What is a sponsorship?

A sponsorship involves two main aspects:

  1. A transaction between a sponsor and a sponsor object, where the object receives a remuneration in return for obtaining the rights to be associated with the object.
  2. The sponsors marketing of this associate right(s).


Both activities are necessary if the licensee’s costs are going to be a meaningful investment.


The definition distinguishes between the activity to enter into a business agreement that gives rights to the sponsored object, and the activity of utilising this right. The term “reciprocity” is often used as a description of this activity. A sponsorship is thus an investment (money or services) in an object with the purpose to gain access to the commercial potential linked to the object. One can thus invest in the rights of an object, but the investment is worthless if one cannot market the cooperation towards the relevant audience. Marketing of the cooperation is what we often regard as “activation” 


Sponsorship has changed from being about gifts and alms, to becoming a professional communication tool with return requirements. One can see a shift from focus on logo exposure to activating the audience where you access this in a more targeted manner.


A sponsorship is a cost-effective communication medium. It is a modern way to communicate the relevance and creating anchoring in the audience by letting them take part in the sponsorship. Sponsorships contribute to attention which in turn provides increased sales, positive publicity for the sponsor/product, motivation of employees and increased loyalty from customers. This sponsorship motives may act together or separately, but it is wise that you as the object note which motivation is linked to your event or concept. 


Clarification on concepts related to sponsorship:


This is a sponsorship:

Barter: – (often called in-kind) – goods and services given in return, not money. Note that these goods and services must be charged with VAT (check with national legislations), so it is not completely “free”.


Branded content/experience marketing – Branded content is a newer form of communication medium, which blurs the line between advertising and entertainment. Unlike conventional entertainment, branded content is generally financed entirely by a brand or a company. Experience marketing is used for events and installations, film, video games, music, internet and television.


This is not a sponsorship:

Gifts – foundations/trusts, businesses, individuals or others that gives you money, without expectations or requirements for consideration, based on an application or a donation. This is charity/philanthropy.


Advertising – a tool in a company’s sales strategy to increase sales.


Corporal Social Responsibility (CSR) – the overall enterprise integration of social and environmental concerns into their daily operations. There may be a CSR strategy to work closely with the local community where the corporation has its main activities (business). This is a motive for sponsoring. 


Support – government agencies that grant money based on an application.


Crowd funding – when several individuals (private persons) finance a project together based on voluntary work and/or own funds.

What do you have to offer a sponsor?

From trademark to brand


Here you are, with your story, yourself as a product, a trademark and your identity. Potential partners and sponsors are shopping. They are bombarded with smells, senses and impressions, combined with their own desires, needs, their trademark and their identity. Why should they stop and invest on just you? Why should they answer the phone when you call, or answer you email in the sea of requests for wonderful experiences?


For us who organise concerts, it has become increasingly important to clarify who we are. A strong identity sets us apart from the crowd. Everything we do and make in the role as organiser, defines who we are and how we are perceived, it is therefore essential that we know what we are and what we stand for.


This forms the basis for loyalty and strong alliances. Good teamwork is often the outcome of shared values, and a distinct identity makes a loyal audience!


Examples of priority areas for good values and attitudes: 

  • Anti-racism
  • No to violence
  • Environment
  • Front local musicians
  • Cooperation with humanitarian organizations
  • Give something of value back to the local community
  • Economic integrity


The inventory – your products


It is customary to offer packages that are put together for sponsors. Typical contents are activities related to these three areas:

Logo exposure, association right (the right to be associated with the sponsor object) and activation.



