Through a co-sponsorship in student activities programming, two or more groups or organizations can agree to jointly participate in producing a program.
Before leaping into a co-sponsorship agreement, though, your organization should consider the following six factors identified by Kintigh and Beifus (1992):
- Does the intended program mesh with your student group's educational mission?
- Does it support the educational mission of the school and its related service groups?
- Does your student organization and the intended co-sponsor(s) have adequate volunteers to commit to this project/event?
- What kind of allowances will be made for the training of volunteers not familiar with campus event programming?
- Does the intended event conflict with any important events on the academic calendar?
- Are there adequate funds available to implement the program? Which group will pay for what? How will payment or reimbursement be made?
If after considering these factors, your student group feels a co-sponsorship is a valid option, you will next need to decide what type of co-sponsorship will best meet your needs and best serve the event. The three most common types of co-sponsorships are financial, personnel, and informational.
This is the most common form of partnership and it involves the pooling of financial resources. This is one way your student group can produce an event that would otherwise be financially infeasible. It is also one way to spread the financial costs of hosting an important event that directly supports your group's mission and goals. When planning a financial co-sponsorship, it's important to keep one particular caution in mind: the money for the artist's fee must be in one or both of the organizations' account(s) prior to the event because payment of the artist is traditionally made immediately following the event.
A student group may join with another student group because its members have more experience in producing the type of event under consideration. For any organization, asking another to share personnel may save preparation time and prevent the students involved from neglecting classes or work because an event requires involvement from planning to execution.
The third type of co-sponsorship involves one organization sharing information with one or more other campus organizations. Generally speaking, the organization with the specialized knowledge would offer advice to the group organizing an event.
This advice could be offered in several different forms:
- as peer counseling from primary student organization members;
- by offering to share informational resources for example, lending periodicals such as Billboard, Pollstar, or Rolling Stone; and
- maintaining a library of resources, which could include copies of sample contracts, contract riders, program planning checklists and budget planning forms, to list a few possibilities.
To alleviate the possibility that these disadvantages will threaten the production of your co-sponsored program, all parties should establish their own co-sponsorship policies. These policies will guide their decision-making and negotiation process with the other group and should help to minimize the chances of the event becoming "derailed."