How to write a sponsorship proposal

When it’s time to seek sponsorship for a project, companies usually approach the task with an equal mixture of excitement and fear.

On the one hand, it feels great to finally start raising money for an event or initiative. On the other, the possibility that things might go wrong can be a significant source of anxiety. Prospective sponsors might not be as interested as you expect, unnoticed issues might be made apparent, or you might not raise all the capital you require. All are valid concerns.

Proposals are an essential part of the sponsorship process. And they can be the single factor on which a whole project hinges. Yet companies often make a handful of unnecessary mistakes when it comes to their proposals, from improperly-formatted cover letters to poorly-executed event descriptions.

In this article, we’ll provide you with a full template for your proposals. We’ll also define key terms and give you some handy tips that will dramatically boost your chances of winning those all-important sponsorship deals.

What is a sponsorship proposal?

A sponsorship proposal (also sometimes called a “sponsorship letter” or “sponsorship request”) is sent to a potential sponsor, usually a medium to large-sized business, requesting funding for a project.

Events are among the most common recipients of sponsorship, but companies often also sponsor individuals, charitable projects, and initiatives.

Before you seek sponsorship for your project, event, or even for yourself if you’re involved in a profession where companies offer sponsorship, it’s important to understand the difference between sponsorship funding and grants. Many businesses confuse the two, which leads to less-than-optimal outcomes for everybody involved.

In short, sponsorship is provided by the sponsor for some kind of gain. For most companies, sponsorship acts as a form of awareness-building advertising, that raises the profile of their brand while supporting a worthy project.

Grants, on the other hand, are invariably charitable in nature and awarded to non-profit organizations by large enterprises. Grants should be sought through grant proposals. If you are seeking funding for a scientific project, a research proposal should be used.

Event sponsorship proposal template

The template below is for events, although it can easily be tailored for other projects. Generally speaking, it’s best to keep sponsorship proposals shorter than other business proposals (the structure below should only span a few pages).

Using rich media, like graphs and videos, can also be an effective way of painting a vivid picture of what your event will look like.

Use the following template for your sponsorship proposals:

Cover page

Your cover page – which fulfills the same purpose as a book cover – provides an excellent opportunity to show your professionalism. It should display your client’s and their company’s name along with yours. Include a phone number in case a recipient wants to follow up with you directly.

Cover letter

The cover letter sets the context for the proposal. Introduce yourself, describe the nature of the event, and briefly outline why you think it’s a great fit (in a sentence or two). Don’t jump right into a description of your event without first providing a little background.

Event date, location, and introduction

This is the core of the proposal. It should be an in-depth description of the event. Alongside the length, date, and location, provide the number of expected attendees and a list of the main performers and speakers. Also, explain why it is a great sponsorship opportunity. Specifically, you should focus on the overlap between attendees and your client’s market, opportunities to showcase products, and the limited number of available sponsorship slots.

Attendee profile

Provide demographic and psychographic information about the event’s attendees. This is a perfect opportunity to use graphs.

Event purpose

Dig into the values and history that underlie the event. After reading this section, recipients should feel excited about the event and that your ethos is aligned with theirs.

Event video

Including a short video is an excellent way of providing extra information while keeping the text short.

Sponsorship packages

The sponsorship package – or packages, if you’re offering more than one choice – should outline exactly what sponsors will get in return for providing funding. How many VIP tickets will be included? Where will their logo be featured (flyers, on-stage, tickets, etc.)? Will they get a plug on materials sent to your mailing list and on social media? Will there be any mentions by performers? You should also include the price of sponsorship in this section.

Terms and conditions

If you are requesting a signature at the end of the proposal, ensure that you include all the necessary legal documentation. This should also cover any contingency information about what will happen if the event is canceled, rescheduled, if sponsorship is withdrawn, and so on.

Call to action

Include a signature field at the bottom of the document. An electronic field will be easiest for recipients to use. You may also want to include a payment button.

For a working example of a template like the one above, follow this link.

How to write a sponsorship proposal with PandaDoc

To write a sponsorship proposal using PandaDoc, follow the steps below:

  1. Log into your PandaDoc account. If you’re not a user already, you can sign up for a free trial here.
  2. Click on the “New Document” tab.
  3. Select the image of the Blank document in the popup to load a new document.
  4. Input the details of your recipients using the toolbar on the right of the screen to drag and drop text blocks.
  5. When you’re ready to review and send, click the Send button in the bottom right corner.

Conclusion

If you’re not already using proposal software to boost the quality and effectiveness of your proposals, you might be missing out on valuable sponsorship opportunities. A solution like PandaDoc provides you with a host of tools for streamlining and improving your whole document workflow. You can work from proven templates, collaborate with team members, build a content library for easy access to reusable content, and track documents once you’ve sent them.

Furthermore, PandaDoc slots seamlessly into existing software tools, with a range of integrations and automation features included. If that sounds interesting, you can sign up for a free 14-day trial here.