Last weekend a friend of mine showed me a sponsorship request she received in the mail that day. She knows I sell a lot of sponsorships for my event and she thought I’d get a kick out of this one. What’s sad is that I’ve seen organizations and events publish letters just like this one. Let’s focus on just three things they did wrong and how to fix them.
The Opening – Dear Appreciated Business
Nothing says I couldn’t give a rat’s ass who I get money from like an opening like this one. The recipient knows right off the bat she is one of many receiving your form letter so it is highly unlikely the rest of the letter will contain any type of benefit whatsoever to her business.
What you should do: Take the time to research who the appropriate contact is at each company you are targeting for sponsorship. Start with the marketing department because sponsorship is a marketing activity…it’s not charity. Address the letter directly to them.
Me me me me me…it’s all about me!
The focus of this letter is how the couple will benefit from the sponsorship. For some reason it appears they believe their nuptials are an event worthy of consideration for no other reason than they could use the cash/products/services.
What’s the demographic your sponsor would be reaching? In this case it is “ranging”, a highly coveted demographic for my friends business (sarcasm). Also I find offense with their wording “in exchange for free publicity.” It is not free. It is a business transaction in which my friend would exchange product for “tasteful advertisement.”
What you should do: Take the time to research your targeted sponsor. Read through their press releases, annual reports if a public company and articles featuring their CEO or Marketing VP to find out what they are selling and whom they are selling it to. Suggest a few ideas as to how their involvement in your event will help them achieve their marketing goals. Make it about them…not you.
Typos and whiteout went out in the 80s.
How lazy do you have to be to not take the time to backspace over a typo and fix it? I can only assume this person printed out about 100 copies and didn’t want to go through the hassle of fixing the mistake and reprinting. It screams, “attention to detail in not my strength.”
What you should do: Carefully check, re-check and check again for any misspellings or punctuation and grammar problems. This is not a time to be lazy. Sending a sponsorship request with mistakes like these sets off a red flag. It says 1) you are a very unprofessional organization and can’t be trusted with a sponsor’s investment and 2) will you be so careless with the sponsor’s materials and promotions?
Now it’s your turn
Take a look at your sponsorship letters. Are they addressed to the individual who is most appropriate? Are they free of any typos? Now take a highlighter and start highlighting everything that is about you, your event and the benefits you will receive. Now, go back and eliminate those and turn them into benefits your sponsor will receive.
I’m hardly a sponsorship expert but I’ve been very successful in selling sponsorships for my events. If you want to be successful I suggest you check out these two websites and buy the corresponding books. They are both within an arms reach when I’m working on event sponsorships.
How to Jump Start Your Sponsorship Strategy in Tough Times