Sponsorship Proposal Strategies for Events and Non-Profits

sponsorship_strategyWriting a sponsorship proposal to attract sponsors for your event or organization can seem like a daunting task.  Your sponsorship package will consist of a sponsorship proposal letter and an accompanying sponsorship levels document.  Both of these are essential. Your sponsorship proposal letter is where you will make your first impression on your prospective sponsor.

Breaking the process of writing this letter down into several steps can help make the task more approachable and less intimidating.  Composing a professional sponsorship proposal letter can be approached as a series of 6 distinct steps:

Step 1: Open your letter with a professional header

This may seem obvious, but it is very common for sponsorship proposal letters to open without a professional header.  This instantly makes your letter appear unprofessional and reduces the overall effectiveness of your sponsorship package.  A professional header should start either with your organization’s letterhead, or if you don’t have any letterhead, a block of text at the top of the page that identifies you and/or your organization and your address.  If you have a logo for your organization or event, this is a good place to insert it.  Next, include the name and address of the organization you are approaching and the date of the letter.  Finally, open the letter by cordially addressing the individual you have identified in the target organization.  If you have not identified the person responsible for sponsorships, you should do that before you attempt to send a letter.  Refrain from ever sending a sponsorship letter addressed “To whom it may concern”.  At this point, you letter should look something like this:

Sample Sponsorship Proposal Cover Letter - Step 1 - Header

TIP: Using a pre-built Word template can ease the process of composing a professional letter.

Step 2: Describe yourself or your organization

Once you have your professional header and have identified the right person to send your letter to, you should begin by describing yourself or your organization.  This description need not be super long, but should be very focused and concise so that your prospective sponsor get an immediate idea of your mission and why you are seeking support.  You should also include some details about your event, if you are planning one.  If you are not planning an event, you should describe in detail what you are doing and how a prospective sponsor might benefit from it.  Keep this portion of your letter brief, but try to hit the high points so that your target sponsor gets a good idea of who you are, what you are doing, and why they should consider supporting you.  At this point, your letter should look something like this:

Sample Sponsorship Proposal Cover Letter - Step 2 - Introduction

Step 3: Explain how a sponsor’s support of you is beneficial to them

In your second paragraph explain to your potential sponsor how partnering together will benefit them.  Give specific examples of what your sponsors will gain from working with you.  Remember that from a sponsor’s perspective the relationship is more focused on what they will get out of it rather than what you will get out of it.  At this point, you letter should look something like this:

Sponsorship Proposal Cover Letter - Step 3 - Benefits

Step 4: Write a closing paragraph

In your third and final paragraph direct your contact to additional materials that you have included with your sponsorship proposal package.  Your package should consist of this sponsorship proposal letter, a sponsorship fact sheet as well as a sponsorship proposal document that outlines the sponsorship levels and options that they can select from.  At this point, your letter should look something like this:

Sponsorship Proposal Sample Cover Letter

Step 5: Include a Sponsorship Proposal and Sponsorship Fact Sheet

Your sponsorship proposal letter cannot stand on its own.  Take the time to create a sponsorship proposal that includes detailed sponsorship levels and a sponsorship pledge form; and include this documents with your letter.  Your sponsorship proposal letter functions as an invitation to your prospective sponsors to further consider partnering with your organization.  If your letter is convincing and you seem to be a good match, your prospective sponsor needs to know more about what you are looking for in real terms, and what specifically they will get in return for whatever level of investment they are willing to make.  Without a detailed sponsorship proposal, they will not be able to consider your request at all.  A second document to consider including with your sponsorship letter is a sponsorship fact sheet.  This one-page document gives a high level overview about your organization and/or event.  It is a good way for a sponsorship coordinator’s boss or boss’ boss to learn about you without having to read the entire sponsorship proposal.

Learn more about how to produce a professional sponsorship package

Step 6: Sign your letter and send your sponsorship proposal package

Once you have added supporting materials to your sponsorship proposal package, make sure to sign your letter.  This may seem trivial, but it adds a level of personalization and a human touch that can make a difference.  Options for sending the package to your contact including mailing a hard copy (preferred), emailing one PDF document of the entire package or hand delivering the package if that is an option.

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