Sponsorship

The Significance of In-Kind and Contra Sponsorships for Event Organizers

Eventually Learning Team
Freebies?! Where are the Freebies?! Who doesn’t like Freebies?! Free stuff is considered instantaneously attractive, as a bonus or a gift shoots up the serotonin hormone in human body triggering happiness. In-Kind sponsorships work in a similar manner for the event profs.

But what happens when we receive free stuff? We lose value of it. That is exactly what has happened to in-kind and contra sponsorships over time. ‘Lost Its Charm’ is how veteran event organizers convey their thoughts upon this. But I would love to disagree!

An example of reliable and beneficial in-kind sponsorships can be -  when an art gallery in Australia hosts a major European art exhibition, to secure an airline partner to transport the art from Europe to Australia can mean a world of a difference in financial terms for the organizer, when the exhibition goes ahead, this in turn can benefit the airline partner!

Amongst the varied types of sponsorships for events, let’s understand the importance of contra sponsorships with these in-depth event examples!

Easing Up the Budgets!

Contra sponsorships can have a massive impact on the event’s budget! Imagine receiving a venue at no-costs or branding without shelling out a dime. This sounds exciting? It upsurges enthusiasm and boosts the event organizer’s motivation to create an enhanced experiential event. But apart from having a sentimental impact, the contra sponsorships reduce the monetary pressure as well.

And how does this exactly happen? Let’s take a look at few contra sponsorship examples: -
  • Venue Partners: About 40% of the event budget is allocated for the venue and the event design costs. How about you skip this entire expenditure by cracking a deal with the venue partner? Hilton properties have become the long-term logistics and hotel partners for F1 team McLaren presenting them with an opportunity to be on display of big banners and more in return of giving free venue service to the champs!
    • In many business events like MarTech conference and more, we see early bird discounts offered for booking the stay with a specific hotel like the Four Seasons at London.
  • Beverage Partners: Catering and Beverage sponsors offer free food to the conference attendees in exchange of branding and exposure. Heineken’s alcohol sponsorship for Coachella and sgfleet’s coffee sponsorship for the HR Summit at Melbourne are excellent examples of this.
  • Travel Sponsorship: Emirates offers special sponsorships for events being held in Dubai. Dubai Jazz Festival, Grand Prix and more events are sponsored by the airlines, flying the participants and attendees at a discounted rate or even free.
  • Event Swag: What would your attendees love? Some event swag, interesting titbits and usable items that can be taken home from the event. As an event organizer, you can introduce the event swag with branded options and make your attendees as well as sponsors happy. A few ideas can be branded stationery, socks and pullovers or cardigans.
  • Event Insurance: The insurance companies can save your event from the repercussions of event cancellations in return of branding and exclusive signage opportunities. A win-win right?

Another Event Sponsorship Marketing Key

The two major sources of revenue for an event – Registrations and Sponsorships, is divided in the 30:70 ratio to create a balancing ROI for pre-event revenue generation and post-event revenue collection.

Sponsorships are required so that the event organizer can plan an event and create an experiential experience that can be marketed to get more registrations! A tedious cycle, isn’t it?

What we are trying to say is, sponsors attract sponsors. Without you even having to market the sponsorships, your sponsors will know about you – as they run in the same circles and they talk! So if you secure Hilton as your venue partner, more Gold, Platinum and Silver partners are going to swish in! That’s the unsaid side of event sponsorship marketing for you!

For example, a recent Healthcare event – Digital Biomarkers and Clinical Measures in Neurology, openly displayed its event partners and strategically invited more partners by leveraging these already secured industry multinationals as sponsors.

Gratuitous Event Promotions

Ever heard of media partners for an event? Your event needs to be on top-of-mind for the attendees, only then will they be able to spread the word further making your event a full-packed soiree! Free PR, news items and digital coverage in the pre-event stage can mean exclusive complimentary event marketing!

Future Offices Summer’s media partners WORKDESIGN Magazine covers the event’s attributes and spreads the information within the prospects increasing the registrations.

Engagement Booster

The contra sponsorships are beneficial in unimaginable ways! Saving cash is apparently not the highest advantage of these sponsorships. The idea of boosting engagement by 8x is! Contra brands offer event applications (read FREE Event Apps!) and innovative engagement props like a media wall to click pictures that can come across as a massive attraction for the attendees at the event.

Eventboard offers a free trial and sponsorship for events, and it can become a long-term partnership as well!

Final Words

Mutuality and being co-dependent for brand awareness and revenue generation is what contra sponsorships are all about. This type of Sponsorship works! Give and Take – equal amounts of value!  As an event organizer, focus on building long-term contra relationships that are beneficial to all stakeholders involved.

Frequently Asked Questions


What do the contra sponsors receive in return?

Contra sponsors have different sponsorship goals like brand awareness, lead generation and exposure for their brand. They receive signage at the event, leads, an opportunity for building their brand’s image, access to their ideal customer profile and more through their contribution towards the event.

Does Contra sponsorship require a budget?

No, Contra sponsorships don’t require a budget. These are specific in-kind sponsorships which give and take equal amounts of value to the sponsors as well as the event organizers.

What is the difference between a cash and a contra sponsorship?

A cash sponsorship is different than a contra sponsorship in terms of the value attached to it. Cash sponsors provide monetary value to the event organizer aiding the event planning process with financial support. Whereas, the contra sponsors provide in-kind sponsorships like media outreach, venues for the event, food and beverage or catering responsibilities etc.

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