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Corporate Sponsorship: Growth Streak Continues For Associations

Associations Now, October 30, 2013

By Ernie Smith

Insurance companies, banks, and pharmaceutical firms are the largest sponsors of the association industry at large, according to the “IEG Sponsorship Report”—and spending is expected to top $572 million this year.

They may not have the glamorous appeal of the NFL and other sports leagues, but associations and membership groups are still drawing consistent sponsorship interest from the corporate world.

The “IEG Sponsorship Report” says corporate sponsorships in the space are continuing their rise, due in part to more sophisticated sponsorship offerings. More details:

Pace of growth: In 2013, associations and membership organizations are projected to take in $572 million in sponsorship dollars, IEG reports, a 4 percent increase from 2012. (As the graphic above shows, annual sponsorship spending has grown steadily since 2009.) Compared to other spaces, that growth is pretty solid, though below the 5.5 percent average for industry sponsorship overall. Sports, which saw 6 percent growth last year, is the most popular space for corporate sponsorships, according to the study.

Who are they? Insurance firms are the most likely companies to sponsor an association, according to IEG: They are 7.6 times more likely to sponsor membership organizations than the average. Other top sponsors of associations include the banking, pharmaceutical, legal services, real estate-related, and hardware industries. At the individual company level, Goldman Sachs, Lifetouch, Nestlé S.A., and Wells Fargo are among the biggest sponsors. Goldman Sachs and Lifetouch are prime examples: 11 percent of associations in the IEG report note offers of some form of sponsorship from at least one of the two companies.

How the space is changing: According to William Chipps, senior editor of the report, part of what’s driving growth is that associations are offering more options for companies looking to connect with their members. (That means less logo on a swag bag, more year-round integrated programs.) “Associations and professional membership organizations are boosting nondues revenue by overhauling their go-to-market strategies from top to bottom,” Chipps said in a press release.

What trends have you seen in your own corporate sponsorship deals? Let us know in the comments.