Give in order to receive

I’m writing this because many people seem to think that wineries are an easy option when they want prizes for a charity raffle or auction. Great cause though it may be, what is the return for the winery donating the wine? They should do it just ‘out of the goodness of their hearts’? Sure, but if they are asked several times a week?

It always astounds me that individuals and organisations have an expectation that they will receive a handout. Today more than ever, every business dollar has to be carefully considered, has to be treated as an investment. While your cause may be incredibly worthy, what is the funder going to receive for giving you some of their hard-earned cash? And yes, the same applies to product and services, like wine for example or asking a graphic designer to design something for free – it is still a cost!

There are numerous good causes out there – numerous charities, schools, sports groups, research ideas all with compelling reasons to hand over your loose change. But what if you are after something more significant such as a larger amount of money or even an ongoing sponsor or partnership?

Because businesses as well as Joe Public are approached on a daily basis for money, the best way to increase your chances of success is to understand the companies you want to approach and what makes them tick. In other words, you need to offer them something. Pulling on the heart strings is not enough to guarantee a donation and certainly not an ongoing commitment. What can you offer a potential sponsor that adds value to their business?

This is when you need to write a proper proposal to demonstrate that you have researched the company, its brand and what it stands for and to show them you have taken the time to consider why they should sponsor you and what value it can return for them. Show them why your proposed activity is a good fit for their brand.

Your proposal contents should at least cover the following:

Cover sheet With your organisation’s name and logo and that of the company you are approaching, the date and name and contact details of person writing the proposal.

Introduction explaining why you are approaching them.

Your organisation About the company, what you do and what it is you are needing funds/product for

Objective What is it your organisation wants to achieve with this activity? What are the outcomes?

Mission How will you achieve it and how will it be measured?

Proposal What are you asking for and what are you offering in return? Why should they consider your proposal and how will they benefit? Be clear with the amount of money or product you are asking for and how it will be used. When do you need it? In a lump sum or over a period of time? How will the money be spent?

Conclusion Summarise the proposal and provide details of when and how you will follow up. Remember to thank the reader for their consideration of the proposal and invite them to contact you with any queries.

Depending on the nature of your organisation and what you are looking for, this may only be a couple of pages – really all you are doing is committing to paper the things you should already know and the things that you are likely to be asked by anyone you approach. Think of it as preparation. Show your potential funder just how good your cause it and what YOU can do for THEM!

If this seems a little over the top or too time-consuming, then you maybe haven’t understood just how important it is!

Good luck!


About Belinda Jackson's Blog

I'm a professional wino! I am GM for Blind River, a small vineyard planted with Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir in Marlborough's beautiful Awatere Valley. You can see more at I am a director of Wine Competition Ltd which owns and runs two independent wine competitions in New Zealand: the Spiegelau International Wine Competition ( and the Marlborough Wine Show ( When not 'wining' I am championing local causes such as Renwick Smart & Connected and the Mistletoe Bay Foundation. I have been on the board of New Zealand Riding for the Disabled for over six years. I have three books published and I have a regular wine slot on Radio New Zealand. I started in the wine industry in Bordeaux in the mid-eighties before heading back to the UK to work with a wine wholesaler. Ten years later I was responsible for sourcing and buying 750,000 cases of wine from around the world for one of the country's big brewers. I have been in NZ since 1995 and absolutely love it (the only other place I'd want to live is France...)
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4 Responses to Give in order to receive

  1. Well done Belinda! As with most wine producers I’m sure, we get 2 or 3 requests for donations every week, and irrespective of the merits of the case, we just cannot give to them all. We’re fresh out of free wine!
    Your blog should be required reading for anyone looking for donations/sponsorship from a wine producer. I’ll refer all requests to the blog.

    Thanks heaps

  2. Destiny says:

    I give out of faith to many causes, and I’d like to add that the normal range of gifting from my company is in the $200 range and I give as often as I can. I completely understand the frustration that may follow being asked time and time again to give, but to me, the the return is always amazing, but I give to feed my soul and there is the difference. Continue to give freely, it’s not just financial rewards you will be reaping. Should you be choosey? Ofcoarse, but trust me, giving feeds the soul, giving often multiplies that gift. I wish you the best of luck with your continued giving. I know from experience, what it’s like to be asked for a lot, but the gift(s) you’re given in return abound. By the way, I’ve enjoyed your restaurant and winery many times while in New Zealand, and love love love what you do! Hugs, Desi

    • Thanks, Destiny – it’s great you are able to give so much. And yes, giving can bring much joy, but much of what I am writing about is a financial cost to a business that really has to give serious thought to how every dollar is spent. They are unlikely to immediate financial payback but branding and PR can be equally as valuable. With the global consumer ‘belt-tightening’, high value of the NZ dollar and more and more grief about the sale of alcohol, the wine industry is going through a challenging time. And even if it wasn’t, each of these ‘opportunities’ needs to be evaluated from a business/brand perspective.

      Again, thanks for contributing (incidentally, I don’t have a restaurant and winery myself, but hopefully you were referring to the many that surround me here in Marlborough and in New Zealand!)


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