A new trend has cropped up over the last few years that may present an opportunity for you to make some money to help pay for some of life’s biggest expenses. Many people are now having their events and big expenses sponsored by advertisers. Weddings, college educations, cars, and even housing can be sponsored these days. Sponsorship means that product providers place their wares, logos, or ads at your event or on your vehicle/body in exchange for money or free products for you. For example, a sponsored wedding may have invitations with the stationers’ logo and information on them, or flowers with cards indicating the florist at each table. You would then receive the flowers or invitations for free or at a discounted rate, or you would receive cash that you could use to offset other expenses.
Sponsorship varies from the subtle to the supremely tacky. Cars may be decked out in bright colors and neon logos. You may have to agree to a tattoo on your body in exchange for some money to help you pay for college. A sponsored wedding dress may have the designers name printed on the train. Subtler sponsorships may involve agreeing to wear a particular outfit to a certain event, or placing ads in a wedding program. Depending on your tolerance for such things, sponsorship may be a turn off for you.
If you want to seek sponsorship, you need to approach companies directly. Unless you are famous, companies won’t come to you. You’ll also need to be able to make a good case to the advertiser about what’s in it for them. Advertisers want exposure, so if you’re not able to give them the exposure they want, you won’t get sponsored. You need to be popular, planning a larger event, or be able and willing to travel to key locations. You’ll probably have more success with local/small businesses than with large national advertisers.
If you think sponsorship might be for you, here are some events/things that you might be able to get sponsored:
Weddings: Almost any individual aspect of a wedding can be sponsored, or you can sell sponsorship rights for the whole wedding to one advertiser. You can get everything from free flowers to photos if you’re willing to allow advertisers to hawk their stuff at your wedding. If you want sponsorship, you need to be either famous/elite, planning a very large or public event, or be able to offer something else that will attract advertisers to you. A simple ceremony at the local church probably won’t attract many sponsorship offers, unless you live in a small town where your gig is the biggest thing going.
Funerals: I’ve heard of very few sponsored funerals, but given the rise in advertising and people’s willingness to accept ads for money, it’s not too off the mark to expect more sponsored funerals in the future.
Cars: Some advertisers will give you a car to drive. The car will likely be decked out in a wrap or paint job promoting the business. If you want to qualify, you generally have to drive a lot and go to popular places where the advertiser knows his target audience is likely to be. You’ll probably give up some privacy as most of these “free” cars are equipped with tracking systems to make certain you are giving the advertiser the exposure they want.
College: If you want to pay for college, you can get paid for wearing certain clothes to specific events. The latest case of this occurred when KFC paid attractive college girls to wear shorts with “Double Down” on the rear to promote their new sandwich. Some people go a step further and offer up their body to advertisers, allowing them to place tattoos on various parts. You may also get paid to attend popular events while wearing the advertisers’ clothes. Any money you make can go towards your education.
RV’s: Similar to free cars, you may be able to score a free RV (or get your existing RV subsidized) if you agree to plaster advertising all over it. I know several people who have done this and since they live in the RV full time, it equates to free or subsidized housing. In return, your are generally expected to attend specific events and trade shows, visit with people, and hawk the advertiser’s products.
There are drawbacks to seeking sponsorship. Plenty of people think it’s tacky to sell an interest in your private affairs and that attitude may taint your event or activities. You also give up some control over your events and activities because you have to do what the advertisers want you to do. You have to go with their colors, logos, and placement. You have to agree to give up some privacy. You’ll also find that your sponsors may have additional expectations of you such as requiring you to promote their products at trade shows or other events. Before you agree to sponsorship, make certain you understand exactly what will be expected of you, what things will look like, and what control and privacy you’ll have to give up. As with any financial arrangement, make certain you get everything in writing in a binding contract.
If you can live with the things that advertisers will expect of you and if you can get past the tackiness of sponsorship, seeking sponsors can be a way to save money on some of life’s biggest expenses.