Aug 21, 2009 at 08:25 PM
written by Bob Burris

Writing the Perfect Pitch

There are a number of ways to craft a perfect sponsorship proposal but in every successful proposal, the following points are consistent:

The Cover Letter

I put a lot of emphasis on the Cover Letter for two reasons:

1. No matter how you cut it, a sponsorship sale must have value but it is still a “relationship sell.” The Cover Letter allows the presenting organization the opportunity to put the value of the relationship in writing, at which time you are able to spell out the ways the sponsorship will be mutually beneficial to both parties.

2. The Cover Letter on your association’s letterhead portrays the class and legitimacy of your organization and most assuredly will be copied and shown to others who are in the decision-making circle. It also sets the tone of the presentation that follows.

The Written Proposal / Presentation

  • Begin by listing the benefits to the prospect / sponsor and not about your organization. In other words, the entire tone of the pitch should always be from their point of view, not yours. A word of caution- don’t spell out the individual values you have placed on each benefit. Doing so offers a chance for the buyer to “cherry pick” or select from a menu, which therefore reduces the “package” price and more importantly, the profit margin of the sponsorship.
  • If Category Exclusivity is part of the package, tailor the sponsorship to that business category.
  • If demographics are available, presenting those might be helpful to convince your prospect to buy — be sure to include them.
  • Present the Media Value. Tell the prospect how many print, electronic and website ads will include the sponsor’s logo and name.
  • List any promotional opportunities if any, as well as the opportunity to sell or sample their products during the event. Media partners and Retail partners are a plus and enrich the sponsorship proposal immensely.
  • Use of your database. Will sponsors marketing materials be included in your mailings and/or will they be provided lists of attendees for future marketing opportunity?
  • Product on-site, display opportunities and/or raffle items. Communicate in your proposal opportunities available for your sponsors to have their product(s) available for sample, or display on-site, and clarify any request for product for use in a raffle or auction.

    Another component of a great proposal is the Fact Sheet. This is the who, what, where and why document. This is often a stand-alone document that can be used if someone requests a fax or mail. For example include: demographics, physchographics, media/publicity information and testimonials.

    In the next series of posts, we will explore pricing your sponsorship.

    Bob Burris, a former sports executive now non-profit consultant and author, offers advice to organizations on how to maximize sports sponsorship with companies. His company, The Burris Group LLC, has negotiated and sold more than $100 million in sponsorship packages to a wide variety of Fortune 500 companies. "How To Sell Sponsorships, Tickets and Popcorn: A Guide to Creating, Selling and Maximizing Sponsorships for Non-Profit or For-Profit Partnerships and Athletic Programs" is a step-by-step workbook that provides sponsorship sellers with strategies and tools to finding, selling and retaining corporate sponsors.