Sponsorship Trends for Your Non-profit

Posted by Laura Casolaro on May 17, 2016 12:55:20 PM

The sponsorship industry is increasing and more companies are looking to find new ways to promote their brand at events and through advertising. Traditional sponsorship opportunities such as lanyards, tote bags, and basic program guide advertising can only go so far for a company. It is vital to make sure your non-profit organization is keeping up with the trends this year and is providing valuable opportunities for your sponsors to purchase and help achieve their expected ROI.

Here are 4 unique sponsorship ideas to help your non-profit organization excel: 

1. Free headshots.

Giving away free headshots is a great way for a sponsor looking to increase their database with new contacts, to do just that. Provide a professional photographer to take high-quality headshots at the sponsor’s exhibit booth. Attendees normally dress to impress for conferences anyway so what better time to update your company profile?

Provide sponsors with the option to brand their space on the exhibit floor and receive all the credit for providing attendees with this necessary element for their portfolio. During the conference, the sponsor will be able to collect email addresses and other contact information from everyone who stops by their booth to take a photo.


2. Custom Digital Supplements and eBooks.

Custom Digital Supplements and eBooks are an excellent way for sponsors to showcase their content in a fun and engaging way while leveraging the marketing power of your organization.

With digital mediums on the rise, organizations have been experimenting with creative ways of getting sponsored educational content out to audiences in a mobile-friendly way.  68% of companies have integrated mobile marketing into their overall marketing strategy. This statistic shows that companies are looking to incorporate new digital tactics into their marketing efforts.

These pieces offer highly valuable content with minimal to no advertising or shameless plugs!

Traditionally speaking, a supplement is a publication that has a role secondary to that of another preceding or concurrent publication. Whether your organization has a publication or not, the supplement or eBook concept can be applied to a variety of channels.

They can be used as value add giveaways to conference attendees, they can be offered as a special gift or thank you, or they can be leveraged in their traditional sense and distributed to the readership of your organization’s publication.

Elements of digital supplements and eBooks:

  • A stand-alone piece on a topic or subject of high importance to the audience (members, readers, event attendees, specific target audiences); HINT: ensure the topic is "meaty" enough to warrant this approach!
  • Presented under your organization or publication's brand and banner; co-branded with the sponsor
  • Professionally designed; visually appealing
  • Use of imagery and graphics, photos, illustrations, infographics, etc.
  • 500 - 750 words of content per page; 4-8 pages in length
  • Optional - add animation or embed a video for digital mediums
  • Optional - distribute as an interactive PDF or upload to a virtual flip publication

Track metrics and stats for your sponsor and provide them with a post readership report to reinforce the value and performance


3. Mirror, mirror on the wall.

Whose message sticks with attendees the most? Restrooms are an excellent place to capture an attendee’s attention at an event. A video screen can be installed behind a mirror to play a loop of branded messages, promos, etc. targeted to the specific audience. It's ideal for educational messages, demonstrations and advertising directed right at the person standing in front of the mirror as that is what triggers the playback.


4. Thought leadership sponsor options.

Exhibit booths, conference passes, and attendee lists are a great option for companies that approach sales as a numbers game. Pitch more people, make more sales, right? While this business development approach will never die, things are changing.

Have you heard the saying, content is king? Companies want to be more than a product/service provider; they want to be a thought leader in their industry. With this shift in how companies approach marketing, organizations need to adapt their sponsorship options. Here are a few ideas that allow companies to bring thought leadership to your members:

  • Thought Leadership Mash-Up

Pick 6 topics that are relevant to your members and allow companies to sponsor each one. During a 60 minute session, each sponsor has 10 minutes to provide thought leadership on the topic. This keeps each new idea high level and can leave attendees wanting more. Additionally, it is easier to target companies that you want to sponsor if you have a specific topic in mind. 

  • Interactive Webinars

A vendor-sponsored webinar that ends with a panel of experts (both sponsor and organization provided) that answer/discuss questions from the attendees. The topic should be focused, and specific brands should not be mentioned if possible.

  • Campfire Sessions

A vendor-led session where the speaker presents to a small group for 15-20 minutes. After the short presentation, the focus shifts to the group and the speaker becomes a facilitator. The goal is to create an open forum and allow all attendees to share knowledge, personal experiences, and new approaches.

Set up seating in a circle if possible. It should not feel like the speaker is separate from the group.


Developing sponsorship opportunities is a great way to increase non-dues revenue for your non-profit organization. Follow these ideas and your event will draw a large attendee list and keep supporters happy and coming back for more!


Looking for more information on sponsorships and exhibits? Click here

Topics: non-dues revenue