I have managed millions of client marketing dollars and seen thousands of requests for sponsorship cross my desk over the years. Of these many requests, I estimate that probably 80% arrive with insufficient data for me to take action without soliciting more information. This costs me valuable time...strike one, and makes you look unprofessional and amateurish....strike two.
So if you want to put me, (and other gatekeepers just like me,) in a position to quickly evaluate, submit and recommend the funding of your request, these are the steps you should take for your best chance to hit a home run.
- Keep it simple and uncluttered. Save a stamp by sending your request via email in PDF format. Realize however that such requests have to be printed internally, and most professional printing is done on black & white laser printers, so keep graphics at a minimum and no colored backgrounds. Also, this must be formatted to print on a standard 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper. No odd sizes.
- Include all options. Although you may be interested in securing major sponsors first, many organizations will be unable to support your cause at a high level, but would, for example, place a less expensive ad in a program book. Make sure you include complete sponsorship options.
- List ad dimensions. This is where most support requests fail. Listing full page, half page, quarter page, etc, does not help. Ad designers need to know dimensions, so it's smart practice to include them on solicitations. Also designers expect dimensions to be listed width first, then height, as in 7.5"(wide) x 10.5" (high.) If you list them backwards, you will receive ads that won't fit in your book or a lot of phone calls from people who don't think the dimensions sound right.
- Include your deadline. When is the support commitment deadline? When are payment and materials due? List this info on your request form.
- Where should the check be sent? Amazingly, many organizations forget to include this vital piece of information.
- List an email address. Most marketing representatives prefer to send a quick email confirmation of the support contribution and email the ad when it's designed. Make it easy by providing an email address.
- Remind advertisers early. Most marketing reps are juggling multiple projects, and sometimes things get overlooked. Don't wait until the day that your program book needs to go to the printer to remind someone that an ad is due. Send out email reminders about a week prior.
Your primary objective in soliciting support for your charitable organization should be making it as easy as possible for people to evaluate your request and comply with it. Incomplete information frustrates marketers and makes you look unprofessional. It may even get your request dropped into the trash without serious consideration.