media update’s Nakedi Phala reveals how PR practitioners can go about securing a sponsorship deal for their clients’ brands.

Securing a sponsorship requires a lot of effort. This is because there are many things to consider, such as creating an attractive proposal, the obtaining phase, the maintaining phase and, of course, the retaining phase.

However, once you’ve created the best possible proposal you can, the rest will simply fall into place. 

Here are three steps that will help you create  a winning sponsorship proposal. 

#1: Do your research 

When looking for a sponsor, it’s important to take into account what type of sponsorship you are looking for — is it money? Influence? Resources? Whatever it may be, you need to make a request that is highly dependent on your client’s needs. 

That is why, when creating a proposal, it’s important to research potential brands that might be keen to help you with your sponsorship requirements. Remember to also take into account what you may be able to offer them in return. 

Create a list of all the donors that you feel can meet your client’s needs. When you’ve come across ones that you feel tick all the boxes, go through their website, read through their objectives, subscribe to their newsletter and visit their social media platform to get a feel for how they operate. This will make your approach less challenging as you’ll have studied their ways of conducting business. 

This is why research is important; it helps you understand your client’s brand needs, as well as that of other brands. 

#2: Craft a persuasive message 

Now that you’ve created a list of possible donors, you will need to create a personalised proposal for each one of them — it will make them feel important, as the message will be tailored to their brand. 

Writing a persuasive pitch

When writing a persuasive proposal, it’s important to use an active voice, especially if you’re sending your request via text — for example, through an email or PDF document. Write a brief introduction that highlights your need for sponsorship, ending it with a hook that leads the reader to your next point. For example, use words that create a  lead in, such as ‘therefore’, ‘essentially’ and ‘importantly’.

The paragraphs in your proposal should not consist of more than five lines (this is because people tend to feel overwhelmed by huge paragraphs). You can also separate some important points using bullet points, lists or numbering.

Getting the numbers right 

When creating a sponsorship proposal, it is in your best interest to clearly state what you need the money for. Be specific and make your plea direct. 

For example, if you need a specific sponsorship, be sure to make that known in your plea.  Clarify what you need and what problem it will help resolve for your client’s brand. This approach will prove that you not only know what you want but that you have done your homework and will use your acquired resources wisely.

Some organisations won't always be able to offer sponsorship in money, but by requesting resources instead, you can make it known that you’re open to other forms of donations.

For example, let's suppose that you’re putting together a proposal for a client’s film production company and their brand requires financial sponsorship to pay actors. You happen to come across a broadcast channel that is willing to offer sponsorship through non-financial means, but it allows you to air a season or two at no cost.

In this regard, you’re able to direct your client’s funds into other parts of their business or organisation even though the sponsorship isn’t in monetary form. 

Giving a top-class presentation

As a PR practitioner, one of your sharp skills is communicating and creating messages and presentations that are convincing. 

Therefore, you need to make sure that your body copy is error-free. Edit the copy before you save your presentation. And, remember to use videos, images, graphs and statistics, as this will keep your potential donor interested in your presentation. 

Before and during your presentation, you need to show that you know your stuff — study all contents of the presentation as some of your audience will have questions; the only catch is you don’t know what questions they’ll ask, so be ready for anything! 

More than anything else, be sincere; believe in your craft and the work you’ve put in with your team. Also make sure that you’re neat and presentable before delivering your sponsorship request. 

#3: Maintain the relationship 

At this phase, it’s all guns out! You have now discussed a few points, agreed and disagreed, gone back to the drawing board and have most likely strategised with your team for hours on end. 

You now know the terms and conditions of what your potential sponsor wants and doesn’t want;  all this means is that the time for thinking things through is vital — you don’t want to agree to anything that you’ll later regret.. 

It’s important that you document a final proposal that will give both parties peace of mind. The document should consist of a letter expressing gratitude for the sponsorship, as well as all the relevant information regarding the sponsorship deal.

Don’t forget to also send your new sponsor a little token of appreciation to honour their efforts. 

Make sure you add them to your mailing list, follow or friend them on social media and always keep them in the loop about the brand's activities as it will be their business to know too. 

Finally, to maintain a positive relationship with your donor(s), share invitations to your events with them; it makes them feel special and appreciated. 

A sponsorship proposal is not a one size fits all, it needs to be designed for a specific possible donor. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below. 

Ufuna izindaba ezishisayo? Bhalisela encwadini yethu yezindaba. 

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