One day, you may seek sponsorship for your business, team, club, project, cause or event.
This can be tricky, especially in lean times.
In helping clients give it their best shot, I’ve learnt a few things.
I’m hoping you’ll add your two cents, so we all get more bucks for our bang.
Cold hard cash call
Some clients think the best way to tap cats for cash is to cold-call, introduce themselves and their cause, then send written information if they get a bite.
Yet none of the firms I’ve worked with phoned first.
Not only does this put prospects on the spot, it gives them a chance to say ‘no’ before you’ve made your case.
Instead, I suggest a mail-out with a follow-up phone call 1-2 weeks later.
The mail-out is usually a one-page cover letter with a more detailed (but not encyclopaedic) enclosure/attachment.
Once you get a nibble, you can send more nitty-gritty stuff as requested.
Addressing the point
As with all communications, much depends on your audience (i.e. prospects).
If you define exactly who these people are, you can work out how best to address them.
For instance, sole traders respond differently to CEOs, and marketers have different ‘hot buttons’ to accountants.
The shorter your ‘hit list’, the more you can tailor each prospect’s letter.
Personalised communications work far better than generic.
Your mail-out must be clear and concise, so busy strangers grasp it fast.
It must also be flawless, or it’ll torpedo your credibility.
During my human resources career, I saw hundreds of ‘HELP!’ letters hit various corporate boxes.
Most were killed on sight by gate-keeping secretaries.
Some went up the command chain if they offered the organisation a benefit.
The benefit could be obvious, like a shirt logo, event banner or other shout-out (taking care not to overdo it).
The benefit could also be subtle, like donating a desirable charity auction item (which losing bidders would rush out and buy afterwards).
Children’s requests scrawled in crayon always made it to the top.
Going for gold
When I edited a components company newsletter, the most interesting bit was the progress of a young girl pursuing her Olympic martial-arts dream. (She could be in London as we speak.)
She was clearly popular with staff and management alike. She visited the factory, sent dispatches from overseas events and never failed to mention that without the company’s support, she’d still be knee-dropping her kid brother in Upper Combucta West.
Her initial sponsorship request was of the crayon variety, which goes to show that rules can be broken.
The take-out, then, is to use your head before showing your hand.
I now ask you to donate your tips, thoughts, stories, questions and wisdom for our mutual benefit.