  • Logo exposure: the sponsor logo on advertisement, banners, T-shirts, (exclusive) venues, shopping bags, cars,
  • Advertising on websites, program guides, app and other communication channels you have/use The use of the sponsorship object in the sponsor’s marketing.                                                                      Tickets
  • Access to a private area, such as a VIP lounge
  • Lectures
  • A meeting place for the sponsors
  • The sponsor has a stand
  • You develop a concept together
  • The sponsor acquires an exclusive exposure medium, such as an admission bracelet, website, app, the volunteer T-shirt.
  • The sponsor is present with its product and arranges activities and contests prior to the event.
  • If you find activities that benefit the event, the sponsor and the target group/audience all at once, the event will be both fun have and have a good impact guaranteed.
The road to the sponsorship agreement

The progress of working on sponsorship: 

  1. Sponsorship strategy and positioning – What is the plan, aims and objectives, and content of your sponsor work? What separate you from others, and what do others do? What do they charge? What do they offer?
  2. Who are you and your target group? Use tools such as ticket information, public surveys etc. and to map and document this.
  3. What do you have to offer a sponsor? Set up an inventory together across disciplines in the event.
  4. Pricing, what are you worth? See point 1. What is the market like in the local area? – can you charge more or less for what you offer to others? Compare with other marketing communication channels such as ad prices etc.
  5. The Wish List, which partners are relevant? If you know this, you don’t have to call everyone in the phone book. Find the ten most relevant, interesting businesses and start with them.
  6. Find the right person in the company! This depends on what you think should be the core in the collaboration. If the employee’s social environment is to be strengthened, this person can be the HR manager. If it’s direct market communication, it might be the marketing manager or the communication manager. Some companies have sponsorship managers, but far from all. In small and medium-sized businesses, this person is often the CEO/general manager. The switchboard is usually a good place to start the mapping of different roles in the business. Do not waste time on the wrong person without any decision-making power.
  7. Telephone calls and e-mail exchanges: follow up and keep deadlines you set. Be clear and get quickly to the point. What do you really want?
  8. Meeting(s)
  9. Agreement negotiations
  10. Contract arrangements/agreement
  11. Cooperation and activating
  12. Monitoring and evaluation



Introductory sale(s)

Introductory sales of the event, the values, the product and the concepts for cooperation you aim for, are essential when you work with sponsorships. Here are some of the criteria for success:

  1. All steps lead you to the next step – start somewhere and take it one step at a time.
  2. The difference between success and failure is 3 days – sometimes you have to learn something new and change the approach as you go along. This must be done immediately and certainly within 3 days otherwise you may fall back old habits.
  3. Expect all kinds of responses and counter-arguments – be prepared and have your answers ready
  4. To follow a potential sponsor is an important part of a marketing campaign – not just the follow up – but follow the business – if you don’t get a yes the first time around, make sure you build a relationship with the potential sponsor. Follow up the business on a regular basis, and suddenly you may find the right approach.
  5. Find out what people are doing and how you can help them getting better! What do they do, how, when, where, with whom and why do they do it? Your job is to help them do this even better.
  6. Understand what YOU are doing and how a sponsor can make you better.
  7. Be sure to ask for a meeting! When you meet someone, call them or contact them by e-mail – remember to ask for a meeting.
  8. Make sure you have: professional development: you have to develop yourself and your knowledge. Product flexibility: be willing to change to meet the sponsor’s needs. Presentation knowledge: work well with the presentation, but focus on the person you are going to meet. Prospect exploration: in different contexts reach out for potential partners – prospect exploration and presentation all at once.
  9. Understand the three main elements in sales today – be focused, almost obsessed, use the information you get in a good way and implement it. Do it! If not, you will not succeed.



The presentation


Your presentation is an important tool in the sales process and follow-up where you put forward what you have to offer, common values, what you are going to collaborate on etc.


Front is exactly a front page with a small text only – just «company x and organizer x, date, legal clearance (e.g. requested that the document is to be kept confidential and all rights belongs to the organiser).


Page 2 A nice picture, a good quote, or some good, illustrative figures/numbers. Not a must – but if you do it – do it well!


Page 3 Get the sponsor to understand what you think the sponsorship will be about. Explain the opportunities they have with you; description of the experience(s), of the target group and why they like you. Do NOT be arrogant, commanding or appear like someone without initiative. Do NOT mention specific financial needs. This is about selling market opportunities, not asking for alms!


