Creating a Compelling Sponsorship Proposal: 3 Best Practices

By Sarah Sebastian | Posted on August 22, 2023

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As a park and recreation or nonprofit professional, you understand that planning an event like an auction or gala requires plenty of time, energy and resources. But don’t worry, you don’t have to tackle this daunting task all by yourself! By teaming up with a corporate partner, your organization can receive valuable support to host your event and connect with a brand new community of supporters.

Corporate sponsorships can come in many forms, ranging from financial contributions and in-kind donations to skilled volunteer services. Depending on the type of support you need, a corporate partner might be willing to assist you in one or all of these ways, making it easier for your nonprofit to transform any event into a truly memorable experience. 

To secure a corporate partner for your organization, you need to develop a compelling sponsorship proposal. A sponsorship proposal clearly defines your ask and explains how your partner can also benefit from this relationship. 

Implement these best practices to develop a strong sponsorship proposal: 

  • Introduce your organization
  • Explain your fundraising needs
  • Highlight how your corporate partner will benefit

Whether you’re hosting a walk-a-thon, auction or high-energy fundraising gala, securing a corporate sponsorship can help you elevate your event, connect with donors and advance your mission. Let’s get started on creating an exceptional experience together!

Introduce your organization

Your prospective partner might not be familiar with your organization or agency, so your corporate sponsorship proposal should begin with a comprehensive introduction that establishes your credibility. Begin your proposal with a comprehensive introduction that covers the following key details: 

  • Mission. Provide a brief explanation of your nonprofit or park and recreation agency’s vision for the future, highlighting the core values, purpose and goals that drive your organization. 
  • History/Founding. Showcase the founding of your nonprofit or agency and the reasons behind its creation. You can also introduce your founders and share relevant details about their background and passion for your cause. 
  • Impact/Successes. Touch on your major accomplishments and provide data to emphasize the positive difference your organization has made. This is your opportunity to showcase the value you bring to the community and why considering your proposal is worthwhile for your prospective partner.
  • Current/Upcoming Projects. Inform your prospective partner about meaningful events and projects on your horizon to demonstrate your active efforts in making your mission a reality. 

It can also be helpful to mention any existing connections you have with the company. For example, if employees from your prospective corporate partner already volunteer at your organization, include this information in your introduction. This adds to your authority and further proves the value in working with your organization since your prospective partner’s employees are already enthusiastic about your mission. 

Explain your fundraising event needs

It’s crucial to clearly explain the type of support your organization needs, with context behind why this is necessary, and demonstrate how it will help your organization achieve its goals. If your nonprofit or park and recreation agency is seeking financial support, be direct about the specific amount of revenue you’re seeking and emphasize how this would make a difference. The more specific and compelling your request, the more likely your prospective corporate partner is to deliver exactly what you need. 

Let’s say your organization is hosting a hybrid auction and needs appealing items to drive bids. Rather than spending your hard-earned funds on costly items and packages (which could potentially lower your overall profits), you can ask your corporate sponsor to provide direct financial support to cover the costs of high-value items. 

In your sponsorship proposal, you should: 

  • List out the items or experiences you’re seeking to add to your item catalog with your corporate sponsor’s help, such as a getaway package, VIP experience or event tickets. 
  • Spell out the associated costs of each item and estimated bidding amounts. 
  • Provide context into how these auction items will enhance your event, creating a lively atmosphere and generating a bidding frenzy. Ultimately, this will push you closer to reaching your fundraising goal. 

To make your request emotionally compelling, include how the revenue from your event will be used to power your mission. For example, an environmental sustainability organization hosting an auction might explain how the money will be used to restore forests or advance other conservation initiatives. 

Highlight how your corporate partner will benefit

The best corporate partnerships are mutually beneficial and sustainable to both parties. To persuade your corporate partner to support your cause, you need to pinpoint the specific rewards they’ll reap from this relationship. 

Include the following major perks:

  • Increased brand awareness. Explain the free promotional opportunities you’ll provide your corporate partner to advertise their service or product among your audience. The OneCause guide to hybrid fundraising recommends adding the company’s logo to your fundraising site, creating a social media promotion plan to advertise your partner online, and giving sponsor shout-outs during your event. 
  • Improved company reputation. Emphasize the positive impact that being associated with your organization’s great cause will have on your partner’s company. They’ll earn a socially conscious reputation, which in turn can help them build customer loyalty and bring in more revenue. Highlight the potential for an enhanced brand image and increased trust in their business. 
  • Financial incentives. Inform your prospective partner that their financial support for your organization may make them eligible for tax incentives. These deductions can help them save more funds that can be reinvested in their organization or even donated back to your organization. 

Try to be as specific as possible when referencing these benefits. For instance, if your organization’s audience aligns with your partner’s target customers, you can showcase your donor demographics and explain why it would be valuable for your prospective partner to connect with your supporters. 

Wrapping Up

Whether your nonprofit or park and recreation agency wants to elevate its event marketing plan or fund the costs of high-value auction items, a corporate partner can help. Once you’ve submitted your sponsorship proposal, it’s essential to follow up with your prospective partner, thank them for their consideration and offer to meet with them in person to discuss the details of your partnership in greater detail. 

If your prospective partner agrees to your sponsorship, express appreciation and provide consistent updates on your event’s progress. This can help build a solid foundation for an ongoing relationship that will benefit both your partner and your organization as you grow. 

Sarah Sebastian is the Director of Corporate Communications at OneCause.