Have you had this experience? You send out your sponsor request letters or emails and eagerly anticipate the sponsorships rolling in. But all you hear in response is the sound of crickets.
A typical business owner receives a lot of requests for donations and sponsorships. You have to make sure your request for event sponsorship stands out.
Grab and hold the attention of your potential Chamber of Commerce event sponsors by following these 5 tips on how to write a letter or email asking for sponsorship for an event that works!
#1 Get Personal: Personalize the Salutation in Your Sponsor Request Letter
Whether you are drafting an email or a letter, personalize your greeting by addressing the person by name. So, instead of “To Whom It May Concern:” or “Dear Chamber Member,” — make it “Dear Steve” or “Dear Ms. Smith”.
Your word processing software and email marketing service provider have shortcuts or codes that will allow you to personalize every letter or email as it goes out (without having to do it by hand).
HINT: If your Chamber of Commerce is using using ChamberMaster or GrowthZone software, here is a link to the instructions for inserting a database field into your email.
Something as simple as addressing the individual person by name as opposed to a generic greeting can make a big difference as to whether a person continues to read your sponsor request letter or whether they stop reading at the greeting.
This suggestion requires that you do a little research to find the right person to address your letter to if you aren’t familiar with the business that you are approaching. But the extra effort will be worth it.
If you’re addressing a business that is a member of your Chamber of Commerce, you already have that information at your fingertips.
#2 Start with a Bang: Write A First Sentence that Grabs Your Reader’s Attention
Wondering how to begin your event sponsor request email or letter? Start your letter out strong by telling a story that helps the reader envision the event.
Instead of leading with the typical, “Our event is coming up. We’re asking you to support it,” help the business owner or CEO imagine the event – and how their business can be a part of it.
Here is an example of an attention-getting letter opener:
Hundreds of families (nearly 2,500 people in total!) will converge in downtown Smithville on October 29th. They will trick-or-treat at local stores, take photos at the pumpkin patch, and ride the haunted bus – all while shopping and dining at local businesses.
Downtown is full of people on Saturdays! Families with young kids, retirees, and college students all shop at the Silver City Farmer’s Market for fresh produce, locally made goods, locally grown flowers while enjoying kids’ activities, visiting with neighbors, and listening to live music.
Grab your reader’s attention with photos! Add an event image or collage of images showing people at the event or people viewing the sponsor signs from a previous year.
HINT: If your Chamber is using ChamberMaster/GrowthZone software, here is the link to the instructions on inserting a graphic in your email
#3 Make It Clear: “What’s in It for Me?”
After painting a picture of the event, clearly state how the reader’s business will benefit from a sponsorship.
Every business owner wants the answer to ‘what’s in it for me?’ when reading a sponsor ask letter or event sponsorship email.
I have read many event sponsor letters that ask for something – support, a donation, or a sponsorship – that didn’t tell me why it would benefit my business. There are many reasons why businesses support an event – figure out what fits for your event and then tell your reader what that is.
By emphasizing the return on investment (ROI) that the business gets from this sponsorship, you overcome the objection to spending the money.
All businesses are not the same and do not have the same goals. Start by placing your businesses into categories based on the return on investment (ROI) they are seeking.
Then draft a separate letter for each category that highlights that ROI — whether it is brand visibility, reaching a specific target audience, or creating goodwill for the business – focus on their needs, not yours.
Even better – place a monetary value on each benefit so the business can clearly see the monetary ROI for their sponsorship.
#4 Show Me the Data: Give Success Numbers from Previous Years
Show your potential event sponsors the results from previous years – don’t just tell them that their logo will be in front of lots of people.
You can use all sorts of data — What were the results from last year’s event? How many people attended? What was the demographic of your attendees?
Give your readers hard and fast numbers to show them the potential reach of their sponsorship.
Here is an example of providing data in your event sponsorship letter:
Last summer, we had over 5,000 people shop at the Silver City Farmer’s Market.
A large percentage of our Farmer’s market attendees are women aged 40 – 65 in a higher income bracket with at least some level of college education.
Present this data in a nice graphical format – either a graph or chart or a way to make those numbers stand out
#5 Don’t Make Me Work: Make it Very Easy to Become a Sponsor for Your Chamber’s Event
While some people want a paper form to become a sponsor, others may want to fill out a form online and make payment online.
Make sure you provide both options so that you don’t miss out on any sponsors.
Include the paper form in the envelope but make it very clear in your letter that you can also become a sponsor online and the provide the URL of your sponsor page.
If you’re sending an email, have the link to your online form in several places — both as a text link and as a big button.
The pandemic made the use of QR codes ubiquitous; place a QR code for your sponsorship form in your letter in addition to the URL.