Wild Apricot Blog

View: Tags | Archives

How to Write a Sponsorship Letter (+ 2 Templates)

Tatiana Morand 17 May 2019 0 comments

sponsorship letter

 

I’ve met with a lot of membership organizations over the years, and a common challenge that many face is getting sponsorship.

 

Whether it's for an event, or an ongoing partnership, they’re not sure who to reach out to, or what they can offer in exchange.


So, many of them turn to a tried and true tactic: writing sponsorship letters.


Of course, gaining sponsors isn’t as easy as sending out a few letters.


And if you’re looking for a primer on getting started with sponsorship, check out this article.


But if you’ve already identified some warm leads, had some phone calls, and are ready to explore further opportunities with an organization...


Then that’s where sponsorship letters  — and this post — come in.


In this post, I’m going to cover:

  • What is a sponsorship letter?

  • What can you give an organization in return for sponsorship?

  • What are the goals of a sponsorship letter?

  • How to find organizations that are the best fit for sponsorship

  • Best practices for sponsorship letters

  • A general sponsorship letter template

  • An event sponsorship letter template


What Is a Sponsorship Letter?


Unlike a standard fundraising letter that asks for donations, contributions, volunteer time, auction items or other gifts, a sponsorship letter has a slightly longer reach.


It focuses on building a relationship with a potential donor and approaches them like a partner, including offering an incentive for their support.


A sponsorship letter typically asks a business or individual to contribute to an event, fundraising initiative or provide long-term support to a non-profit organization. Along with the obligatory tax receipt, the donor will be offered additional benefits for their support, such as priority seating at an event, a speaking slot, or inclusion in event publicity.


What You Give an Organization in Return for Sponsorship


You might be wondering, “But why would a business choose to sponsor us? What can I give them in return?”


But in fact, there are a lot of advantages to charitable giving. In addition to the good feeling that comes with supporting a non-profit organization they believe in, donors have more to gain — especially businesses.


That’s because social responsibility has become increasingly important to consumers, particularly millennials. Research shows that 70 per cent will spend more on brands that support causes.


So, if an organization can demonstrate that they support causes that matter to their customers, they’ll achieve a “halo effect” that will boost goodwill (and potentially sales) for their business.


Other benefits include improving morale among their employees, marketing their brand and strengthening the community in which they do business. Individual donors who are looking to raise their personal or professional profile will also enjoy the perks of being known for their generosity.


Plus, don’t forget that you have a great audience — one that businesses might not be able to reach as easily otherwise. Giving them access to it is something that many businesses don’t mind paying for.


So, what can you offer in exchange for sponsorship? Some ideas are:

  • Advertising space in an event program

  • Their logo prominently featured in all communications about the event, on social media, etc.

  • Public acknowledgement of the donor’s generosity

  • Promotional materials included in swag bags or available at event(s)

  • An opportunity to speak at an event

  • A booth at an event

  • Being included on the non-profit’s online ‘Supporters’ list

  • A framed “thank you for your support” letter to put up in their office

  • Social media shout-outs

  • Running a contest at your event or on social media


Or if you want some ideas that are really out-of-the box, check out this list


Determining Your Sponsorship Letter’s Goals


To reiterate, sponsorship letters shouldn’t be the first point of contact you have with a potential sponsor.


Instead, they should be used to provide more information once you’ve already had an initial contact with the right person at the organization.


Unlike a fundraising letter, the ultimate goal of the sponsorship letter isn’t necessarily to solicit short-term financial support — although that can be part of it. More importantly, you want to sow the seeds for a long-term relationship.


This means you’re appealing to an organization or individual in a way that will demonstrate the value of the work your organization does and outlining how it relates to them and the people they care about. By the end of the letter, you want them to be inspired to be involved in your organization in a way that extends beyond a one-time donation.


In fact, sometimes a potential sponsor can do more for you than make a generous financial contribution. An ongoing sponsorship relationship with your organization will provide a business a steady flow of publicity — and vice versa.


Once you’ve made a connection, there are a few ways you can use a sponsorship letter:


  • As a tool for soliciting financial or in-kind support for a specific event or campaign

  • As a way to forge a mutually beneficial partnership with an individual or corporate donor

  • To request non-financial contributions, such as time, equipment, space or supplies.


Be clear about what you’re asking each donor in a sponsorship letter, why you’re asking and explain what’s in it for them.


In fact, I’ve noticed that some of the most successful sponsorship programs aren’t all about events, even though that’s how many organizations think of them.


By expanding your sponsorship horizons to consider in-kind donations, employee giving, and more, you may find that it’s a lot easier to build a connection with a wider variety of organizations.


How to Find Organizations That Are Likely to Support Your Cause Through Sponsorship


The best sponsorship letters I’ve seen are the ones that are highly personalized.


That means before you start writing, you have to do your research.

