Show Your Sponsors the Money (and Sponsorship Value!)

Event sponsors play a major role in the success of events, whether in-person, virtual, or hybrid! Sponsors generate excitement and interest from attendees and play a key role in event organizers’ budget.

As you work to secure sponsors for your event, sponsorship tiers are essential. They help your sponsors understand what they’ll be getting out of your event should they decide to become a sponsor.

In an increasingly virtual landscape where organizers are aiming to keep ticket prices affordable, securing sponsors and providing them with enough value is key for driving your event’s success and ROI.  

Socio’s webinar Event Revenue and Sponsorship ROI covered everything you need to know about how to structure your sponsorship tiers for in-person, virtual, and hybrid events. 

We heard from Socio customers, Courtney Allen of the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS), Brenna McCown of ParentMap, and Socio Platform experts on tips and tricks for ensuring your sponsors get the most value possible out of your event. 

Keep reading to learn how you can take your virtual, hybrid, and in-person sponsorship tiers to the next level!

Sponsorship tier example from Socio's webinar, Event Revenue and Sponsorship ROI

What Are Event Sponsorships?

Before we dive into sponsorship tiers, let’s define event sponsorship. Simply put: an event sponsor is a company or organization that shows their support for an event, typically through a financial contribution.

In exchange, sponsors usually receive something valuable including 

  • Increased brand exposure
  • Access to attendee data and leads
  • In-event speaking opportunities 
  • Discounted event tickets

Why Are Event Sponsorships Valuable?

We know what event sponsorship looks like in practice, but why should event organizers spend their time, energy, and resources to develop relationships with sponsors? What’s in event sponsorship for them?

While creating sponsorship relationships is hard work, it’s absolutely worth it for event organizers. Event sponsors can: 

  1. Help organizers build their budget 
  2. Boost an event’s credibility 
  3. Provide resources outside of monetary sponsorship

Are there Different Types of Event Sponsorship Models?

When it comes to event sponsorship models, there are two different approaches event organizers can take: 

  • A tiered sponsorship model is one of the most common approaches to event sponsorship opportunities. Sponsors can commit to a tier (typically platinum, gold, silver, or bronze) in exchange for promotional opportunities at the event. 
  • The a la carte sponsorship model is used when sponsors have very specific goals and need more flexibility and customization within their sponsorship commitment. 

With a tiered sponsorship model, it’s best to include at least three sponsorship tiers that each have their own unique set of benefits. As you engage with potential sponsors, clearly communicate the value associated with each sponsorship tier, so they know exactly what they’ll be getting out of the sponsorship opportunity.

Evolving In-Person Sponsorship Tiers for a Virtual Event

Once you’ve decided to take your event to the virtual stage, how do you get your sponsors on board while maintaining your sponsorship costs? 

Sponsorships are an integral part of why SWSC is able to hold amazing events for their members, so keeping their virtual event sponsorship costs at the same level as their in-person events while providing even more value was critical. 

Courtney provided a great example of how SWSC transformed their in-person sponsorship offering into a virtual sponsorship offering while maintaining the in-person sponsorship cost and providing even more sponsor benefits.

SWCS International Annual Conference Sponsor Proposal

SWSC pivoted aspects of their presenting sponsor package to include a variety of value add components including:

  • A 15-minute speaking opportunity in front of the full conference audience
  • Featured sponsor level in the Socio Platform
  • Designated sponsor page within the event platform 
  • Live virtual networking opportunities with attendees 
  • One question within Socio’s gamification feature directing attendees to SWSC’s sponsor profile

During the webinar, we also shared our virtual sponsorship tiers including cost breakdown and value adds for sponsors. Check it out below!

Socio's sponsorship tier example

What to Include in Your Event Sponsorship Tiers

It’s important to clearly differentiate between your event’s sponsorship tiers, so potential sponsors understand the value associated with each tier. Brenna shared about the success ParentMap saw with their event’s sponsorship tiers for a total of 66 sponsors! Plus, every tier can be translated to an in-person event. 

  • Gold Sponsors: virtual booth, in-event sponsor banner, event announcement, and other logo and pre-event components 
  • Silver Sponsors: virtual booth and additional pre & during event benefits which encompassed their logos featured in the event’s registration page and the chance to provide a prize which was used in Socio’s gamification feature. 
  • Bronze Sponsors: virtual booth within the Socio Platform 

To further boost engagement, all sponsors at the event each hosted breakout sessions for attendees to demo sponsors’ classes which proved to be highly popular for both sponsors and attendees! 

ParentMap has also leveraged Socio’s Live Data Dashboard to give sponsors valuable insights into attendee engagement. Sponsors can identify which attendees are visiting their booth and engaging with their content, as well as how many attendees are engaging in their breakout sessions or saving sessions to their agendas. 

The Future of Hybrid Event Sponsorship Tiers

What’s next for hybrid event sponsorship tiers? Courtney and Brenna both shared great tips on what their organizations have in store to accommodate both in-person and virtual sponsorships.

  1. Hybrid Sponsorship: Give your sponsors the best of both worlds with the opportunity to participate in virtual and in-person sponsorship opportunities! Providing a hybrid approach for sponsors is also a great way to boost your sponsorship revenue! 
  2. In-Person Only Sponsorship: Providing an in-person sponsorship package caters to businesses who want to be on the scene and engaging with attendees at your event. 
  3. Virtual Only Sponsorship: You might have initially gained some sponsors because of your virtual event sponsorship offerings. If that’s the case, having a designated virtual sponsorship package can cater to those who’d rather keep their presence within the platform. 

Level Up Your Event Sponsorship Tiers

Looking for event sponsorship tier inspiration? We have you covered. Snag your copy of our Example Sponsorship Tier guide by accessing the on-demand content from Event Revenue: Sponsorship and ROI.

It’s easy–– just register here to access the on-demand content, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a sponsorship tier expert!

Socio's Sponsor Showcase

Want to see Socio in action? Book your personalized demo and discover how the Socio Platform can turn your sponsors into lifelong fans! 

Olivia VanCuren
Olivia VanCuren

Content Marketing Specialist @ Socio. Words enthusiast. Passionate about events that foster meaningful connections.