Keep Sponsors by your Chapter’s Side: 16 ideas

We know this question of how to keep on sponsors engaged is a top of mind worry for chapters.  We’ve been collecting ideas from a variety of sources; here are some. We also do a webinar for chapter leaders to teach how to have the conversation with possible sponsors and thinking differently about sponsorships; ask us about it.

1) Mix up offers for Webinars:

    • Offer options to be a sponsor of a webinar hosted by the chapter or for a lower price, sponsor hosts on their platform.
    • Sell webinar packages – sponsor 2 (or 3) and get a 20% on the sponsor rate.
    • Build an active vs passive approach – active allows the sponsor to be a speaker (thought leader) on a webinar vs simply sponsoring.
    • Engage sponsors by solicited partners to be speakers for hot topic webinars with submission form on their website.


2) For conferences, get sponsors engaged in swag like these:

    • “things to do at home” … sponsored offers that will help people pass the time such as  deal with a streaming service or VPN, professional development courses, home workout programs, or anything else that can be delivered online.
    • Items that boost tactical in a virtual event: “wear and share” items (sunglasses, hats, masks).
    • Leverage Grubhub or Uber Eats to deliver a set lunch (or coffee break snack) to the homes of all attendees at a set time.
    • A charitable gift: offer attendees a card to fill out and let them choose the charity of their choice during the event or send them an eGift card to donate before or after.
    • Virtual swag bags (also provides reporting data such as how many people accessed it and how they interacted with the items in the bag, which you can share with sponsors and use to help inform what materials attendees found most valuable.) Virtual event bags: $500-5000; swagup $25-99 I ordered a free on, super cool order process;
    • Surprise package delivered to the attendee (branded toilet paper anyone?)


3) Offer a welcome video that offers important information by the sponsor on event registration page.

4) After your event is recorded, edited, and available on-demand, include short “bumper videos” promoting your sponsors ahead of the content. Bumper videos are like the short ads you watch before YouTube videos.

5) Brand transitions and breaks between speakers, sessions, at beginning of an event. Put up full screen ads thanking your sponsors during breaks, and for intermissions, consider rotating between several ads. Or overlay the sponsor’s logo on the lower third of the screen. In a similar vein, include a full backdrop during intros, certain sponsored presentations, live streamed Q&A sessions, etc.

6) Tie sponsors into a freemium for members, e.g., buy tix or sit through a sponsor video. You are giving attendees a free ticket (covered by sponsor) if they agree to watch a sponsor’s message or somehow engage with the sponsor. Those attendees that prefer not to have any promotional messaging, can pay an extra fee.

7) Twist on that: offer registrants a discount for scheduling a meeting with the vendor; tie with a Calendly account to schedule calls. One chapter took this a couple of steps further and had price tiers based on how many vendors you agreed to talk with. All the vendors were highlighted on a page and you could click through and learn more about to make your selection, thus delivering brand awareness.

8) Run a 5/5/5 hosted by sponsor for a burst of energy that enables networking: using virtual breakout rooms: five people, five questions, for five minutes. ”

9) Let sponsoring organizations provide the fun game break and can send a small parting gift to contest participants.

10) Help sponsors get their names and faces out there by giving them the opportunity to host pre-event virtual coffee breaks or happy hours.

11) Offer event sponsorships like volunteer orientation guides for your virtual event platform.

12) Offer sponsors options to support content – set of critical tip sheets, COVID updates, event round-up of resources. This puts the sponsor on content that has a shelf life.

13) Turn your ability to poll your attendees or members into revenue with a sponsor benefit that includes answers to meaningful questions.

14) Offer an opportunity to sponsor a segment to attend the virtual conference or webinar, e.g., “Student Benefactor” or “Meetings Pro” package. The sponsor gets the applause for supporting the group (think students and future leaders) and has a targeted “thank you” message to the group.

15) For awards programs, have sponsors for key awards e.g., Educator of the Year. The sponsor’s name is on the award and presents the award to the winner.

16) Go for in-kind sponsors – reduces expenses! Ideas include graphic design, web site maintenance (save the tech fees), use of Zoom or another virtual meeting platform.

Also, check out this post from Billhighway for more.