If you were a fly on the wall of my office, you would have been wondering why I was yelling at my computer screen last week. I had seen that question on LinkedIn, and I wasn’t actually yelling. I was pleading – pleading with the writer not to use PowerPoint, pleading with the writer not to count pages, like there is some magic number. As I was composing my response, another pundit suggested the writer do a “sizzle reel”, at which point I thought my head was going to explode.
Honestly, neither a sponsorship deck nor a sizzle reel is an effective or appropriate way to sell a sponsorship. Sponsors want to know specifically how your offer will help them to achieve their goals with their target markets. Whatever you provide them must be:
- Fully customised to their needs, markets, and situation.
- Include customised leverage ideas for how they can take the opportunity you are offering and turn it into a result against their objectives.
- Have all of the information they need to sell it internally, as there are many other stakeholders involved in the leverage and measurement of any sponsorship investment.
A PowerPoint deck does not give you the ability to provide the amount and detail of information that a sponsor needs to make a decision. If anything, you should be erring on the side of providing more information, so long as it is pertinent to their objectives and presented in a sensible, easy-to-read manner.
Doing a PowerPoint presentation is appropriate only if you have to do a stand-up presentation to a number of people, and if it is customised. Even then, you should be providing a Word leave-behind, with a much higher level of detail.
As for “sizzle reels”, you only have a very short time with a sponsor. Don’t waste a second of it farting around with some inherently uncustomised production that the sponsor knows has been edited to look like the best possible representation of what you do. And don’t think they will watch it if you give it to them as a leave-behind, because they won’t.
When it comes right down to it, you proposal needs to look professional, but flashiness is largely counterproductive. On the internet, content is king, and the same holds true for sponsorship proposals. It’s better to have all of the right information, in a sensible order and format, presented on letterhead, than it is to have too little, or the wrong, information in some full-colour PowerPoint. It’s better to have done your homework and provided specific ideas for how the sponsor can leverage their investment, than five minutes of gratuitous crowd shots and a suspiciously salesy voiceover.
As for pages, that really depends on the scope of the sponsorship (not, mind you, the scope of the event). I can’t imagine getting all of the required information in any less than six or seven pages, without formatting it so it’s unreadable. A strong, customised sponsorship proposal will typically run more like 8-12 pages, or even longer, which is not a deterrent to sponsors, as long as it is in a sensible order, presents the business case professionally, and is formatted to be easy to read. The key thing is that the proposal should not be primarily about your organisation, your property, or your need, but about how the opportunity meets the sponsor’s needs.
Below are a few resources that will probably assist:
- Sponsorship Proposal Basics in About 15 Minutes (YouTube)
- 30+ Proposal Development Resources for Sponsorship Seekers
- 40+ Sponsorship Sales Resources for Sponsorship Seekers
- Don’t Send a Sponsorship Proposal Until You Read This
- The First Sponsor Meeting (and How Not to Make an Idiot of Yourself)
- The Sponsorship Seeker’s Toolkit 4th Edition (includes a proposal template)
Need more assistance?
For all you need to know about sponsorship sales and servicing, you may want to get a copy of The Sponsorship Seeker’s Toolkit 4th Edition.
If you could use some additional support, I provide sponsorship coaching, sponsorship consulting, sponsorship training, and if you need a fast, cost-effective start, the Jump Start program. If you’re interested in any of these services, please review the materials and drop me a line to discuss:
AU: +61 2 9559 6444
US: +1 612 326 5265
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