Keen on a corporate sponsorship? Here are some free tips!

It drives me to tears, finding a message in my Facebook inbox that reads a little something like this:

“Ho peeps im a young man 20 years of age am just looking 4 a sponsor can u please me. Cz am tryng 2 do some business?”

Captain Tight Pants

Where do I start?

The platform, I guess, is as good a place as any. If you want to apply for a corporate sponsorship, get in touch with a company’s Marketing Department. And no, unlike what you might think, those are not necessarily the people managing and updating the Facebook page. A lot of companies outsource their social media to digital agencies.

You should be able to find the information for the Marketing Department on the company’s website. Alternatively, call the organisation and ask for the direct contact details: contact person, telephone number, e-mail address.

Next you need to spend some time drafting an official proposal – on a letterhead if possible, with your organisation’s NPO registration number (if you don’t have one of those, don’t bother applying for sponsorship/donations, etc.). Note, this is just a draft. Order your thoughts. Start with a short background on your organisation, and a rationale about why you have decided to approach this company. A lot of so-called NGOs will send the same proposal to several companies, hoping one (or all) of them will respond. It doesn’t work like that. Companies will consider organisations whose philosophies align closely to their own.

Follow with the reason for your proposal: what do you ultimately want and how will these resources be applied? What can you offer the company in exchange? Naming rights? Press coverage (even if it is just in an internal newsletter)? If it is for an event, invite representatives of the company to attend, or participate if there is a prize giving involved.

If you have a deadline, add that, along with a short thank you in advance.

Chances are you’ve typed all of this in Microsoft Word, so quickly press F7. This will let the programme perform a spelling and grammar check, allowing you to fix all the bad text-speak and awful syntaxes. Make sure you save after doing this spell-check.

Now ask someone else to read through your proposal to see if it makes sense, and to double-check that everything’s spelled correctly.

Leave the proposal for a few days, reread it, and if you’re still happy with what you’ve written, send it, along with a short cover message (which you should spell check before sending too).

Companies usually support the same beneficiaries every year, so don’t be disappointed if they choose not to support your organisation.  Also keep in mind that just as you have a deadline, companies allocate their sponsorships at the start of their financial year, and once the funds have been assigned, you will have to wait until the next year.

It is also a good idea to keep a (digital) database of any media coverage your organisation might have had in the past, in case the company asks to see what you’ve been up to.

You may not get a response at all, but if your proposal is neat, well-written, and succinct, you have a better chance of getting a reply, even if it politely declines the opportunity. If you make an effort to present a good request, the people who matter will make the effort to read it, consider it, and reply.

So keep serious business off Facebook (or any other social platform, for that matter), and always be professional.




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