Event sponsors are critical to helping you fund and improve the attendee experience. But to stand out in a sea of sponsorship ideas, you need to think beyond brand awareness and create worthwhile opportunities that help sponsors achieve their goals.
Before you get to work putting your sponsorship ideas in motion, keep in mind three important factors. First, why people attend your event and the problems they’re experiencing. Second, your sponsor’s needs and how your event can meet them. And third, the brand activations that will bring it all together.
Ready to take your sponsorship to the next level? Here are 17 sponsorship ideas for your next event.
Event sponsorship idea #1: Social mixers
Networking is one of the top reasons attendees go to conferences and other B2B events, but you might not have the bandwidth to organise after-hours parties. A sponsor can create exciting, off-site networking opportunities, which in turn give the sponsor the face-to-face interactions they’re looking for.
Event sponsorship idea #2: Event apps
No matter the size of your event, an event app is a must for providing a personalised experience for your attendees. Tech-savvy attendees expect them and sponsors love to provide them because of the granular data they yield on what’s most interesting to your audience.
Event sponsorship idea #3: Wellness breaks
Taking small breaks throughout the day is important to retaining focus, but it’s not enough just to switch from one sedentary activity to another. You need to move your body to really hit the reset button. Short movement classes like gentle yoga, hula-hooping, or even Zumba can help attendees take a mental break, while helping your sponsor connect with your audience.
Event sponsorship idea #4: Stair or elevator wraps
Does your venue have a grand entrance? Or maybe a few escalators you hadn’t really given a second thought to? Using intriguing stairs or escalator wrap can surprise attendees and offer your sponsors a creative space to share their branding.
Event sponsorship idea #5: Social photo booths
Similar to an old-fashioned photo booth, social photo booths allow attendees to take selfies, but they also allow users to create looping videos and GIFs and post them directly online. When photos are paired with your event hashtag, it can be some of the most potent social content your attendees can share at your event. Make it even easier with a sponsored social photo booth.
Event sponsorship idea #6: Wi-Fi
For most events, Wi-Fi access is a must. Especially if you want to encourage people to engage with your event on social media, or livestream speeches or panels. Sponsors can display their logo in the event brochure, on the event app, or signage around the event. Wi-Fi network splash page is another great opportunity not only for branding, but also to link to the sponsor’s website.
Event sponsorship idea #7: Social media displays
A social media display highlights posts and photos that are tagged with your event’s hashtag on social networks like Instagram and Twitter. By offering a social media display as a sponsorship package, sponsors can control the flow of posts and add their brand’s call-outs to a regular circuit.
Sponsorship idea #8: Livestreaming
Did you know that 30% of people who watch a livestream will attend that same event the following year? Live video can extend your reach and have a real impact on your bottom line. Offering a livestream as a sponsorship package can provide brands with the opportunity to engage with audiences beyond attendees.
Sponsorship idea #9: Activity-based prizes
Looking for an experiential and memorable way to get your sponsors in front of your attendees? Suggest sponsors award a useful or interesting prize to your attendees (like cupcakes or T-shirts) that they’re willing to do an activity for, like squats or a hashtagged selfie share. To increase engagement, consider making the activity a competition or a scavenger hunt that expands across the event.
Sponsorship idea #10: Virtual or augmented reality
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) allows sponsors to interact with attendees in ways they couldn’t otherwise. Help people experience the new product with AR or VR, like commercial van manufacturer, FCA. FCA used augmented reality to show off a new line of vans and all the different colour schemes with only one van physically present. It was an efficient use of space — and budget.
Sponsorship idea #11: DIY craft area
Everyone has a crafty side, so why not engage your attendee’s creative side with a craft area? Depending on how intricate your sponsors want to get, you could have pre-made ceramic for guests to paint, build your own terrarium stations, or just stick to glitter and glue. This not only gives attendees a chance to share what they’ve made on their social media channels, but it serves as a reminder long after they’ve left your event.
Sponsorship idea #12: Give back
Use the spotlight of your event to draw attention to charities or causes your sponsors work with. You can host a sponsored charity drive — for example, attendees can opt to “sponsor” animals or land for wildlife conversations. You can even combine this sponsorship idea with the craft area to really make attendees feel like they’re getting involved for a good cause.
Sponsorship idea #13: Treat yourself
Similar to wellness breaks, this gives attendees the opportunity to feel pampered, and ultimately, leave with a great impression of your sponsors. Offering 5-10 minute mini-massages is a good way to organically engage guests with your sponsor’s brand. Even if your sponsors don’t provide these types of services, you can hire trained staff for the day, and have them wear sponsor branded clothing.
Sponsorship idea #14: Play area
Looking to have attendees blow off some steam, but want to skip the workout? How about a play area. Giant games of Jenga, chess, board games, or even a ball pit are excellent ways to capture guests’ attention. And it’s a creative way to give your sponsor branded game pieces that will get posted and talked about.
Sponsorship idea #15: Premium swag bags
Customise a swag bag with premium merch not available to all attendees. If you really want to go for it, get sponsors involved to offer more high-end gifts, like massages, tickets to shows, or wine.
Sponsorship idea #16: Digital swag bags
In addition to the traditional bag, you can now offer a digital one. New services allow you to set up a page with offers from sponsors before, during, and after your event. By extending the time that sponsors can connect with attendees, you’ll provide more activation opportunities. What’s more, these services provide sponsors with meaningful data to measure against their goals.
Sponsorship idea #17: Privacy pods
These fully enclosed booths offer a quiet place to make a phone call or have a meeting. They come in various sizes from one person (like a phone booth) to larger versions which seat four. They are usually made of mostly glass and can be wrapped with a brand or provided by a sponsor. Many come with power and WiFi.
How to value your sponsorship assets
Knowing what to offer your sponsor is one thing, but pricing your sponsorship packages is another. Learn how to price your sponsorship ideas with the Sponsorship Market Rate Valuation Workbook.