Most communities rely on the support and partnership of sponsors to help fulfill their mission of creating a healthy, vibrant downtown. It is important to look for like-minded collaborators who want to ensure high-impact event programming and who are ready to invest in a dynamic, welcoming downtown. Sponsorships are an integral part of the success of any event and provides great opportunities for exposure.
The board, staff and volunteers of downtown communities work year-round to create and execute exciting events, each with a different goal and target audience. By creating major events every year, these communities bring thousands of visitors downtown and introduce the businesses that are known and loved in the community to a new audience. Many of these events and festivals are low-cost or even free, and sponsorships make it possible to give back to the community this way. Sponsorship dollars go directly to supporting the events and year-round efforts of these communities. With nearly half of downtown funding typically coming from events and sponsors, sponsorships are vital to helping these communities advance downtown development.
Sponsorships can come in the form of financial or in-kind contributions. Businesses often sponsor events to reach specific business goals and increase their competitive advantage. For these sponsors, sponsorship is a form of marketing. Sponsorships don’t always directly promote their company or products, but instead the sponsor may support a specific event that their customers care about. Sponsors are then associated with the event by customers, attendees and the media.
Most large community events use sponsorship support to offer more exciting programs and to help defray costs. Community events offer limited places for sponsor branding and products, but they also allow sponsors to reach a specific local audience.
Event sponsorship is usually a win-win: Sponsors get something they want and need (e.g., exposure, interaction with their target audience, recognition or another incentive) while providing monetary value to the event, which in turn helps the community continue with its programming and repeat the event in subsequent years.