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What is a Project Sponsor?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2016
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A project sponsor is any individual, group or business that provides sponsorship funding to support any phase of a particular project. Usually, such projects are for charitable or civic purposes. Sponsorship does not always involve monetary funding, however. For instance, a project sponsor may also include an individual or a group that provides supplies or services at no cost to assist in a project’s completion.

Charitable organizations that rely heavily on sponsorship funding often create a long-term or permanent sponsorship program since a need for supporting the work performed by these types of groups is generally ongoing. In such programs, various levels of sponsorship may be created. For example, individuals who donate above a certain dollar amount, as well as volunteer time to help administrate a project, may be designated as executive sponsors while a project sponsor who contributes a lesser amount and does not volunteer may not bear an executive title.

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It is also common for potential sponsors to be refused based on the ethical guidelines of an organization. For instance, organizers for a youth athletic event may decide against allowing alcohol and tobacco companies to participate in sponsorship opportunities due to the health risks associated with these products. In most instances, however, anyone with the desire and the means to do so may become a sponsor. Various websites and volunteer organizations function to help projects get a sponsor. As well, it is not uncommon for project organizers to personally approach groups and individuals with an invitation to sponsor a project.

The reasons that companies or individuals agree to sponsor certain projects vary. In return for becoming a project sponsor, public advertisement and acknowledgment is usually offered. Such may help boost a business’ visibility in the community, advertise a commitment to a particular cause and increase revenues for businesses that publicly support certain projects.

Often, a project sponsor will lend support simply because she or he believes strongly in the good of a project. For instance, a local business may sponsor a youth athletic team because owners believe that team sports help shape a child’s character and create a sense of community. The type of sponsorship may vary, as well. A business owner may choose to offer money for the team’s equipment or may prefer to donate trophies or award plaques given for individual achievement.

A project sponsor usually agrees to support a project for a certain length of time or up to a certain dollar amount. Some sponsors, however, may engage in long-term sponsorship agreements. Also, sponsors may provide long-term support for short-term projects that occur at regular intervals. For instance, a business may agree to repeatedly sponsor a charity event that only lasts for a weekend, but that occurs annually.

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