Knowledge Centre Tips from the Industry

Know the language of sponsorship

As well as knowing the business objectives of sponsors, it is useful to be familiar with the language of sponsorship. Here is a glossary of sponsorship terms Business to Arts often gets asked to explain.

In-kindWhere goods or services are provided by a sponsor to an arts organisation instead of a cash fee. For example, flights, beverages, PR or marketing activity.

Leverage –The actions or activities undertaken by sponsors and rights holders that improve or enhance their partnership

Property – used to describe the project, programme or organisation itself that is the source of the benefits being offered to a corporate sponsor

Return on Investment (ROI) – performance measure(s) used to evaluate the efficiency of a sponsorship or to compare the efficiency of a number of different sponsorship properties

Rights Holder – The artist/arts organisation or legal entity that owns the rights of a sponsored project/programme of activities/event

Rights FeeThe payment made in cash or in kind by the sponsor to the arts organisation, in order to secure the legal rights of association with the property

Identify the objectives of the sponsor

We often receive feedback from sponsorship professionals (in the arts and business sectors) that the ability of arts professionals to understand the business objectives of corporate sponsors is limited. If you believe sponsorship is for you, it is vital that you are familiar with your prospective sponsor’s business objectives. This is where conducting RESEARCH on your prospective sponsor is vital.

Common sources of information on key business and sponsorship objectives of companies can be found:

  • On their website
  • In business strategy documents
  • In annual reports
  • In sponsorship & marketing publications – for example and Irish Marketing Journal
  • On the business pages of newspapers
  • By picking up the phone and asking!

Keep up-to-date with sponsorship trends

In addition to being aware of the motivations of sponsors of the arts, it is important to keep informed of recent trends in the arts and general sponsorship market.  Here are some of the trends/themes we expect over the coming years.

Over the last number of years, partnerships or strategic alliances between businesses and the arts for their mutual benefit has been a common theme. Partnerships are relationships that may have started out as pure sponsorship but have deepened over time. They’ve gone beyond traditional brand or marketing activities to include other activities such as community development and staff engagement.

Sponsorship, due to its long-term nature, will be somewhat sheltered from the effects of economic uncertainty. Like other industry analysts, we expect the sponsorship market to remain relatively stable in the medium term.

There has been an increase in the perceived value for money that can be achieved by sponsoring the arts. Business to Arts has observed an increasing level of small sponsorships (under the value of €25k) in recent years that have generated significant profile for those involved.

A common theme in new arts sponsorships is for brands and rights holders to seek to use their sponsorship to directly increase revenue/sales/customers/audience.

Sponsors and right holders are increasingly using social media to leverage their sponsorship.

It is important to recognise that sponsorship relationships naturally come to an end.

Read a book and recent research on sponsorship

  1. Read up on the most recent arts sponsorship case studies highlighted by the Allianz Business to Arts Awards
  2. For general sponsorship industry statistics, watch out for Onside  Sponsorship’s Annual Industry Survey of Irish sponsors and rights holders
  3. Read relevant research including The Business to Arts Private Investment in Arts & Culture Survey Report (2009) and the National Arts Sponsorship Survey (2006)
  4. Read a book on sponsorship! Here in Business to Arts we are big fans of international sponsorship  specialist Kim Skildum-Reid.


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