by Devin Carver September 28th, 2023


You have an event coming up, and you have big plans. Not only do you have very specific event goals (because that’s the way all great events start), but you have a vision. More importantly, you have buy-in from colleagues, committees, and stakeholders. However, when you create the budget, you realize you’re going to need a bit of help. That’s where sponsorships come in. The best part? When done properly, event sponsorships are a win-win situation for you and your sponsors.

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Starz branded drinks for corporate eventWhy Your Corporate Event Needs Sponsors

It’s no secret that corporate events can require large budgets, especially if you have big plans or goals. Helping defray costs is one of the primary reasons businesses and organizations seek sponsorships, but that also means you can potentially increase the size of your event all while staying on budget.

In addition, sponsorship funds can help you provide more amenities or event activations for attendees – or even allow you to upgrade swag bags. They can also:

  • Open up new event venues
  • Provide or even entice keynote speakers
  • Attract additional vendors and sponsorships
  • Draw an even bigger audience
  • Improve or enhance the perception of the event
  • Increase reach on social media and more 

Essentially, corporate event sponsorships can help fill in event gaps and help you deliver a memorable event experience for your guests.

Types of Event Sponsorship

Event sponsorship is about more than, “We’d like a bigger event,” and then asking a business to help. In fact, event sponsorships are an agreement with benefits that go both ways; they are, inherently, transactional. In other words, the sponsor receives a benefit for participating in or helping with your event, and you receive their monetary support.

Often, that benefit is exposure to a new or bigger audience. Sponsors can also gain insights into an industry in which they want experience. More simply, it may just be establishing goodwill or creating a reputational boost, depending on the event or aspect of the event sponsored.

Not every corporate event has the same needs, so when it comes to requesting sponsorship, not every request should be or will be the same. Essentially, there are four types of sponsorships, though it’s worth noting that sponsorship packages may become a mix of them.

Financial - Financial sponsorships involve an exchange of money, allowing you to allocate those funds to wherever they are most needed.

In-Kind - In-kind sponsorships involve an exchange of goods or services, such as a well-known restaurant or beverage brand providing food or drinks for the conference.

Branding/Promotional - As the name suggests, brand sponsorships allow your event to leverage another brand to help support your marketing efforts and (in some cases) other sponsorships. More specifically, if you have a brand sponsor that’s a major name, it may help you lock in additional sponsorships. Similarly, social media is a great opportunity to leverage both branding and media sponsorships.

Media - Media, much like brands, may expand your reach and offer greater exposure for your event, including feature or follow-up stories, professional photos, or more.

Of course, the best sponsorship packages are negotiated based on need and can include a variety of types of support.

Building Packages That Entice Sponsors

You have your needs, and frankly, sponsors have theirs. The best packages consider their needs as much as yours. You should also seek out sponsors who share your values or mission more than those who simply fulfill a need. Even if your event needs are at the forefront of your mind, the benefits of sponsorship should be clear.

Not every sponsor is a good fit for all events and not every aspect of an event is a good fit for every sponsor, so finding ways to meet their needs and provide value to them and your attendees is key. It can be a difficult balance to strike, but providing a variety of sponsorship options can be beneficial.

HBO Game of Drones Event Sponsorship
Sponsorship packages can include:

  • Experiences - From activations and activities to entertainment, experiences allow sponsors to have their names on those attractions or activities. You can check out a great example of this that Bishop-McCann did, here, for HBO with a “Game of Drones” show for attendees. 
  • Swag - Event swag is essential and a perfect place to let sponsors help. The added benefit is the ongoing and lasting impact those event gifts will have on attendees and others. 
  • Food/Beverage - Food and drink sponsors, especially from well-known brands or restaurants, help market their brands and can really wow your guests. For a little extra spice, check out these burger buns! 
    Branded hamburger buns for corporate event
  • Giveaways - Consider a grand prize, a raffle, or a special giveaway featuring a primary sponsor. You can build excitement, display the prize (and brand) throughout your event, and give your sponsor special billing.
  • Event Essentials - All events have essential needs, from event tech to transportation. Allowing a sponsor to help with event essentials means all of your attendees will be exposed to their brand.

The most important aspects of any event sponsorship include ensuring your sponsors have exposure to your attendees but also that the sponsorship elevates your attendees’ event experience.

Finding the Right Sponsors for Your Corporate Events

As we mentioned before, the primary reason to approach a sponsor isn’t just because they have the goods, services, or brand you want. In fact, choosing the wrong sponsor even with good intentions can be detrimental.

For example, at one point, the University of South Carolina (the Gamecocks whose mascot is Plucky the Chicken) selected Chick-Fil-A, the restaurant famous for its chicken sandwich, as its sponsor. Needless to say, this is a mismatch (even though a humorous one). 

One of the most essential parts of finding the right sponsor is finding a sponsor whose goals, values, vision, and mission align with yours. But even that’s not enough. You may find a business that perfectly aligns with your organization, but they simply don’t sponsor events or not ones of your size. You’ll need to research to find sponsors who are available for events of your size.

You’ll also want to have a keen understanding of the value you’ll add to sponsors. More specifically, you’ll want to understand how your event and your attendees fit their needs. Remember, it’s a balance, and the best sponsorships help all parties get what they need from your event.

Finding the right sponsor doesn’t have to be difficult or involve a long, laborious search. In fact, working with the right event planning partner can help you identify your needs and further help you identify the right sponsors. The ultimate goal is to create “wins” for everyone involved, and that happens with careful planning.

Have a meeting coming up and need help? Get in touch with the Bishop-McCann team, and let us help plan your event, find the right sponsors, and create JOY for your guests!
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