Why You Should Never Write a Sponsorship Letter of Request

Why You Should Never Write a Sponsorship Letter of RequestThe only thing worse than a search-and-replace, gold-silver-bronze sponsorship 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.

What should you do?

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?

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. You may also be interested in my white papers,  “Last Generation Sponsorship Redux” and “Disruptive Sponsorship: Like Disruptive Marketing, Only Better“. I’ve also got self-paced, online sponsorship training courses, covering the whole sponsorship process, with lots of inclusions. Interested? Check out the Corporate Sponsorship Masterclass for sponsors and Getting to “Yes” for rightsholders.

If you need additional assistance, I offer sponsorship consulting and strategy sessions, sponsorship training, and sponsorship coaching. I also offer a comprehensive Sponsorship Systems Design service for large, diverse, and decentralised organisations.

Please feel free to drop me a line to discuss.

Please note, I do not offer a sponsorship broker service, and can’t sell sponsorship on your behalf. You may find someone appropriate on my sponsorship broker registry.

© Kim Skildum-Reid. All rights reserved. To enquire about republishing or distribution, please see the blog and white paper reprints page.

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