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Why event sponsorships give tech giants bang for their bucks

John Webster | Nov. 17, 2015
While the marketing benefits may seem obvious, there are plenty of other benefits to sponsoring large, nontech events.

"Students are paired with SAP employees who act as mentors, and help them through the process. We believe strongly that our employees should be involved, and we hold one event at our offices in Silicon Valley and Newtown, Penn. Here as SAP, we have a volunteer platform, where we put in place 300 projects across the country. In some markets we have employee ambassadors," says Katie Morgan, head of corporate social responsibility at SAP.

Global Citizen Earth Day
Sponsor: YouTube

YouTube likes to sponsor events that it can showcase on its own website, and Global Citizen Earth Day is a good example. Global Citizen was founded in 2012 by the Global Poverty Project, film maker and activist Ryan Gall and Riot House, a creative alliance focused on experiential design and production, digital strategy, and film and new media production. According to its Web site, the Global Poverty Project is "a hub for innovative campaigns that work towards a world where every child can survive and thrive ... [with] a chance to go to school ... women and girls are protected from violence, and ... preventable diseases aren't holding people back." The Earth Day event is tailor-made for YouTube, with this year's event, which was held in April on the Washington Monument grounds in Washington D.C., featuring chart-topping bands like No Doubt, Usher and Mary J. Blige.

FIRST Robotics Competition
Sponsor: Qualcomm

Perhaps the closest event to the Science Talent Search is the annual Robotics Competition by FIRST, or For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology. Dean Kamen, who founded FIRST in 1989, provides a mission statement on its Web site:

"To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of become science and technology leaders."

Qualcomm has been involved with the effort since 2007 as a Championship Presenting Sponsor, and has contributed to non-employee mentor stipends. Qualcomm gets the benefit of connecting with science and math enthusiasts at a young age, any one of whom could become future employees. In press release, Matt Grob, CTO, says, "We're looking for the best-quality employees. Here you've got a whole bunch of kids who are learning, not only science and math, but how to work together. Cooperation, teamwork, Gracious Professionalism – those are the skills that we seek."

In all, more than 400,000 students from more than 80 countries participated in the 2014/2015 competition, with 18,000 advancing to the championship in April. 

Free the Children's We Day
Sponsor: Microsoft 

Through its YouthSpark program, Microsoft sponsors We Day, a project of Free the Children, an international charity and educational partner based in Canada and targeted at education in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. We Day is a series of stadium-sized events that celebrate young people who make a difference in their local and global communities. In Africa, Asia and Latin America, Free the Children implements Adopt a Village, described on Free the Children's Web site as "a holistic, five-pillar international development model designed to achieve sustainable change." 


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