Potential sponsors don’t sit at their desks all day waiting for your proposal to arrive. For many, sponsorship is one part of a larger role which keeps them very busy. This means your proposal isn’t just competing with other sponsorship proposals (of which there will be many) but also with many other distractions for a share of their attention. Having a well-crafted, compelling partnership document is a critical first step in getting the attention of a potential partner.
A good proposal is a particularly useful step where little or no prior relationship exists with the potential partner. A compelling proposal can be an invaluable tool for enticing the other party to the table by making them excited to learn more about you. Once it has completed that task, it is up to you to build a strong personal relationship with the prospective sponsor and turn that interest into a long term, mutually successful partnership.
The focus of your proposal will change depending on the value of the money you are seeking.
High-value partnership proposal – When seeking a high value partnership, there will generally be a significant amount of tailoring required. The purpose of a high-value proposal is to get the prospective sponsor excited about the prospect of meeting with you to speak further. To achieve this, you should outline the potential benefits of working with you without being overly prescriptive regarding the opportunities. These specifics will be worked out in collaboration with the partner once they have determined they are interested and then documented in a formal agreement. This kind of proposal typically includes: a covering letter, a cover page, a positioning statement, an overview of opportunities, a list of key contacts, testimonials, and some indication of pricing.
Low-value partnership proposal – When seeking a lower value sponsorship you can shorten the sales cycle by being more prescriptive about what the partner receives (as long as it is tangible and nothing as naff as just putting their logo somewhere). This kind of proposal is often used in Annual Partner programs where an association may have a number of partners they manage. This kind of proposal includes everything outlined above, with more detail on the benefits to the partner (rather than just an overview of opportunities), as well as an application form containing terms and conditions. Once the signed application form and payment is returned this becomes the contract for the arrangement.