For most associations and membership-based organizations, member dues make up only a portion of total revenue. The top non-dues revenue drivers for associations are often events, sponsorships, and exhibitors.
As in-person events make a comeback, many organizations still offer all-virtual or hybrid career events that have both in-person and online attendance options. For those virtual event experiences, it’s important to provide a variety of online sponsorship options. As with in-person events, well executed sponsorship programs can provide immense value, with high return on investment (ROI) for your sponsors and added revenue for your association.
With these ideas in mind, here are some virtual alternatives to traditional onsite sponsorships for career events:
- Branded spaces
Personalized space for sponsors in the virtual lobby, networking lounges, webcast auditorium, or sponsor halls. This approach mirrors what attendees would see at an onsite career event.
Ask sponsors to moderate a pre-recorded or livestreamed session, or show a brief sponsor video before a session.
- Sponsor a lounge
Offer sponsors the option to host a lounge with some entertainment or activity. For example, your sponsors could use the lounge to host live music that you could livestream for attendees to watch remotely.
- Digital event bag
Turn the swag bag attendees receive at an in-person career event into a digital event bag. Use this bag to provide your sponsors’ content and important event resources in one place. You can even give sponsors the ability to see who clicked on their materials to give them added ROI.
Create a virtual game with your sponsors that all career event attendees can be a part of to encourage engagement. An example: Offer a virtual trivia night and entice attendees to attend using the next tip!
Use sponsored raffles/drawings that are built into your virtual career event schedule to attract attendees to various event activities.
- Guest blog posts
Offer sponsors the chance to provide a guest blog post that you can share on your registration website. This post can introduce potential attendees to the sponsors.
- Email communications
Include sponsor logos in email communications for your career event.
- Social media
Give your sponsors shout-outs on your social media posts so that members know the sponsors will be a part of your career event. Your followers just might see it and decide to register for your event.
- Event registration page
Use banners on your registration page as a sponsorship opportunity to help sponsors gain added exposure.
- Digital program guides
Place digital program guides in the attendees’ virtual welcome bags and have a special thank you section for your sponsors or offer them ad space in the guide as part of their sponsorship package.
- Digital gift cards
Email out a gift card provided by a sponsor to let attendees know the sponsor is a part of your career event. For example, a sponsor might provide a simple $5 gift card code to get coffee for those early morning virtual sessions.
- Matchmaking and appointment scheduling
Use attendee registration data and profile data to help sponsors/vendors research who is interested in their products/services and connect with them.
These are just a few of the ways to incorporate sponsorship opportunities in your upcoming virtual career event. The possibilities are “virtually” endless.
Discover more great ways to drive revenue for your association. Read the article, 10 Best Ideas for Generating Non-Dues Revenue in 2022.