Corporate sponsorships are a great way to build brand awareness and give back to the community. However, if you’re company is considering engaging in a sponsorship, we recommend to all our clients – in order that they, the event organizers, and whoever is benefiting from the occasion gains from the sponsorship – ensure they ask the following.

What is the target audience for the sponsored event?

It makes sense for a chiropractor to sponsor or organize a 5k run in order to raise funds for a charity that provides health support to USA and overseas communities, but it wouldn’t make sense for him/her to sponsor an eating contest at the Springfield Jaycees Capital City Celebration, for example. An eatery, restaurant or takeout would far better suit the occasion.

Does the audience align with your business objectives?

If you’re objective is to gain brand awareness amongst the general public the sponsoring a large event such as SOHO or the Springfield Old Capitol Art Fair, where you share that responsibility with other businesses may be a way to go – especially if your business is focused on downtown, music, the arts or families. However if you’re a business where your target market isn’t the general public but other businesses, firms or companies in the area you may consider a sponsorship through The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce for example.

Do you want to play and active role in the sponsorship – or simply write a check?

It’s worth considering the role you want to play in your sponsorship agreement. Will you take a hands-on approach, which may involve the clean up of a community garden, which also needs financial support for infrastructure or are you happy to let others dig in? I would almost always recommend to clients that they participate in some shape or form, whether that’s volunteering, being a guest/welcome speaker or playing a key role in overseeing the organization of the event.

What publicity will you and the organization gain?

Let’s admit, not all sponsorships are totally altruistic – neither should they be. With each sponsorship there is an opportunity for all parties to gain momentum towards their cause. Whenever we work with a client who has sponsored an event or organization we first establish what the objectives are for each party and then look to support them with PR and media activity, whether that be a press conference to announce the launch of a new event/fundraiser, social media engagement with the target audience in order to increase registration or TV and radio interviews for both the event organizer and the sponsor.

I would also, always recommend that the sponsors engage in a debrief meeting in order to evaluate the success of the event and/or any improvements which could be made in the future. This is a great way to determine, also, whether this is a collaboration both parties wish to pursue in the future.

The most successful corporate sponsorship relationships are based on an open dialogue between both parties, clear and consistent messaging, a defined set of objects and a solid PR and marketing plan.