Why You Should Never Write a Sponsorship Letter of Request

Stop SignThe only thing worse than a search-and-replace, gold-silver-bronze proposal is the “letter of request”.

I don’t even like the name. Seriously, do people sending these things actually think they can “request” marketing money, and it’s just going to come their way? That there’s no rigour or strategy that goes into spending all of that money? That it’s just there for the asking??

If so, here’s a letter I’d like to write…

Dear Lotteries Commission –

I’m a really nice person, but I have a really big mortgage. I would like to request that I win the lottery, so I can pay it off and take my daughter on holiday to Fiji.

Her next school holidays are at Christmas, so please ensure I win before the end of November, to allow us to plan the trip.

Thank you in advance,


Unfortunately, that’s more or less how most sponsorship letters of request read, as well. I understand that some people don’t know any better, and that some people are just intrinsically lazy, but let me tell you what those letters actually say to sponsors:

“Pretty please, give us some money. We’re really worthy. So worthy, in fact, that we don’t even have to make a business case to access your marketing budget!”

“Here’s a thumbnail about our event. Yeah, we know it’s not customised – or even targeted. Frankly, we sent it to about 400 people we culled from some directory. We await your call.”

 “I have no idea what I’m doing, or even what a sponsorship proposal is supposed to look like. But I need it, so… um… here’s a letter telling you why we need your money. You’re the sponsorship manager. I’m sure you’ll know what to do from here.”

“I can’t be arsed doing the work to customise a proposal for you. Imagine what it’s going to be like working with me?”

Are those the messages you want to be sending? Are they going to get you the money you are looking for? No. In fact, you may even burn a bridge with a brand that could have been a great prospect, if you hadn’t demonstrated that you either don’t know what you’re doing, or you don’t care.

If you want to raise sponsorship, you need to put forth your absolute best effort the first time. The first document they ever see from you should be fully customised, include bespoke leverage ideas, and create a full business case for how it works for them. It needs to be complete enough so that your contact can use it to get internal buy-in from other departments. It needs to be complete enough for them to say “yes” without asking for more information.

How do you create a proposal like that? I’ve listed a few resources below to get you started. But whatever you do, don’t send another letter of request.

Need more assistance?

Download the Power Sponsorship Jump Start Brochure

If you could use some additional support, I provide sponsorship coaching, sponsorship consulting, and if you need a fast, cost-effective start, the Jump Start program (download the brochure at the right). If you’re interested in any of these services, please review the materials and drop me a line to discuss:

Kim Skildum-Reid
AU: +61 2 9559 6444
US: +1 612 326 5265


© Kim Skildum-Reid. All rights reserved. For republishing information see Blog and White Paper Reprints.

Comments are closed.