Submitting Your Sponsorship Proposal

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Discover how to submit your proposal for a sponsorship deal

 By Martin Hughes
 Owner and Editor

Submitting your sponsorship proposal by courtesy of the ITTF

In my previous article we looked at how to get sponsors for your table tennis club.

We discussed the essential things you need to consider before approaching a sponsor and how to improve your chances of success.

So after you've decided what you can offer a sponsor, and what you require in return, let's take a look at how to submit your sponsorship proposal.


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What is a sponsorship proposal?

A sponsorship proposal is a formal offer for a business transaction between your club and a potential sponsor.

Therefore, you need to act professionally at all times and present yourself and your club as a serious business partner.

It's also important to remember that, even though a sponsorship deal has to benefit both parties, the sponsor must be able to recognise the benefits they'll receive from it.

So you must ensure that you offer them something of value. It's not just about what YOU can get from the sponsorship deal - It's a two-way transaction.

The proposal needs to be well presented and contain enough information for the potential sponsor to gain a thorough understanding of what you're offering them.

However, it also needs to be brief as they won't want to read through a long document.

Remember, you can always give them additional information after they've shown an initial interest.


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Important Guidelines

The amount of information you'll need to give to a sponsor will vary depending on the scale of your proposal.

For example, if you're only seeking a small amount of sponsorship then the details you'll need to provide will probably be minimal, whereas if you're seeking a larger amount of sponsorship then you'll need to provide much more detailed information.

But whatever the scale of your proposal, unless you've previously discussed a sponsorship deal with a potential sponsor, you should always start with a brief letter or document outlining your proposal.


So here are some important guidelines for the initial approach...


  1. Send it to a specific person

    You need to send your proposal to a specific person, not just to the company.

    That person also needs to be the person who can say 'yes', rather than someone who will have to refer it to someone else.

    If you don't know who the correct person is, contact the company and ask them who is in charge of sponsorship deals.

    Then make sure that your proposal is professionally presented, correctly addressed and delivered to that person.

    Don't just send it to a company without addressing it to a specific person.

  2. Customise your proposal

    Make sure that your proposal is customised for the company you are sending it to.

    Don't send exactly the same document to several companies.

  3. Set out the benefits to the sponsor

    This is the most important part of your proposal.

    Remember, businesses are mostly interested in HOW YOU CAN HELP THEM, not how they can help your club.

    So make sure that you clearly state the benefits to their business.

    You could offer them generic benefits (such as increasing brand awareness & sales), or you could offer them specific benefits relating to their stated company objectives.

    Give details of what you are requesting (money, goods, services), how they will be used, and what the company will receive in return.

    Make sure that you include any dates which are relevant to the sponsorship.

    Emphasise what the company will receive in return for their sponsorship, rather than what you will get.

  4. Offer different levels of sponsorship

    Consider offering different levels of sponsorship.

    Set out the different levels (for example: Gold, Silver, Bronze) and what they will receive for each level.

  5. Include club information

    Tell them about your club, but keep it brief and relevant to the sponsorship proposal.

    They will want to know what you have achieved so far and the future potential for your club.

    If your club has won any awards or had any significant achievements, make sure that you mention them.

    Make sure that you include your name, address, phone number and email address.

  6. Submit your proposal in good time

    Many businesses plan their budgets up to a year in advance, so make sure that you allow sufficient lead-time.

    Depending on what you're asking for, it may take a long time to agree a deal.

  7. Get their attention

    Include something unusual with your letter in order to get their attention.

    For example, you could send them a club shirt with their logo already printed on it.

    Or send them two rackets and balls to use.

    If you can be different to everyone else then your proposal will have a much better chance of being considered.

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Detailed sponsorship proposal document

If you need to provide a more detailed sponsorship proposal document to supplement your initial letter, you can use the following headings as a guide.

Remember, the larger the amount of sponsorship you're seeking, the greater the amount information you'll need to provide.

  1. Overview of the sponsorship

    Give a brief overview of what you are offering and how being involved will benefit the sponsor.

    Keep it brief and relevant but inject some emotion into your submission in order to get the sponsor interested.

  2. Background information about the club

    Give brief details about your table tennis club, including who is running it and how it began.

    Include details of any awards or significant achievements that your club has achieved.

    If you have any long term goals which are relevant to the sponsor's business, include them too.

    If you have previously had a successful sponsorship deal, give relevant details.

  3. Details about the club or event

    If you're seeking sponsorship for a specific event or series of events, make sure that you include all the relevant dates, times and locations.

    Also, give details about how many people will attend the event and who they're likely to be - will they be young, old, local, non-local etc.

    If you're seeking sponsorship for the club, give them details about the membership - numbers, ages, professions etc.

  4. Sponsor benefits

    This is the most important part of your proposal.

    Set out what benefits the sponsor will receive. These could include...

    • Attributes and skills within your club that will be of value to the sponsor. These could include social media skills, public speaking, writing press releases, sales and marketing skills etc.

    • A target audience which matches the sponsor's target audience. They could be young, old, professional, working-class etc.

    • Providing publicity for them by...
      • Putting their logo on your club clothing and equipment
      • Providing free advertising outside and inside your club
      • Providing free advertising on your club's web site
      • Providing free advertising in programmes and on flyers
      • Putting their logo on all correspondence
      • Promoting them as title sponsor for a specific event
      • Promoting them as title sponsor for the club itself
      • Promoting them as title sponsor for club teams
      • Promoting them in every media release

    • Providing a specified number of complimentary tickets to the events and/or membership of your club.

    • Providing space for them to display their goods and services at the events and/or your club.

    • Providing networking opportunities.

    • Enhancing the sponsor's image by being associated with your club.

    Consider offering different levels of sponsorship and set out what benefits would be offered at the different levels.

    Make sure that the benefits at each level are progressive and encourage them to choose a high level.

  5. Sponsor investment

    Set out the costs involved for the sponsor and/or what goods and services you are seeking.

  6. Terms and conditions

    Include all the dates when payments will need to be made and/or when they need to provide the goods and services.

    Include any other terms and conditions that the sponsor needs to be aware of.

  7. Contact details

    Make sure that you include your personal contact details and the club's contact details.

    These will include...

    • Your details - full name, email address, telephone numbers, postal address
    • Your club's details - email address, telephone numbers, postal address, opening times, web site address, social media details (Facebook, Twitter etc)

    Also, offer them a chance to visit your club.

  8. Call to action

    Finally, make sure that you have a call to action at the end of the proposal.

    Politely ask for a response by a certain date.

  9. Other details

    Include a message thanking the sponsor for their time and consideration of your proposal.

    Make the length of your proposal document proportional to the value of the sponsorship.

    Include something unusual with your proposal in order to get their attention.

    Don't expect to get anything back that you send them with your proposal.

    Don't expect any potential sponsor to be enthusiastic about your proposal unless you can clearly show them how they will benefit.

    Be prepared to be flexible if the sponsor wants to make changes to your proposal or offer something different.

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Be prepared for rejection

To have the best chance of success with your sponsorship proposal you should always ensure that it's well presented.

But whatever the merits of your proposal, it may still be rejected so you need to be prepared for that possibility.

Businesses are continually being asked for sponsorship and there may be many reasons why your proposal is rejected.

If this does happen to you, try to find out the reason for the rejection as it may help you with any future requests, either to that business or others.

But remember, don't give up. If you have a good offer and you persevere, you will eventually find a suitable sponsor.

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For more information about table tennis clubs, take a look at these pages too...

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