To Sponsor or Not To Sponsor?

When you get a call from a local association, you may be asking yourself that question. Clubs and professional groups alike often rely on corporate sponsorship for their financial support, but even the most generous company can’t possibly sponsor every group that asks. Smart considerations can help simplify the decision making process.

Overlapping Markets

Most groups promise to reward your company’s generosity with a banner at their event or an ad in their newsletter. The first step in making sure that display is effective is considering what market the group targets. A group targeted to children may not be the best fit for a real estate company, while a young professional association could be a better fit. Determining their target audience is a great first step.

Exposure Level

As with any type of marketing, the more exposure your business gets, the more likely it is to be seen and acted on. Before you agree to a new sponsorship, determine exactly how your business will be represented. This includes the format, the level of control you’ll have over the creative design, and whether you’ll be given direct access to the audience. If you have enough input and a large enough share of the audience’s attention, it may be worthwhile to sponsor.


Another consideration is who else is sponsoring? Often, groups will contact many businesses in the same field, giving rise to the possibility that you and a few of your competitors may all be intending to sponsor. This could be either a positive or negative thing. If you can advertise in a way that clearly shows the advantage of working with your company, sponsorship may be a good idea. However, this is often difficult to do in a single banner. If the event is filled with similar businesses, you may want to avoid sponsorship. Your message is likely to be diluted with all the similar advertisements.

What are your Goals?

Marketing is only successful when it is attempted with a specific goal. Whether you want to reach a wider regional area, expand to a new demographic, or build credibility in your field, different audiences can help your business achieve its goal. Consider whether the specific sponsorship actually leads you toward your goal. Often, what seems like a promising area can be redundant. Why market to audiences you’ve already captured? Ensuring that your sponsorship will reach exactly who you need to reach will help you evaluate if the match is appropriate for your business.

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