Every month it seems that I get questions about what the differences are between the types of relationship you can have with a company; Affiliate deals, Partnerships and Sponsors. To be quite honest, there is not clear definition of this - however there is a key differences in what deals offer and you need to know them before reaching out to a company.
To begin, an Affiliate is the lowest end deal you can get with a Company - not to say it is bad, however it usually offers limited room to actually work with the company in and hindsight it is free publicity for the company. The deal usually involves a easy sign up process normally open to everyone in which you get a unique code that gives you a % off products in which you then have to market, once your code has been used then you will earn a small amount of commission off that sale.
When regarding an Partnership, there is no clear definition out there however it is recognised as being the middle ground between an Affiliate and a Sponsorship. The deal usually includes a unique code again, in which you have to market and get uses of. Once reaching a certain amount then the company may choose to reward you, whether that be free products or other methods to show their appreciation. This not only is a great relationship to have with a company but it really does expand on the Affiliate deal, gives you something to aim for and once reached - feel rewarded. Furthermore it genuinely gives you a sense of connection with the company, rather than just blindly marketing them.
Now onto the Sponsorship, the largest and best deal you can get with a company, however not easily done, hence the prestigious backing they have. There are usually two types of Sponsorship, Product and Financial. A Product Sponsor would mean the organisation receives a monthly amount of Products that are then handed out to players and members, for example Corsair - their products would consist of Mice, Keyboards and other goodies. And on the other side is the Financial Sponsorship, which can be minor or major - meaning your organisation receives a monthly amount of money per month to be invested.
Now, how would you reach out to these companies? That is for a whole different discussion however firstly you must look into creating a Sponsorship Proposal in which details what you're looking for, what you can offer and a detailed insight on the organisation, some notable achievements and analytics that may interest the company.
I hope this short and simple post has helped lend some knowledge to those who may have not fully understood it! All the best.