Writing a Proposal

There are two main things that will essentially form the core of your proposal:

  • What the sponsor can do for you
  • What you can do for the sponsor

These will determine the what you need and will dictate the terms of the agreement.

What the sponsor can do for you

The first step in writing a proposal is to consider what the sponsorship is for, whether it's an overall sum of money to help your club/society, provision of specialist equipment, or a particular event. Potential sponsors will be keen to know what you're going to do with their money or support, and how it's going to help your club or society achieve its goals.

Some ideas are:

  • Improving or purchasing equipment that is available for all members to use
  • Reducing the amount that members have to spend, for example on clothing or publicity
  • Helping you achieve greater success through improved facilities and equipment
  • Offering more opportunities for people, go on tour, take part in events, or generally get involved
  • Giving you the chance to run your own event or tournament

What you can do for the sponsor

You obviously need to be able to demonstrate the benefits to the company of sponsoring your society. This will depend on the nature of your society and what aspect of it is being sponsored.

A few ideas are:

  • The company name and logo on all society merchandise, clothing, kit and/or equipment
  • A section on your website or a link from your homepage
  • The company name and logo featured on all emails sent out, as well as letters and any other publications (including publicity material) produced
  • Company banners at society events and tours
  • The opportunity to come to run a presentation evening to which all your members will attend (very good for larger societies)
  • To help companies who have a particular product or service to introduce or promote. Often societies have a clearly defined specialist audience, and sponsorship allows a company to target those people very precisely (See the Finding A Sponsor section).

Always make sure you factor in what it costs you to offer your sponsorship. If, for example, you offer a logo on the sleeve of your hoodies make sure the sponsorship covers the additional print costs.

Sell yourself

Once you've established what you require the sponsorship for and what you can offer a sponsor in return you then need to sell your proposal. A few things to think about here:

  • When writing to companies make sure that you make the letter concise, whilst really promoting what packages you can offer them.
  • A nice personal touch is to add photos or publications, maybe even with examples of the benefits past sponsors have had so they know what they've missed out on previously!
  • Be sure to mention any successes that your club or society has had
  • Be realistic - to claim that a logo on your society hoodie will be seen by all 20,000 students at Warwick is probably a little misleading. Potential sponsors would prefer you to be honest and give information that will offer them an insight into your society's activities and give them a realistic idea of what exposure you are offering.
  • Push benefits rather than features. Facts and figures are of interest to a potential sponsor, but what's more important in terms of selling your proposal is relating those features to a tangible benefit to the sponsor.

Stand out from the rest

Sponsors love quirky ideas that you may be able to come up with, such as a new event, tour or an award for your society that you could name after the company. If your society is holding an event/awards dinner/ tournament, invite a representative from your sponsors to give out a prize or say a few words about their company.

Let them know that this really matters to you - if you don't hear from them, follow up your proposal with a polite call to see how things are going.

A good proposal should be:

  • Short & sweet - if your proposal is more than 2 sides it is too long. If you're e-mailing a document, make sure the filesize isn't too large - you don't want to crash their inbox.
  • Well presented - you don't have to be a graphic designer but spending a little bit of time to make sure your proposal is easy on the eyes won't hurt - images aren't a necessity but can be useful giving your society an identity and really getting them to understand the promotional opportunities.
  • Innovative - try to make your proposal stand out, think about what you can offer that no-one else can. From a sponsor's point of view, if you can make your proposal stand out then they'll be thinking what you can do for their brand.