Updated: Apr 27, 2018
Industry and topic specific job fairs put on by your friends
Graduate employers are frequently on campus promoting their grad schemes held by the university. Whilst these are a great opportunity to meet employers, they can often be overcrowded, making it hard to gain the information you need. As part of sponsorship, societies and sports clubs can host exclusive networking evenings on campus. The sponsor can bring a selection of employees to share their experiences and students can have quality convocations with recruiters. This brings two advantages: students can gain a unique insight into the company and the application process and companies can cherry-pick promising candidates.
Clubs and societies are a goldmine for employers to find top talent
The students who participate in extra-curricular activities put on by sports clubs and societies generally have many of the skills that employers look for in prospective employees. From these activities, opportunities arise for students to develop their communication and leadership skills whilst displaying teamwork to overcome challenges. By sponsoring a sports club or society, employers are likely to get a higher caliber of students with enhanced, employable skills applying to their graduate schemes.
Partnerships allow brands to be extremely well represented on campus
Through developing a successful partnership with a university club or society, it allows local and national businesses to gain publicity by having their logos featuring on sports kit, flyers, merchandise and at freshers fairs. At campus universities especially this means students become very familiar with the brands that they see on a daily basis and can begin to associate it with their university. This leads to more students following their curiosity by visiting the company website and applying to graduate and placement opportunities or buying products. For many clubs and societies, having the logo of a large organisation can be of great interest when it comes to gaining interest of freshers too.
Why just go for the player when you can have the team?
Although recruiting student brand ambassadors have proved a very popular and successful method of promotion and campus recruitment, those employers that choose to sponsor a society gain access to often hundreds of students who essentially become their ambassadors and influencers. This means more people attend careers events, serve as information points to other students and create brand awareness by talking about the brand or wearing their logo (which sounds like a much better deal).
Access to what used to be 'untouchable'
Sponsoring a student society bring your company opportunities that before would never have been possible. For example, the ability to give a careers talk on campus after working hours, or perhaps having your logo strategically positioned around academic learning zones. Marketing opportunities like these might not have been possible before due to protective university regulations or distance. Larger societies and sports teams are also able to offer promotional posts through their lengthy mailing lists, or secretly active Facebook groups.
Your own army of brand ambassadors and influencers
Societies and sports clubs generally have a team of around 6 committee members who are voted in by their peers into the positions they hold, and are usually very well connected around campus and amongst other societies too. By keeping them happy with a great sponsorship deal for both the society and themselves, they're an extremely strong force both on and offline and it's very likely that benefits that come from the sponsorship will be well heard, especially by the society's members.
When your club succeeds, so does their sponsor!
It could be a Varsity win, a BUCS championship title or a volunteering project, your successes and accomplishments as a club or society only reflect positively onto your sponsors. Many companies like to be associated with societies that echo their own values of enriching communities and will regularly repost your efforts on their social media channels for all to see. For example many societies regularly take part in charity supported socials and fundraisers, these types of events really set them apart from other sponsorship bids. Another great benefit of backing societies and sports clubs is having the backing of many prestigious academic institutions, which can be especially great for start-ups looking to get their foot in the door.
It still amazes me why most companies haven't made full use of this great marketing technique yet! However, there are some clever ones who do...
PwC, KPMG, Faction Skis and Headstart all have very effective sponsorship/partnership schemes in place with UK clubs and societies. Having been a student myself and also a committee member, I've been exposed first hand to the success sponsorship and partnerships bring to all parties, and believe that it should be taking place more frequently.