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Competing is one of the best parts of being in a student group. You’ll make unforgettable memories while traveling to competitions, but students rarely have the funding to pay for group events. Your schoolwork consumes too much of your time to allow a full-time job, so how can your group afford to reach its full potential? This guide explains which companies sponsor student groups and how you can find the funding your group needs to be successful.
What Are Student Groups?
Students like to gather to study or hang out, but that doesn’t necessarily make them a student group. Instead, the term describes any organization, association or society comprised of students. Your high school drama club or university debate team would count as a student group. If the club contains people who aren’t students or alumni, it would more likely be a public community organization.
How Do You Find Student Groups?
Student groups are most easily found during sign-up events at the beginning of the school year or by seeing posters around campus. Talk with your friends about which groups they’re a part of to learn about the expansive universe of student associations. There’s an organization for every interest, but they’re rarely funded by current members because young people don’t have the income to afford costly activities like traveling, competitions or shows.
What Companies Do Sponsorships for Student Groups?
Companies often sponsor student groups because the sponsorship is a mutually beneficial agreement. Instead of hosting numerous fundraising events throughout the year to raise money through bake sales or car washes, you’ll strike a deal where a corporation provides routine funding in exchange for advertising.
You might put their logo on your sports jerseys or post ads for them on your group’s social media accounts if you have a significant following. It’s your responsibility to provide the brand exposure or advertising outlined in your agreement in exchange for their financial support.
Where do you start looking for sponsorships for student groups? Local and national brands both give money to college organizations, so it depends on if you share the same audience or could introduce them to new consumer groups they might not otherwise reach, like other young people. These are some of the best names in the game to inquire about student group sponsorships.
Everyone knows the red and white Coca-Cola logo, so a sponsorship with the international soda brand wouldn’t be to increase their name recognition. They might want to fund your group if your high school or university town has a Coca-Cola plant they could celebrate or if your organization supports their diversity mission statement.
2. Wells Fargo
Young people might see a bank logo on your group’s apparel and think about them the next time they need to take out a loan for classes or open a savings account. The global bank may support your club to add your increased opportunities to their roster of higher-education donations and potentially attract young customers.
3. Dick’s Sporting Goods
Dick’s Sporting Goods franchise locations get a boost in revenue when local sports teams get more funding to purchase equipment and travel to competitions. They may donate to your academic sports group if you use their products exclusively or mention their brand on your social media account profiles.
4. Whole Foods
University students often reach out to Whole Foods because they’ll agree to sponsorships to support their community-first initiatives. Reach out to your local franchise manager to discuss how your group could advertise for them in exchange for funding throughout the school year.
5. State Farm
You can also reach out to a State Farm representative to discuss sponsorships for student groups. They consider sponsorship agreements even for niche groups, like organizations related to auto mechanics. It gives them good publicity, like when they sponsored a skills organization to train more people to become collision repair experts.
Walmart is another big brand that emphasizes its commitment to pulling communities together. In exchange for funding, they may request that you hang a Walmart banner facing your audience at every sporting event or at the entrance to every performance. Even though they don’t need to grow their consumer base, they can still use your marketing to advertise new deals or opportunities.
When people leave a student group meeting or event, they may not think to stop for food on the way home. McDonald’s knows that if they sponsor a group and get everyone thinking about french fries and burgers by displaying their logo, they may convince more people to purchase meals. They’ll likely sponsor your student organization if a nearby franchise location needs a revenue boost.
Starbucks often sets up coffee shops in college towns because students need caffeine for study sessions and quiet places to work. Marketing themselves through an organizational sponsorship is a great chance to alert new students that there’s a Starbucks nearby. See if they’ll sponsor your group by providing cups, bags or social media post requirements and your organization will get the funding it needs.
Reaching out to a Delta representative is a great idea if your group focuses on international students or travels extensively. Their key audience is travelers, which you can provide by showing off their logo around students that have to fly home or to events. Their branding agreement may focus exclusively on social media posts, as marketing swag is limited for airlines.
When new students move onto campus or need to pick up groceries, they raid Target for their home goods and pantry supplies. Other undergrads and upperclassmen will likely shop there too. Based on recent research, 58-62% of Target shoppers are between the ages of 18-44 — the primary ages of college students. No matter who attends your group events, they’ll likely be the perfect audience for Target marketing through a sponsorship agreement.
You’ll likely see Costco’s logo at local sporting events and parades because the brand gives a budgeted portion of its pre-tax profits to local communities every year. They’ll likely support your student group for the same type of brand exposure. College students may respond to their marketing and take advantage of their discount programs on bulk items that make a significant difference in dorm rooms, like toilet paper and microwavable meals.
Students can find many deals at Walgreens near their campus, but they may not know that the membership program is free. A franchise manager close to your university may agree to sponsor your student organization during the school year to give away freebies like branded hand sanitizers and bags.
Your Walgreens manager may be more likely to donate to smaller groups as well because clubs that don’t travel very far will give them better brand marketing to their location-dependent target audience.
Donating to student organizations is a great opportunity for Lyft in a few ways. The company knows that college students will need rides home from parties throughout their time at their universities. Young people can also work for Lyft part-time because the scheduling allows for flexible shifts around ever-changing class schedules. It’s another simple sponsorship opportunity that’s easy to pull together because both parties will benefit greatly.
14. Dairy Queen
You might not think about Dairy Queen when it comes to student sponsorships, but the family-oriented brand is quick to donate to local groups. It calls back to their family roots and celebrates how people come together to have a good time. The brand mostly donates based on franchise locations, so contact a local manager instead of a corporate representative to find out how to arrange a sponsorship agreement for the upcoming semester or school year.
Universities often have a Subway location on campus because it’s an excellent resource for students. They can grab food on the go while picking from healthier options than fast food alternatives. You may secure a sponsorship more quickly if there’s a Subway on your campus, but you can also contact an off-campus management team to discuss partnership arrangements. They could want their logo on your club apparel or a table to give out coupons and freebies at your upcoming events.
Students often find financial support by reaching out to Pepsi. The major brand donates to university clubs and organizations of all types, so inquire with a marketing representative. They may agree to ongoing donations or supply the finances you need to participate in a specific championship event.
Students may see Geico advertisements and inquire with the brand about rental or car insurance. You could have an easy time finding a sponsorship with Geico after submitting an application on the main website. See how your group could provide extra marketing for their services by discussing how your specific events and talents are the best opportunity for more local brand exposure.
18. Buffalo Wild Wings
Going out for wings and drinks is a classic college pastime, so they frequently donate to student groups to encourage more people to visit their franchise locations with friends. They often provide branded materials like drink cozies and key chains that groups can give out to attendees at events. It’s a simple agreement that works for everyone and may even get your club a discount on future orders.
Partner With Companies to Get Sponsorships
There are so many opportunities to find sponsorships for student groups. Consider the biggest brands and local companies to decide which businesses would most benefit from advertisements to your club members, event audiences and peers on campus. You’ll quickly come to easy arrangements that benefit both parties in numerous ways.