 

So, before sending a letter to every business in your town, here are some ways to unearth good potential sponsors:


  • Look at organizations that give to nonprofits that are similar in nature to yours. A restaurant sponsors a sports team would be more likely consider your after-school sports program than a business that has never sponsored a team.

  • Consider complementary businesses. Look for businesses that operate in the same space you do. If your nonprofit is related to health, look at health practitioners, health-aid suppliers, pharmaceutical companies, etc.

  • Check mainstream and social media for people who are passionate about your cause. Some organizations and individuals go all in on certain causes. An Internet search with the right keywords (i.e. those that relate to the purpose of your association and your city or town) can give you plenty of leads.

  • Mine the networks of your members, your staff and your board. We know that people are more likely to consider requests of any kind if they come through a person they trust. Ask everyone associated with your organization, plus your family and friends, to help you make a connection with potential donors.

  • Shop local. People and businesses generally like to support the organizations and causes that are in their communities.

  • Approach businesses that have supported you in the past. This one seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes associations overlook current or past donors for sponsorship opportunities because they already give in a different way. Give them options!

  • Look for companies with robust corporate social responsibility programs. Many employers empower their employees to give back in their communities via things like paid volunteer time and donation matching. Throw your organization into the ring!

  • Connect with people who benefit from your association. Ask them to provide potential donors in their network. They would be able to do the initial outreach to offer a personal reason for donating. You can follow up with a great sponsorship letter.

  • Consider your suppliers or vendors. Anyone your association pays for goods or services may feel a personal connection to your cause and organization. They’re prime candidates for sponsorship.

 

Read More: How to Solicit Corporate Sponsorships The Right Way

 

10 Best Practices for Writing Sponsorship Letters

So, you’ve collected your list of recipients.

 

You’ve made a lot of phone calls, and have made a few contacts.

 

Now it’s time to whip out your pen (or laptop) and get to writing!

 

To keep you from staring at a blank page for too long, here are some best practices.

 

1. Add This In. 

Since sponsorship is all about building relationships, writing “To Whom This May Concern” just won’t cut it. Find out the right person within the organization who should receive the letter by calling to ask who makes decisions about corporate donations, or by looking through their website and using an email scraper like Hunter to get their contact information.

 

2. Get This Right. 

It should go without saying, but double check that you’ve got the correct spelling of their name. Don’t assume it’s Joseph Smith – it could easily be Josef Smythe. When you’re asking for the proper spelling, ask what name they mostly go by. Maybe Joseph is actually Joey to most people.

 

3. Make it Personal.

There are no long-term relationships that began with a form letter. You don’t have to write every word of every letter from scratch, but you should at least write a tailored opening that demonstrates you know something about them. “As a small business that gives back to [XYZ charities], it’s clear that you care about community…”

 

4. Keep it Quick.

Be respectful of their time by keeping your letter to one page and use shorter sentences and smaller paragraphs. Studies show that people will put off what they can’t read in under 1-3 minutes.

 

5. Put Yourself in Their Shoes.

You know what you want (sponsorship), but a good letter considers the recipient first. Now that you’ve had the chance to speak with them, you should know: what do they want? A way to give back to their community? A simple way to get their brand name out there? To benefit from the halo effect? To give their employees a way to give back? A chance to show their customers that they care about the cause? Write for them.

 

6. Get a Signature.

Make sure the letter is signed by the president or an executive of your non-profit so your recipient can feel assured that it’s professional and legitimate. Include your charitable registration number too.

 

7. Get someone they already know to write it. 

Getting someone the recipient of your letter already knows to write the letter will make them more likely to read it than if it comes from a faceless organization. Even if you've already made a connection with them, it never hurts to remind them of their personal — and of the impact to someone who's already in their network. 

 

8. Give Them a Choice.

When you get to the part about sponsoring, offer a number of ways to be involved with your organization. Let them know you’re open to all kinds of partnership possibilities.

 

9. Don't Forget to Include This. 

Don’t forget to list the ways a sponsorship will benefit them. Offer listings on your event or regular communications material, include logos on advertising and swag, give them a table or VIP access to an event or special mentions on all fundraising campaigns. Think about what they would want and create a tailor-made appeal.

 

10. Include a Follow-Up.

You can’t expect every recipient to be immediately inspired to write a check or pick up the phone to make a donation. The sponsorship letter is the first communication on the road to building a relationship. Be sure to include follow-up information, i.e. how they can reach the right person in your association. If it’s appropriate, assure them that you will follow up in another way. (And then make sure you do follow up by phone or email.)


So now that you’ve decided who you’re reaching out to and know what to include, here are examples of two different types of sponsorship letters: one that’s more general and one that’s tailored towards evens.


General sponsorship letter [free template]


Heading

Date

Name

Organization

Street

City, state/province Zip/postal code


Dear Joseph Smith,


First paragraph: The opener

Open with one of:

  • Something you know about them

  • Something powerful about your organization

  • A personal connection


Example 1 – All about them:

We’re impressed with [you/your organization]. Since [year], you’ve been supporting the community by sponsoring sports teams, providing donations to causes like the food bank and SPCA and generally being a positive force in the world.


