So You Want to Be a Sponsor... What Does That Entail Exactly?

Credit: julius schlosburg

Credit: julius schlosburg

So, the reason why I decided to write this post is because I have gotten quite a handful of brands/individuals reach out to me in the past few years saying they’re interested in sponsoring one of my events/projects but not necessarily know what that entails. My guess is that they see logos on event collateral and such, and simply want to see their logo plastered on there too.

Before I get into it, I want to disclaim that my perspective comes from that of a project manager/festival director/event curator (and an ounce of brand influencer). There are many forms of sponsorship (imo) and many different ways to execute a sponsorship depending on the project/brand at hand.

Literally Speaking

Per the dictionary, sponsorship is: “an individual or organization that pays some or all of the costs involved in staging a sporting or artistic event in return for advertising.”


Yes. Advertising. If you look at the very root, bottom-line of it all, a sponsor is paying money (or offering some kind of trade) for advertising. That brand/event/individual/etc. offers a unique marketing platform of which the potential sponsor would like to benefit from.

that being said

Typically, you have money. And depending on the thing you want to sponsor, you have lots of it. Just like big name sponsors (i.e. Coca Cola) prefer to be approached by more established brands, it’s pretty much the same the other way around. Established brands prefer to be approached by potential sponsors who have the means to actually sponsor them. What I recommend if you want to be a sponsor (especially if it’s your first time doing something like this), is to reach out to brands/projects/individuals that are at about the same level as you or smaller.

For example, if you are a brand new clothing company in the city and heard about this new artist that’s also just starting out and you think they are dope, then reach out to them and let them know you’re interested in supporting them as a sponsor.

If you don’t have the $$$

If you have something to offer that’s not money but is just as valuable, sometimes brands are open to a sponsorship that’s more so a trade rather than receiving moolah. Let’s say you are an incredible website developer, and you just found out about this new festival with a not-so-great site that you’d love to sponsor and put your logo on but you don’t have money to give them. Reach out and offer to develop a whole new site for them at no cost and that you’d simply want them to promote you as a sponsor.

There are honestly a lot of creative ways you could pitch “sponsorship” if you actually have something to offer. Be clear in what you’re offering, how much of it you want to offer, what you want in return as a “sponsor” and if you have numbers to show (i.e. a media kit) share them.

What you’re saying when you sponsor someone/something

Aside from the fact that you’re paying (or offering trade) for advertising, you’re also saying “I SUPPORT YOU AND YOUR BRAND AND WHAT YOU ARE DOING.” - so much so that you are willing to put your name and your logo on it.

Do not reach out and offer sponsorship simply because you want exposure. Be strategic. Do your research on the brand/project/individual. Does their mission align with yours? Does their demographic align with yours? This is really important because what you sponsor is a reflection of you/your brand.

Have any other questions about sponsorship? Feel free to post in the comments below and I’ll answer away! Share this post if you think someone in your network will find this beneficial.