Updated April 24, 2012

People are passionate about their events and planning lots of fun events that can benefit sponsors in addition to their event audience.

Even though some planners have heard the word sponsor and sponsorship, they do not understand the dynamic of sponsorship.

There was an article that was dated 2005, called ‘The Importance of the Sponsorship Market’ – it has been removed but you can read it below. The information is still relevant to understanding the importance of establishing win-win partnerships in sponsorships.

Pay close attention to the following information in the article:

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“a new concept of sponsorship and cause-related marketing began to emerge.”  What this means is, sponsors started to see an increase in sponsorship requests from event organizers and non profit organizations seeking sponsorship for events that bring awareness to causes; such as AIDS, homelessness, poverty, bullying, violence, medicine, etc. Today, in 2018, the new marketing trend is influencer marketing.

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“in return for helping the Field Museum purchase Sue, both corporations gained access to Sue’s image for use in their own promotions.” Note: Sponsorship is not a form of donation. It is a give and take relationship. The sponsor is giving you something (and it’s not always money) in exchange for receiving something (benefit) of value (example: a good reputation).



Saturation in the mass media has forced companies to seek other means of reaching the consumer. Sponsorship and cause-related marketing is one of those means. Sponsorship is the fastest-growing medium in the market. When compared to advertising and sales promotion, sponsorship expenditures since 1983 have grown at a much faster rate.14 Total North American sponsorship spending for 2004 was projected to reach $11.4 billion. Worldwide, sponsorship in 2003 came to $25.9 billion, and was projected to reach $28 billion in 2004.15 Not surprisingly, most of the sponsorship money – 69% – goes to sports. However, corporations’ demand for a new and better way of communicating with their target audiences has benefited every type of sponsorship, and 5% goes to the arts, 7% to festivals, fairs, and annual events, and 10% to entertainment, tours, and attractions.

In the 1990s, a new concept of sponsorship and cause-related marketing began to emerge. Short-term sales-related promotional sponsorships began to be replaced by sponsorship and cause-related marketing integrated into the very identity of companies. The new form of strategic philanthropy seeks to affiliate not-for-profit events, organizations, or causes with a particular brand as part of a comprehensive, integrated marketing strategy.

For example, when the Field Museum in Chicago purchased Sue, the largest Tyrannosaurus Rex ever unearthed, at an auction, the museum put together a groundbreaking deal with McDonald’s and Walt Disney World Resorts.

In return for helping the Field Museum purchase Sue, both corporations gained access to Sue’s image for use in their own promotions. The Field Museum name will be mentioned in conjunction with customer-savvy public relations and marketing efforts by two of the largest worldwide corporations. The three entities have a similar customer base: children under the age of 13 and their families. At the time of Sue’s purchase, the agreement reached by the Field Museum, McDonald’s, and Disney was heralded as innovative and was expected to be copied widely. The Field Museum’s preparatory laboratory, where Sue’s bones are being cleaned, has been named the McDonald’s Preparatory Laboratory, and at Disney the public will be able to observe technicians and scientists as they work on Sue. One copy each of Sue’s skeleton will be provided to McDonald’s and Disney for their use. Because of these activities, the Field Museum will benefit from long-term relationships with each corporation.

This sort of affiliation occurs regularly outside the realm of culture and the arts. Time will tell if this type of merger between commerce, education, and entertainment will be replicated.

CREDIT: HEC Montreal

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Roberta Vigilance is a sponsorship consultant and author and teaches sponsorship seekers how to secure sponsors and finds solutions to her clients’ sponsorship problems. You can learn more about Roberta and what she offers by visiting her Online, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, or Twitter or order her book How To Secure Sponsors, Successfully Third Edition.

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