Jan 20, 2009

Sponsorship Proposals Checklist

I am the marketing head for a mid-size company hence I get a lot of sponsorship proposals in my inbox. Mostly for sponsoring sports & cultural events. Proposals sent through email have to be more explanatory.Most of the proposals I have been receiving lack thought and structure. One needs to plan out the flow of the presentation even before opening Powerpoint.

Here is a checklist you can use to make such proposals:

1. What is it all about?What - Introduce the event. What is going to happen?

Where, When, Why - These details are very crucial. Especially focus on the why. Why are you doing this event year on year? Share the story with the marketer whose money you are after. Very few people share this with a prospective sponsor.

For whom - This is the most important information for a prospective sponsor. You get the money only if the audience is the Target Group for the sponsor. Why should a real estate firm selling high end villas (mostly to CEOs) sponsor a rock show which will be attended by youngsters?

Reach - Do not forget to mention how many people came last year and how many more are expected this time around.

Uniqueness - You might to conducting an event which even other clubs/groups organize. They might also approach the sponsor for funds. What separates you from the rest? Why is your event special?

Promotion - It's great to hear the plan that 5,000 people are expected. People in which the sponsor is interested. But what's the guarantee? Tell the sponsor how will you pull in the crowd. What are your exact plans?

History - Share the highlights and images of the event last year. Without images and videos there is nothing tangible in your pitch. It's all imaginary.

2. What's in it for the Sponsor? (Benefits)

Benefit - Why should the sponsor give you funds? What is his gain out of all this? Spend some time answering this question before you meet the sponsor. If you are confident that it makes economic sense in sponsoring the event, then your confidence will help clinch the deal.

Branding opportunity: Show how your sponsor's logo will look on the stage, merchandise, etc. It's a powerful technique. Do not just say, we will put up the logo here and here.... Put it up (using Photoshop or some other software) and bring it to life. Let the sponsor see his brand on the large backdrop.
3. Who are You?Share with the prospective sponsor your credentials. If you are doing the event the first time this become very important. If you are doing it the second or third time, get feedback from last years' sponsors and share it in the presentation to this year's prospective sponsor. Make him feel comfortable about the fact that you are capable of pulling off the event. Planning is all fine but God lies in execution. Your plans might be great, but you should convince the sponsor that you can execute if flawlessly.

4. What is the Cost?How much does it cost to sponsor the event. Do not keep a lot of margin for bargain. The more you yield and lower your price, the more your credibility goes down. Be ready to justify that the price is right.

5. What should I Do?
The proposal should end with a call to action for the sponsor. This is especially true for presentations sent online where you are not there standing to clarify doubts or ask for the cheque. So remember to add "Call Ashish for more details at this number..." or something similar. Make him do an action just after the presentation ends.

The last thing. The starting 10 -15 minutes matter the most in your presentation. Keep the content relevant and keep it crisp and short.

Before you start typing your next proposal, use this checklist to gather your thoughts.
For more on Sponsorship Proposals read my detailed post. If you wish to read more I recommend this article. If you also make or evaluate sponsorship proposals share your observations with me.


  1. Good article Vivek and thanks for the reference to my one of my blog posts. Another post your readers might be interested in is focused on selling the sponsorship "experience". Here is the link: http://www.berniecolterman.ca/2008/02/16/moving-from-selling-benefits-to-selling-the-experience/