Sponsorship is the activity of a sponsor who has provided funds for a specific event. It should not be confused with charity because when money comes from a benefactor, you owe him nothing but gratitude. In the case of a sponsor, the situation is somewhat different. Sponsorship can take many forms. It can be paying for materials, organizing an exhibition, or even providing an artist with housing. Sometimes sponsors can just give you money, and you will dispose of it as you see fit.
In general, sponsorship for the sponsor himself is part of the marketing strategy. So sponsors often want to get something for their investment in your work. But what exactly the sponsor needs will depend only on the terms of the deal you have come to.
Indeed, sometimes sponsors can provide gratuitous assistance. Often this is a small investment, paying for part of the materials or providing space for a creative activity for a short time. Usually, this demonstrates their intentions, just a kind of courtship and a first date.
But when you start cooperation, one way or another, the sponsor will set their conditions. For example, sometimes, all a sponsor needs are informational support. That is, mention it as often as possible, there will definitely be a banner of the sponsoring company at events, and you will be required to mention the company during public speaking. Some sponsors will expect to make some profit. Of course, these are not investors who would set a clear percentage you would have to pay for each painting or installation sold. But they may offer you to pay a fixed amount every month or give away part of the proceeds after the exhibition, for example.
Be that as it may, the terms of cooperation with the sponsor are always individual and are discussed before you sign the contract. This can greatly help aspiring artists or those temporarily going through difficult financial times.