What do you do when you want to set up a high visibility endeavor that normally wouldn’t bring in enough income through selling products or services? You find sponsors and offer them a mutually beneficial arrangement. Most sponsorship deals are essentially marketing deals. One party offers material support and the other offers a marketing service. The best way to find a mutually beneficial sponsorship arrangement is to describe what you can do for each other in a business proposal.
You know your field and what your organization has to offer, but you might be new to proposal writing. Not to worry. Creating a sponsorship business proposal is not as intimidating as it might sound. You simply need to introduce yourself, describe your market, outline your needs, and help potential sponsors understand that you and your endeavor deserve their support. Doesn't sound so hard, does it? And you don't have to start off with a blank page on your computer, either. Using pre-written topics and reviewing samples of similar proposals can give you a giant stride toward finishing your own effective proposal.
It doesn’t matter what you are trying to get a sponsor for (a sports team, an educational program, an expedition, etc.). The general structure of a sponsorship proposal will always be the same.
Inexperienced proposal writers often make the mistake of writing too much about themselves and not focusing enough on the company they are asking for support from. You do not want to do that. Asking for sponsorship support or talking up your organization is only part of the challenge you have to meet. A sponsorship proposal is a document intended to persuade another party to give you their money or material support. To be successful, you must gain the trust of the decision makers and make them understand that you can effectively showcase their products or services in a way that will provide them as much value as they are providing you in sponsorship support.
In today's competitive environment, you have to do more than just show you have a worthy endeavor. Odds are that you won’t find companies willing to provide sponsorship support or funding without strings attached or expectations of something in return. Put yourself in the sponsor's shoes, and think in terms of sponsorship support as a marketing strategy for the sponsor. Your proposal will be more persuasive when you outline all of the benefits you can provide the sponsoring organization.
To describe these benefits, you would include topics such as your Constituency, Market and Audience, Demographics, and so on. You might combine this with a Marketing Plan, and Opportunities and Benefits pages to show how the funding company would benefit from supporting you. You not only want to show off your organization and describe what you have to offer, but also explain how beneficial the relationship will be to the sponsor.
The first step in creating your proposal should be to collect information about the potential sponsoring company so that you can present a proposal that is tailored to that sponsor. Yes, this research might take some extra work, but this work will make your proposal much more likely to be accepted. You are in this to win. Established organizations that provide sponsorships usually have a culture, strategy, and rules already in place. Knowing how they operate and the types of endeavors they like to support can help you tailor your request and marketing plan accordingly. Try to find matching demographics and markets.
After you've gathered data on your prospective sponsor, you're ready to write your proposal. Most proposals seeking sponsorships follow a similar structure: first comes your introduction, then a summary of the endeavor you are seeking sponsorship for, followed by the benefits you have to offer in exchange for the sponsorship. The proposal should conclude with persuasive information about your organization, such as your history, relevant experience, credentials, and capabilities, core values, mission statement and so on.
So, for the introduction section, start out with a Cover Letter and a Title Page. In the Cover Letter, simply write a personal introduction, supply your organization’s contact information, and make your request for sponsorship. The Title Page is precisely that: a page with a title that introduces your tailored proposal and sends a clear message about the endeavor you are seeking sponsorship for. Some examples might be "Increase Local Visibility by Sponsoring Derby Days," "Freemont Youth Club Needs Your Sponsorship," "Licensing Rights to Create Promotional Material for ABC Racing," or "Reach More of Your Demographics by Sponsoring Our Team."
After your Cover Letter and Title Page, add topic pages to describe the endeavor you are seeking sponsorship for, as well as what support is needed and why. This is where you would add topics such as an Executive Summary, Needs Analysis, Goals, and Objectives pages, a Sponsorship page, and so on.
After your cause is covered, add pages to demonstrate your understanding of the organization you are requesting sponsorship from. Outline the benefits they would receive for supporting you, using pages with titles such as Benefits, Community, Demographics, Market and Audience, Marketing Plan, and so on.
A vendor seeking licensing rights to produce trademarked material for a sponsored company may use topics such as Licensing, Distribution, Marketing Plan, Sales Plan, Promotion, Brand Development, Exposure, Merchandising and so on.
Include details of all the avenues the sponsor will be promoted in: posters, magazines, television spots, radio spots, flyers, logos displayed on team equipment, etc. Tell the sponsor how many people will see and hear about them through this sponsorship and explain how beneficial this will be as a marketing campaign. Highlight the fact that you will handle all the details (an extra benefit for which the sponsoring company doesn’t have to expend resources).
After the sections describing the endeavor and the benefits to the potential sponsor comes your turn. The next section should be all about generating trust in your organization. This is where you will put topics such as Use of Funds, Supporters, Partnerships, Alignment, Vision, Principles, Mission Statement, Credentials, Capabilities, Awards, and Achievements and so on; in other words, include everything you need to convince the potential sponsor that you can be trusted to deliver, that you have the resources to deliver, and that your core values and demographics match. End with a call to action, asking for funding or other support, or requesting a meeting for further discussion.
If you are the party who wants to offer a sponsorship deal, you simply flip the information around. The proposal structure, marketing, demographics, and so on are still the same; all you do is pitch the deal from the sponsor's side.
After you have all the writing done, it's time to focus on making your proposal visually appealing by adding some color and graphics. Incorporate your organization's logo; use a matching title page cover. Consider using colored page borders and selecting custom bullet points and fonts that match your organization's style. Learn how to effectively select colors for a winning business proposal.
Once you feel your proposal is complete, carefully proofread and spell-check all the pages. You should enlist someone who is unfamiliar with your proposal to do the final proof, because it's very common to overlook mistakes in your own work.
Finally, save your proposal as a PDF file or print it. Then deliver it to the potential sponsor. The best delivery method will depend on your relationship with the potential sponsor. Would they prefer a PDF file attached to email? Or would they be more impressed with a printed, hand-delivered proposal? The latter might prove you value the relationship enough to put in some extra personal effort.
As you can see, the content of a sponsorship proposal will vary, depending on the endeavor and the organizations involved. But all sponsorship proposals follow a similar format and structure, and you can find all the pre-written topics you need in Proposal Pack. The topic pages, or templates, contain explanations and examples of the information you should include in those particular pages, and they will guide you in writing and formatting the content for your sponsorship proposal sections. Proposal Pack also contains sample sponsorship proposals that will give you great ideas and help you get a jump start on writing your own winning proposal.