Example 2 – Powerful messaging:

Did you know that children who participate in team sports are more likely to report feeling happy and successful when they’re adults? [Or a similar statistic or powerful message about the impact of your cause.] At [your organization], we’re doing everything in our power to provide [be specific about the work you do].


Example 3 – Personal connection:

We have a mutual [friend/associate/colleague/connection]! [Name] suggested I reach out to you about a sponsorship opportunity that would be a good fit for [you/your organization]. [Add two sentences about your association and the work you do. Be brief and specific!]


Second paragraph: The ask

 

We couldn’t do the work we do for [recipients of your cause] without the help of generous people like you. That’s why I’m reaching out to you today. We’re looking for sponsors to support our cause—and we have plenty of ways for you to be involved:

 

  • A one-time, monthly or employer matching donation program ensures we get the funding we need to help [your cause].

  • We can always use volunteers for our events [add other type of volunteer opportunities].

  • In-kind contributions are perfect for fundraising activities like silent auctions and contests.

  • And if you have other ideas for helping our cause, we’d love to hear them!

 

Third and fourth paragraphs: What’s in it for them

 

Here’s a good spot for a subheading:

 

What’s in it for you?

In appreciation of your generosity, we’d like to offer you the opportunity to [promote your business / raise your profile] with our members and the public [or event attendees; include the anticipated number of people]. There are a number of ways to do this.


We would promote your company as one of our sponsors on our website, in our promotional materials and on our online Supporters’ List and directory. [Tailor what your organization will offer for sponsorship, e.g. sports clubs will put logos on jerseys.]


Closing paragraph: Call to action

We hope we can count on your support to help [insert goal here and be specific about the work you’ll do based on the ask]! It would be great to chat with you to discuss this exciting opportunity for both of us. You can reach me directly at [phone number or email address].


I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you in advance!  


Event sponsorship letter [free template]


Heading

Date

Name

Organization

Street

City, state/province Zip/postal code


Dear Joseph Smith,


First paragraph: The opener

Open with one of:

  • Something you know about them

  • Something powerful about your organization

  • A personal connection


Example 1 – All about them:

We’re impressed with [you/your organization]. Since [year], you’ve been supporting the community by sponsoring sports teams, providing donations to causes like the food bank and SPCA and generally being a positive force in the world.


Example 2 – Powerful messaging:

Did you know that children who participate on team sports are more likely to report feeling happy and successful when they’re adults? [Or a similar statistic or powerful message about the impact of your cause.] At [your organization], we’re doing everything in our power to provide [be specific about the work you do].


Example 3 – Personal connection:

We have a mutual [friend/associate/colleague/connection]! [Name] suggested I reach out to you about a sponsorship opportunity that would be a good fit for [you/your organization]. [Add two sentences about your association and the work you do. Be brief and specific!]


Second paragraph: The ask

We couldn’t do the work we do for [recipients of your cause] without the help of generous people like you. That’s why I’m reaching out to you today.  Would you consider [insert the ask, i.e.

  • making a donation of [amount]

  • making an in-kind contribution [be specific: wine, food, service, etc.]

  • providing your space [or supplies]


to help us [put on a memorable event / achieve our goal]? By supporting [event/goal], you’ll help us [be specific: helping more members in the community, raising $XX dollars so we can…].  


Third paragraph(s): What’s in it for them

Here’s a good spot for a sub-heading:


What’s in it for you?

In appreciation of your generosity, we’d like to offer you the opportunity to [promote your business / raise your profile] with our members and the public [or event attendees; include the anticipated number of people]. There are a number of ways to do this:


Gold package [$XXX]

Your own table and VIP access [or booth, depending on type of event], your logo on event t-shirts and in all social media and print advertising, inclusion in our online Supporters’ List and directory and a framed letter of recognition for your support.


Silver package [$XXX]

Your logo in all social media and print advertising, inclusion in our online Supporters’ List and directory and a framed letter of recognition for your support.


Bronze package [$XXX]

Inclusion in our online Supporters’ List and directory and a letter of recognition for your support.


All donations over [$XX], will receive a framed letter of recognition for your support.


Closing paragraph: Call to action

We hope we can count on your support to help [insert goal here and be specific about the work you’ll do based on the ask]! It would be great to chat with you to discuss this exciting opportunity for both of us. You can reach me directly at [phone number or email address].


I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you in advance!  

Bonus Sponsorship Template

And there you have it: everything you need to know about sponsorship letters. It may seem like a lot of work, but targeting the right people with the right offer is more likely to result in meaningful support from individuals and corporate sponsors.


Tatiana Morand

Posted by Tatiana Morand

Published Friday, 17 May 2019 at 12:09 PM
Sorry, this blog post is closed for further comments.

Search: WildApricot.com 

About results ( seconds) Sort by: 
Sorry, an error occured when performing search.
Scroll to top