This post is the third in a series designed to teach the art of nailing the perfect pitch. “What if you have just 2 minutes with a prospective donor. Are you prepared to #NailYourPitch?” Read additional articles: Nail Your Pitch.
After a brief elevator pitch, we don’t always have the time to hold a conversation with potential sponsors about how they can get involved.
And when face-to-face interaction is limited at best, sometimes the best thing you can do for an interested party is to hand over a sponsor packet that they can review on their own time. Packets are perfect to hand over to gatekeepers who vet what big donors see or don’t see.
This sponsor packet should explain the big picture of your nonprofit’s work and tell potential sponsors how they can get involved and support the mission, and outline action in a way that expresses urgency.
Expect to update your sponsor packet regularly with new initiatives, programs, and results from previous initiatives. Your packet should always be up-to-date and accurate!
What It Should Contain
So what do you put in your sponsor packet?
Provide just enough to get a potential donor or sponsor interested, but not overwhelm them. Show your reader how to get involved right now, and focus on what support options and sponsor levels are available. Express the need, and offer the solution. Clearly indicate how to get in touch with you, how to make a donation, or how to become a sponsor.
Your packet should be well-designed and professional, and edited for clarity, spelling, and readability. The sponsor packet will sometimes be a potential supporter’s first impression of your nonprofit, and you want it to be as positive and impressive as possible.
Your Mission and Goals
Tell the reader right away (on your first or second page, including title page) what your nonprofit does, who benefits from the work, and how it gets done. It also helps to frame your packet around a major moment or project, to provide focus and drive engagement.
Sometimes simply copy-and-pasting your mission statement works, but you may want to include more about tangible efforts and goals. Potential donors are more likely to get involved in your work if they know exactly where the donation would go, and see that you have produced measurable results in the past to prove you can achieve what you set out to do.
Rather than throwing lots of information at your reader, try to condense down the important stuff to a couple of readable bullet points. “We build community gardens. We teach nutrition and cooking. We bring people together.”
Don’t forget to visually communicate the effectiveness of your organization. Show volunteers at work, impressive completed projects, and happy people or animals who have been served by your programs.
A Personalized Approach
Many nonprofits include a note or letter from their leadership in the sponsorship packet, particularly if there is a notable founder or board member involved. This is a wonderful opportunity for your nonprofit’s passion for the cause to come through!
Have your Executive Director pen a thoughtful, meaningful letter addressed to potential donors that shows earnestness, class, and gratitude for the generosity that keeps your important work going every day. Everyone wants to feel appreciated, and a personal note previews what a potential donor can expect from you: a unique and meaningful partnership, focused on issues that the sponsor cares about.
Hard Numbers, Stats and Graphs
This is the part where you prove that your nonprofit knows how to accomplish its goals. Sponsors are more judicious with their money now than ever, and need to feel secure that you can deliver on your promises. Think of this section as establishing your trustworthiness.
Don’t just hurl numbers or fancy charts onto the page! Clearly outline the title and purpose of each project, what audience was served by it, and the results of the work.
“We have raised graduation rates at local high schools from 25% to over 75%.”
“We have built four water treatment facilities for communities in need, and continue to maintain them today.”
Ideally, you’ll contrast the “before” and the “after” to really highlight the impact your nonprofit has had in your particular space. (Images are always suggested!) Show the barren field that existed where your green outdoor classroom now lives, and demonstrate how this new green space has improved the community and the environment.
Tie each of your success stories back to critical funding. “This was possible because of donors and sponsors who wanted to make a difference.” Even better? Link specific sponsors to these achievements. Did a big local business contribute all the funds for an important purchase, building, or program? Show how this philanthropy paid off and benefited the whole community.
Sponsorship Levels and How to Get Involved
Don’t shy away from asking for money! Your nonprofit can only continue the important work shown in your packet with the help of generous donors.
List each sponsor type what benefits it accords. Where is this particular sponsor’s logo shown? Where do they receive recognition? Are they allotted a booth at a specific event? Tell potential sponsors what they’ll get in return at each level.
While many nonprofits fall back on the standard “Gold, Silver, Bronze” titles for their sponsors, this is a good opportunity to show off your nonprofit’s personality. Unique but relevant sponsor titles can communicate a lot about how money is used—try linking sponsorship levels directly to tangible action. E.g. the “Greenhouse Sponsor” directly covers the cost of purchasing and installing a single greenhouse.
Seal the Deal
And last—but certainly not least—tell the sponsor how to get involved!
Provide contact information for your fundraising director, so interested sponsors can call or email to start a personal conversation. Some packets even include a mailing address or SASE to make taking action as easy as possible!