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!