Having a good sponsorship proposal is essential to attract the right sponsors. It will not only help you stand out from other sponsorship seekers. A good sponsorship proposal will also intrigue sponsors to want to work with you and invest in your sponsorship property for years to come.
FOCUS ON AN INDIVIDUAL SPONSOR
Most of the sponsorship proposals focus too much on the rights holder and what they do and want. Very rarely you see a sponsorship proposal with a focus on an individual sponsor outlining benefits for the sponsor.
TALK EXTENSIVELY ABOUT YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Instead of being one of the highlights of the sponsorship proposal, more often than not a part about the target audience is rather a mystery. “Everyone comes to my event, so everyone is my target audience” is quite often an answer. Well, this is good for you, but I think you should still clearly define your target audience(s). Then think about which of these groups a particular sponsor will be interested in and point this out to them. Why else would a sponsor support you or your event if not because it sees in it a tool to get in touch with their target audience?
WHAT’S WITH THE LOGOS?
Most of the sponsorship proposals also focus on logos. Are logos really your only sponsorable asset? Is this all you have to offer? How about naming rights? Or official transport provider? Could you organise an area for athletes that is fully equipped and catered by a specific sponsor, for example?
Sit down and think about how you could improve your event, what else could you offer (or would you like to offer) to your audience if you would have money or equipment available? All you need to do is to invite your potential sponsors to help you with it.
THINK ABOUT SPONSORSHIP ACTIVATIONS
You should also invite your potential sponsors to do different sponsorship activations. Think of the win-win-win situations (you win, the sponsor wins and your target audience wins). You don’t have to come up with the specific ideas in the sponsorship proposal. A simple invitation showing your potential sponsors that you are open to their suggestions and ideas is enough.
EVALUATE YOUR SPONSORABLE ASSETS
I understand you need a certain amount of money to be able to run your event or project. This, however, doesn’t mean you should ask potential sponsors to give you $50K for three logos and two banners or $20K for two logos and 1 banner.
As mentioned above, make a list of all your sponsorable assets, and then evaluate each of them. How much does each sponsorable asset cost? This way you will come up with figures that you will be able to back up. Sponsors will also know exactly how much things cost and will be able to evaluate whether their investment was worth the money. Often, you will end up with more money and returning sponsors if you approach them this way!
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Last but not least, be innovative. What will make your sponsorship proposal stand out? Think of your sponsorship proposal as a CV of a job candidate. What will make a recruiter pick up this particular CV? What will make them read it? And what will make them read it all the way through?
Your sponsorship proposal is exactly the same – for it to be effective, it needs to stand out! It has to attract a decision maker to start reading it, and make them want it to read all the way through. And of course, give you a call after they have finished reading :).
All of the above means that you will have to tweak the sponsorship proposal for each of the potential sponsors. These tweaks don’t have to be anything major. And because you are targeting very specific sponsors, you will only have to send a small number of proposals for the same (well actually better) result.