Students – how to approach a business sponsor
Approaching a sponsor can feel scary. Here are some tips to take the edge off of that fear!
The chief executive of a business has the power to make a sponsorship decision worth thousands within seconds. That can feel like huge pressure on you to get it right. If you mess up, you might not get another shot.
If you know a potential sponsor, you can cut out the letter-writing and go straight to a meeting with them. If you don’t know the CEO personally, you might need to write a letter.
One of the things you want to spell out in the letter is the benefits of sponsorship to the business itself. Our previous article has a paragraph entitled Why Sponsorship Is Good For Business. You should definitely use some of the suggestions here in your letter.
You will also need to offer the sponsor something in return. This could be a certificate, a termly letter or report, photos for publicity purposes… its really up to you. The sponsor won’t expect much, but they will expect something. Call your college bursar and see what they too can offer the sponsor. They might offer invitations to university events, for instance, and that’s gonna make your sponsor feel really important.
A free sample sponsorship letter from the book Free Degrees is available to download as a .pdf file here.
Once you have sent the letter, you will need to follow up with phonecalls. Business people are very busy and just because they don’t get back to you doesn’t mean they’re not interested. It just means that they have other higher priorities. And let’s face it, when was the last time you leapt out of bed and said, “I really must sponsor someone today!”
The whole point of the phonecall is to arrange a sponsorship meeting. Definitely give yourself some notes to work from before you make the call. You might get put straight through to the CEO and asked the question, “So tell me all about yourself,” so be ready!
If you manage to schedule a meeting – well done! You’re one small step away from persuading this company to sponsor you.
Now you’ll want to know how to meet and close your business sponsor.