means there are ample opportunities for associations, chambers of commerce, and other organizations to benefit from event sponsorships and reach new potential members and business partnerships. It's a thriving market that you don't want to miss out on.

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