Hybrid events are coming in hot this year along with the highly anticipated return of in-person events.
2021 will be one for the books…. or so we’re hoping. To help in-person and hybrid events come back stronger than ever, let’s start with some fresh sponsorship ideas.
According to Markletic, 65% of event organizers accept sponsorships for their events, with the average sponsorship package for a virtual event costing $8,456. While it may seem inconvenient to adjust your way of highlighting in-person event sponsorships, we assure you that having the virtual sponsorship component adds a bit of excitement!
Think about it. Virtual attendees are sitting on their couch, half are most likely pant-less, and they probably aren’t expecting anything too grand to occur. Then boom! You hit them with a sponsored jam sesh.
Professional jammer: “Do you wanna rock?!”
Virtual attendee: “Yeah!”
Professional jammer: “Let’s do it! This jam sesh is sponsored by Swoogo. Thanks, Swoogo, for letting us shred.”
Virtual attendee remains shocked and immediately thinks this is the best virtual sponsorship ever. Not everyone wants their face melted, and we get that. If you want jam sesh to be something like this instead, then make that happen!
As you think of really unique sponsorship opportunities, you can gather attendee interest and preferences on the registration form. Make sure you have event registration software that’s customizable, preferably with free unlimited conditional logic. This will make your life so much easier.
So let’s get to it.
Here are 8 Sponsorship Ideas for Hybrid Events… That Aren’t Boring
1 SPONSORED JAM SESSIONS
So more about that jam sesh. When it’s a packed day with educational sessions back to back, it’s nice to have a break. Get a sponsor to underwrite a private jam session or mini-concert. This could be a celebrity musician or even your hometown entertainer. A quick, 15-minute session will leave a lasting impression on attendees, especially with a sponsored banner around the screen and a catchy hashtag. Whether it’s streamed from the entertainer’s home for both the live and virtual attendees or a live event streamed for the virtual attendees, it’s sure to be a hit. We can feel the energy of your event rising already.
2 SPONSORED HAPPY HOUR
Who doesn’t love happy hour? You get to relax while chatting about the day with new and old friends. There are two ways in which sponsored happy hour can go down.
The first is to have a themed happy hour! Those who registered early enough can receive branded swag in the mail and wear it during happy hour. Those not so early can still participate by throwing together an outfit from what they already have. For the live component, you can have items at a table when people walk in.
The second is to buy the attendees a drink. You obviously know how this works for the live attendees, but for the virtual attendees, it involves sending them a beverage. This can be a small bottle of wine or beer, or if you want to get really fancy, you can send them the ingredients to whip up a cocktail. Did someone say cute, sustainable, branded packaging?! Don’t forget to offer these same varieties in non-alcoholic options. To further highlight your sponsors, you can have branded labels or include a branded glass in the package that will stay around attendees’ homes for a while.
Pssst. Make sure to check the liquor laws in each state and country before setting your heart on this idea.
No event is complete without a hashtag these days. Make a fun hashtag and encourage participants to share pictures on social. Who knows, maybe you’ll give one lucky winner a nice prize (hint hint).
3 SPONSORED MEALS
We love supporting local businesses, especially in a time like this. But we’re also well aware that Uber Eat’s costs add up. Let sponsors help with meal breaks. You can have a meal/snack/coffee delivered to an attendee from a local business, or if your attendees are spread out all over the world, consider a voucher. A voucher lets attendees order what they want, when they want, and will leave a good taste in their mouths 😉 If providing food to either your live or virtual attendees, we encourage you to ask about allergy information on your custom event registration form.
One more do good/feel good idea for sponsors– If you’re going to send food or provide a voucher, you could consider having an opt-out selection where the money would instead be donated to an organization helping to combat hunger. It would be an even bigger hit if the sponsor could match donations.
4 SPONSORED GAMES
Ahh—nothing like a little competition to get hearts racing. Keep your attendees engaged with your event by offering quizzes, challenges, or competitive play between sessions. Or heck! Have a full trivia session that’s fun, educational, and full of attendee engagement. Sponsors can provide the game and/or provide prizes. For the virtual attendees, logos can be on the web page with the video, or there could be a banner around the video screen.
5 PRINTED AGENDAS OR PROGRAMS
We know what you’re thinking. How’s this a “non-boring” hybrid sponsor idea? Well, it’s exciting because it’s unexpected. Sure, attendees are used to receiving printed schedules at live events, but they’re most likely not expecting one if they’re attending virtually. So they receive something in the mail (exciting), and now they’re looking forward to attending (anticipation). See! Not boring.
As for the sponsors, make sure they are highlighted on the printed schedule and that they each stand out in their own way. We also recommend making your program different by printing it on recycled paper, for example. It gives it a cool, rustic look and helps it stand out from all the other papers stacked on the attendee’s desk.
Psssst. This is a bonus for sponsors because virtual attendees may keep the printed schedule longer than they would have at the live event.
6 SPONSORED SCAVENGER HUNT
A sponsored scavenger hunt is the perfect solution to get attendees to explore more of the live event space or the virtual event platform, especially the sponsor booths. Attendees are encouraged to explore and interact with different sponsor booths to find specific items or clues. The first attendee to complete the scavenger hunt will win a grand prize, or you could have all participants who completed the scavenger hunt entered into a drawing for prizes. The rewards could highlight one sponsor or multiple.
7 SPONSORED BAKING SESSION (AKA Jam Session Part 2)
In case you were thinking actual jam back when we were on our jam sesh, we wanted to dive into that a little more. This is more applicable for virtual attendees, but sending a little “make your own jam” kit to attendees would be fun, entertaining, and different. It could be a particular session that they sign up for, like following a cooking show or a DIY via directions. Just think if you were able to secure a celebrity chef! How fun!
P.S. Custom registration pathways are super easy with Swoogo.
As far as sponsors go, they could be highlighted on the packaging of the kit as well as the jar that the attendees’ jam will live in. Now that’s sweet! 😋
8 SPONSORED ENTERTAINMENT BREAKS
Let’s end adjacent to how we began. We’re still on those entertainment breaks, but didn’t want to take away from the jam sesh (how many times can we say jam sesh in one post?).
Think outside the box for these sponsored entertainment breaks. It could be a comedian, dancer, singer, hula hooper, shuffler, etc. Same rules apply as far as catchy hashtag and a branded banner around the viewing panel.
Hopefully, we’ve given you something to think about besides the classic name on a pen. The 8 sponsorship ideas mentioned are different, because they leave a lasting effect on attendees. They make them feel some type of way, and people tend to buy based on feelings.
Pssst. Planning a hybrid event next year? Check these 15 tips for a successful hybrid event in 2021.