What Are the Types of Higher Education Sponsorship Opportunities?


Aug 9, 2021
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When your collegiate club or organization wants to host an event or take a trip, you will need to raise the money to do so. Higher education sponsorships offer one route to amassing the funds you need to transform your dreams into reality. 

However, there’s much involved with the process. You need to first and foremost understand what companies can offer and make it advantageous for them to participate. What are the types of higher education sponsorship opportunities, and how can you craft a winning approach to raise needed funds? 

4 Types of Higher Education Sponsorship Opportunities 

Companies can turn to four types of higher education sponsorship opportunities to promote their brand awareness while helping your student organization. Some businesses may stick to one form only, while others might fall into multiple categories. 

1. Monetary

You probably think of monetary sponsorship when you first visualize this process. It’s a simple way for companies to increase their brand awareness while providing you with the funds you need. 

However, that doesn’t mean strict rules don’t apply. To fulfill legal requirements, the benefits to the sponsoring business must not outweigh those your organization receives. 

Therefore, even organizations that only wish to give cash might still have strict requirements about where and how often you display their logo at your event. Pay heed, as they must meet certain standards to qualify for tax benefits. 

2. Media and Promotional

If you want your event to succeed, you need to get the word out. Media sponsorships secure advertising for your organization with TV spots or publishing local content. 

Promotional sponsorships work similarly, but they often target individuals rather than large organizations. They share your information with their audiences. Examples include social media influencers and YouTube celebrities. 

3. In-Kind

In-kind sponsorships donate something other than direct financial support. For example, they might provide food for an educational event hosted at your university. In the case of a trip, they may provide transportation or lodging for participants. 

Types of Events Companies Might Sponsor

Now that you understand the four types of higher educational sponsorship opportunities, it’s time to explore the other side of the coin. What kinds of events might corporations want to sponsor? 

It matters because the type of event dictates how companies benefit from their act of charity — you need to know this information when making your approach. For example, a business experiencing a hiring shortage might gravitate toward commercial events over educational ones because of the recruitment potential. 

1. Educational

Educational events are hosted by the university or a club within that institution. They focus on delivering industry-specific information to a group of students and not concentrate on any one company.

However, individuals from various organizations may speak at such events. For example, a panel of speakers from J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs may present to a Women in Finance group. Speakers from General Motors or Tesla may address a club for engineering students. 

2. Career Exploration

Consider career-exploration higher education sponsorship opportunities as a bridge between educational presentations and more commercial events. It combines elements of both. 

At such events, you’ll likely find several sponsors. Recruiters can attend but not actively solicit candidates or schedule interviews. However, resume exchanges can take place via handshake. 

3. Commercial

These higher education sponsorship opportunities seemingly offer the most appeal, but companies must carefully balance the value your school or organization receives against theirs. An example includes inviting an employer like Google to present to a group of students and also actively interview and solicit resumes. 

Such events benefit students and companies alike. Students can cement a job offer for post-graduation, easing much of their stress, while businesses can attract qualified candidates. 

Tips for Approaching Potential Sponsors

Company executives lead busy lives. Remember, you are, in essence, asking them for help — but you must emphasize how they will benefit when approaching them. When preparing your proposal, please consider the following questions

  • How sponsorship will impact brand image: If you plan an event for the student SBA, corporate sponsors often have little hesitation. However, if your organization involves controversy, you might need to consider how the sponsorship will impact brand image. For example, you wouldn’t expect Fox News to sponsor a gala held by the Young Socialist’s Society. 
  • How the sponsorship will increase brand reach: Some educationally-based higher education sponsorship opportunities prohibit logos. How will sponsoring the event get their name in front of potential new clients or customers? 
  • How the sponsorship will impact the club or organization represented: Companies want to feel their limited charity dollars are put to the highest and best use. Be transparent about how you will use the funds. 
  • What type of sponsorship will support the brand most: What are the company’s unique needs? For example, those with immediate openings might naturally gravitate toward commercial events where they can actively recruit candidates. 

Details You Need to Cover in Your Approach

You and your team will need to create a sponsorship proposal package for approaching your target organizations. It should include the following information: 

  • Event type: Will this be educational, career exploration or commercial? Does your school have any requirements regarding logo placement and branding opportunities? If so, you need to outline these for potential sponsors. 
  • Audience: Will your event involve the entire student body as invitees or select club or group members only? Will people from the surrounding community receive invitations? Will you offer recordings for download, and for whom if so? 
  • Location: Where will your event take place? Is it accessible to everyone? It would be a nightmare to hire a promotional speaker with disabilities only to have them struggle to enter the building where they are to present. 
  • Lead: Who will lead the event? Will it be student-run, or will organizations need to do much of the legwork to prepare presentations? 
  • Advertising: How will you inform the student body and the general public, if applicable, about your event? While you might seek media sponsors, you should have an independent marketing plan in place. Will you advertise in the student paper or on your organization’s website? 
  • Costs: Remember, transparency is vital when attracting corporate sponsors. How much will it cost to put on your event, and what percentage do you hope the business will help you offset? Provide a detailed budget, including advertising, equipment or facility rental, and personnel needed. 
  • Recruiters welcome: If you want to host a commercial event, please make that fact clear in your proposal package. Different schools have various rules, too — some may allow job solicitations at career exploration or even educational events. Clarify your policies. 
  • Resumes allowed: Even if you don’t want recruiters to actively solicit potential new hires, you should specify whether the company itself may collect resumes. You should also convey this information to attendees so they come prepared. 

To save time, it’s a wise idea to develop a base template containing this information. You ease the burden on future students who merely need to modify your existing model when planning their events. 

Investigate These Types of Higher Education Sponsorship Opportunities 

Higher education sponsorship opportunities get your student group the cash you need for your event or trip while affording businesses a valuable opportunity to grow their brand awareness. Consider this your complete guide to the process.

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