Have you ever asked a stranger for money? That may have come across as a truly impertinent question but some of us have done it before, whether it’s for a school program, a benefit concert or for a charity event. You may have done this quite a few times too, if you work in a nonprofit organization. There’s no getting used to it, because asking for money from people, asking for their support to say the least, can be pretty intimidating. This is where a sponsorship letter comes into play.
If you’re going to ask for sponsorship for your next fundraising event, doing it right is extremely important. After all, no person in their right mind would just hand you their hard-earned money without a good enough reason, so writing a professional letter requesting sponsorship is your ticket to getting the funds you need and probably other benefit they would be willing to offer if they’re convinced. Here are some elements you should include:
Introduction: The only way to separate yourself from too many organizations applying for grants, funds or donations is by getting straight to the point. Your introduction should immediately be able to let readers know that your event can get them enough exposure tot their target customers.
Benefits: Include a list of benefits to offer potential sponsors. They might be willing to help, but they also want to know at least what’s in it for them. You can offer anything from naming rights, access to the list of participants to help them generate leads, product sampling and logos on promotional materials, to tickets and shirts as well as your website. This is also a good opportunity for you to discuss your organization’s mission and vision so that sponsors will be free to affiliate with your charity efforts or causes.
Details: This should be brief otherwise your letter could risk running on. Try to spark a potential sponsor’s interest by being broad enough to make them contact you for more details. Think with a potential sponsor’s perspective and wrap up this part with a sentence or phrase reaffirming the sponsorship’s benefit to the potential sponsor’s company or business.
Call To Action: There’s more than one way to ask the sponsor to act. If what you’re writing is just a cover letter with the proposal, then guide the reader towards the proposal. On the other hand if the letter is already your pith, make it count by asking the reader to contact you through email or by phone. Provide a specific date when you ask them to go visit your website for further details.
Your letter must be able to convince potential sponsors that they’re going to be contributing to a worthy cause. It should also provide a clear outline as to the benefits they can get. Follow these steps in writing a proper sponsorship letter that can make all of the difference between securing the sponsorship or being ignored:
Determine your goals: What do you hope to achieve by writing the letter? What is it that you want from the business, organization or individual? What are you using the grant for and why do you think it’s important? Before writing a sponsorship letter, these are the questions you need to answer because these type of letters should be focused as well as specific. If they’re not clear or you haven’t figured out what you want or why, you won’t be able to convince anyone.
Do your research and legwork: Try to figure out which businesses or organizations are going to be inspired to support or believe in your cause. The restaurant owner across the street many have a deeply rooted or personal reason to support your goals. Maybe there’s a nonprofit supporting the same causes. Which ones have given to similar activities? These are the things you need to know and be careful not to overlook small businesses in your local area because you never know. They might just be willing to give what they can too. Check your town or city. Local areas have businesses that remain connected to their communities.
Determine what you’re seeking: Grants and sponsorship can come in many different forms. Before writing a request for one, you need to be clear about what you want or what you’re asking for. Most of the time, you’ll get them in cash or in-kind donations. The latter means the company can donate supplies or goods that can be used during the activity instead of giving money. There are also businesses who choose to lend their services when they can’t offer tangible goods.
Find out what you’re offering: Sponsorship letters usually allow people to decide among different sponsorship levels. This means businesses can give anything they can offer when they don’t have as much to grant as corporations or larger firms. Decide on sponsorship levels and clearly map out the different benefits an organization can achieve for the sponsorship.
Although there are no hard and fast rules to it, a letter requesting for sponsorship is still a business letter and should therefore make you look professional if you want to be taken seriously. Here are a few tips to help you compose a letter that wins sponsors:
Understand why you want to meet the goals: Sponsorship requests are more effective and successful when they are written with a clear sense of purpose. Don’t make it too melodramatic but write in a way that would motivate people that your cause is worth supporting, perhaps by telling an individual or groups’ success story or how your efforts or your organization has helped them.
Explain why they should help you: You need to sound convincing and people need to believe you so whether it is for giving to a cause, fundraising, a campaign or a student’s educational trip, explain why they could help you and why you or your organization won’t be able to cover the expenses or resources needed for the event.
Say thank you: Close the letter with a heartfelt thank-you, particularly for the time they are spending reading your letter and considering your request. As a busy professional, it’s nice to be recognized that your time is valuable. By thanking the sponsor for their time, you’re letting them see that you’re sincere.
Although a part of it counts as marketing budget, sponsorship serve a business better as branding and community positioning. Writing a letter to request for one usually depends on the type of sponsorship you’re looking for:
Cash Sponsorship Letter: This type of letter is usually for charity events since cash sponsorship opens fundraising opportunities for nonprofit organizations. Write your letter specifying the publicity the business will get for the cash given, kind of like buying a commercial television ad. The advertiser gets the revenue and the business gets the exposure they need to their target audience. Part of that package often includes attendance to any gala or official ceremony.
In-Kind Sponsorship Letter: In-kind sponsorship don’t require money to get the promotion at an activity. Instead, they offer goods or services. You would have to write your letter for a company that wants to save costs on sponsorship since the retail value for what they can offer is less than the actual cost of production. It also provides the business a chance to showcase the quality of their service for everyone to see.
Media Sponsorship Letter: This letter would be directed to media sponsors and convince them to advertise your activity or across different channels (social media, radio, print, television). This is perfect for those who want to spend less on marketing and promotion of an event since you can coordinate and work with the media sponsors.
Like any other kind of business document, the sponsorship letter follows the standard U.S. letter size which is 8.5″ x 11″.
It’s not easy but you will be successful in getting sponsors if you write with sincerity through a story of how your cause has helped your community. Describe what you do and make that your mission statement to convince potential sponsors that what you do matters.
There are many, but the most important one for a businessman is that it provides exposure and puts your business at the forefront of a community and your target audience.
Nothing ruins an appeal for sponsorship faster than a poorly written letter, so make sure you write yours with every intention to convince people that what you’re doing is important and that you’re passionate about it. Also make sure that it’s free of grammatical and typo errors. Don’t be pushy, but go straight to the point and be clear about what you want from those you’re sending the letters to.