How to Choose a Sponsorship Opportunity

09.15.2014 / Posted in Articles, Image Management

Every organization receives requests to sponsor conferences, events, student projects, and community groups. The decision to sponsor or to not sponsor typically falls on the marketing department. To make this decision, marketing departments should have a formalized process to analyze each viable opportunity and decide whether to make an investment of time and money.

We recommend creating one master spreadsheet that outlines the key details of each sponsorship opportunity presented and considered so you can always review the history of what decisions were made and why.

Here is a structure to help with your sponsorship analysis:

Strategy Alignment

As with any other marketing decision, refer to your overall marketing objective, strategy, and tactical plan and understand how a particular opportunity fits into the strategy or how it is misaligned.

Are you aiming to generate awareness with your target audience or generate new leads? Are you achieving your objective by educating the market? By advertising and public relations? Does this opportunity support your strategy or will it divert resources away to other, less important outcomes?

Reputation Alignment

There may be instances when building a long-term strategic alliance with another organization by supporting its efforts overshadows a misalignment with a short- or mid-term strategy. You are associating your brand with the sponsored organization, so choosing to support or to not support particular groups may be a strategic decision.

Visibility and Perks

What level of visibility (and other perks) will you receive? Do you have the resources necessary to take full advantage of your sponsorship?

Understand where your brandmark is going to be on the sponsored group’s site and on print materials. Understand how big your logo will be. How else does this organization promote you? If you have the option to speak, do you have the right person available to speak at that time?

Understand the Real Costs

Some sponsorships may require you to print marketing collateralgive away branded swag, or even pay for travel. What are the total costs involved in the sponsorship? How much of your budget will this take? Are there funds allocated to this or will you have to pull from other areas of your marketing budget—or even from other departments?

If something is too expensive, are there other resources that you can exchange for recognition? For example, can you e-mail your database information about the conference? Can you link to information on your social media accounts? This may require some creativity and these tactics should not be used for every opportunity—but they can be valuable for ones where other costs for involvement are prohibitive.


If you are spending time and money on a sponsorship, like any other tactic, you should be able to track the end result of your effort. Did more people visit your website? Did you get new sales leads? If so, how many?

Before too much time goes by, make sure that the results of your involvement are captured in your master sponsorship spreadsheet with a calculation of its return on investment. As you sponsor more groups, it will be easier for the marketing team to estimate results and ROI, refining what you do and what you do not sponsor.


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