Why do businesses sponsor events? Is there a ROI? Is it a tax-efficient and economical marketing tool? Or is it a conscious-pricking, CSR-ticking exercise?

Whatever the motive, and despite the fact that all event or organisation fundraisers will say it is becoming increasingly hard to find sponsors, there is still a lot of sponsorship going on all day and every day in all sizes of enterprise. It might be the local newsagents sponsoring a paper boy to do a 10k run for charity or it could be a global company adorning the shirts of Manchester United.

So why do businesses sponsor at all?

  1. Unlike above the line advertising, local sponsorship is cost effective.
  2. It creates links with the community that can widen its potential audience.
  3. It builds brand awareness and loyalty.
  4. Audiences perceive sponsorship as a positive way of providing support.
  5. It is a 2-way exchange, providing opportunities to connect with live audiences at VIP receptions, launches, private views, visibility at events etc.
  6. It is an opportunity to showcase a brand or product.
  7. Companies that sponsor stand out from the competition.
  8. It provides great PR opportunities.
  9. It makes projects happen that otherwise might struggle to.
  10. It shows that business care, and consumers like that. It is not just about ticking the CSR box.


At First Option Software, we find our involvement in the Alresford Music Festival a great way of getting our name out there – not necessarily to immediately win new business as a direct result – but to tell people that we are not a closed shop, that what we do is interesting, varied and relevant to everyday business.

Without sponsorship, the Alresford Music Festival, now in its fourth year and boasting four separate stages, 22 artists and an expected 1,500+ footfall, would not happen. The two beneficiaries, the Juvenile Diabetic Research Foundation and the Alresford Youth Association, would not receive any funds. A varied line-up of music from established and emerging local talent would not be heard on a summer’s day in the beautiful setting of Alresford. A lot of fun would not be had by many, many people from hardened fans to families out for the day. And the world would be a sadder place for it.

If you are interested in hearing more about the Alresford Music Festival – how it came about, what’s on in 2013, who’s playing – and join in with the discussion about the worth of sponsoring local events, please come along to our #FirstThing at First Option breakfast seminar on Wednesday 15th May. It’s free, and a great way to start the day. Sign up here http://firstthingatfirstoption.eventbrite.co.uk/