Page 4 Facts about you – get this point done and finished with. Here you mention the date, place, costs) to participate, assumed number of participants/visitors, recommendations from other sponsors and who else is on the team.


Page 5 Describe the target group. Segment them gladly psychographic, which means by their concerns, priorities and their lifestyle. Show the groups which are most interesting to the sponsor on top.


Page 6-7 Explain and give an overview of your marketing plan. What are you trying to communicate? How are you going to reach your target group(s)? The sponsor needs to understand what your focus is.


Page 8-9 Creative ideas for activating. Give the potential sponsor ideas as to how they can use the sponsorship to achieve/reach their goals. Put yourself in their shoes, and think: everything is possible! Have a brainstorming session at the office and try to come up with 4-5 ideas. This will visualise the potential in the cooperation.


Page 10-11 Get to the point – make formalities. Make a list of benefits you give the sponsor, emphasise what substantiates the activating ideas you suggested, put less emphasis on passive rights such as logo exposure and tickets (this is not sales-generating), as well as an excerpt from rights lists.


Page 12 This is the page that describes the investment that are needed. Whether it is money, barts/in-kind, or support to enable certain parts of the event.


Page 13 Bring some brief case studies which show how other sponsors have achieved their marketing goals and seen return on their investment. The case studies can be: changed attitudes amongst the target group, changed consumer patterns, wider knowledge about a brand/product. Or – how other companies have gained much from similar sponsorships.

Evaluation and impact

 Some tips for the evaluation:

  • evaluate during the whole process – not just when everything is finished
  • Agree the goals together and evaluate the results in light of the goals/aims/objectives
  • If the sponsor has “KPIs” (Key performance indicators)– make sure you include this in your work and evaluate the impact
  • make a good user survey– this can be done easily on Facebook or Survey Monkey. There are also apps that can be used, as well as professional organisations that can help you do the documentation.
  • Remember to document the event– take photos or film of what you do. Not only the artists on stage, but activities that concerns the sponsor, activities with the volunteers, audience and other interest groups. The pictures should capture what makes your event or club unique.
  • Use statistics from websites, app, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter to document customer engagement/reach, number of followers/users, how much time the people are using your media platforms etc.
  • Be sure to have an overview of the press coverage of the event and possible spread/cover of the project you share with the sponsor
  • remember to have regular contact with the sponsor to make sure that every question they may have are answered and check that everything has the intended progress.


In order to measure if something has gone well or not so well, you need to be able to measure up against something. You have to set goals for the collaboration and they need to be measurable, so that you can discuss afterwards if the collaboration has achieved expectations or desired outcomes.


One of the most important parts of the sponsor process emerges when the event is over: the evaluation. Without a good evaluation, the work of getting re-signed with the sponsor can be difficult, and without a good evaluation you can lose money by selling yourself out cheap. Sponsorship money is no longer «protected» from the company’s overall profit expectations, and the sponsor is now keen to see that the commitment gives return on investment/engagement. The person in charge of the sponsorships is thus dependent on documentation that can be provided further in the organisation to substantiates the investment.


The evaluation process does not however start when the event is over. It starts ahead of the event. It is beneficial to involve the sponsors in this part, because it’s not given what kind of measurement parameters that’s interesting for the individual sponsors.

In any evaluation of an event, you have certain parameters you need to cover: factors concerning implementation and infrastructure, overall satisfaction, sponsorship knowledge etc. In addition to this, there is the sponsor’s need to evaluate. Some may focus on its own employees, some on customers, and others wish to meet the audience/participants through various actions and activities. Thus, there is no right or wrong way to evaluate an event.


A key term/concept one should always keep in mind is; «target group»/«target market». Who is the sponsor’s target group for their sponsorship, what do they want to achieve and how can we evaluate this? To be sure you cover it all, it is important to involve the sponsors in the early stages of the planning of an evaluation.