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Common Sponsorship Proposal Mistakes to Avoid

by | March 31, 2024

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A sponsorship proposal is your key to getting a sponsor onboard and generating guaranteed revenue. Writing up a well-structured proposal goes beyond listing benefits and prices. It includes researching your potential sponsors, customizing your offers to them, and ensuring it’s not a one-time transaction but a relationship both parties will benefit from. 

I’ve seen a good number of badly prepared sponsorship proposals and have identified ten common mistakes that are easily avoided, given enough experience and time. 

What Is a Sponsorship Proposal?

A sponsorship proposal is essentially an offer you make to a potential company in order for them to pay you for exposure. Explore comes in different forms, from brand promotion and giveaways to giving a speaking slot and exhibiting space. 

It takes knowledge to understand how to craft a proposal that will present your event in a good light and contain benefits lucrative enough to convince a company to fund you. 

Potential missteps may set you back, and you sure don’t want them to happen when a lot of money is at stake. 

While I am about to cover the most common mistakes, I encourage you to check out proper sponsorship proposal examples and learn what proposals clients prefer to see.

Here are the ten pitfalls you need to avoid in your sponsorship proposals to ensure the top-notch quality of your offers. 

Skipping the Research of Potential Sponsors

Utilizing a template proposal for all sponsors can save time by requiring only minor adjustments before a meeting. Viewing proposals as informational documents without investing time and effort may not yield successful outcomes.

If you’re hoping to bring your proposal meetings to fruition, research is imperative. Discover your potential sponsors’ objectives and interests, spend time uncovering the pain points, and know what may damage their reputation. 

Gathering this information will push you in the right direction and craft a sponsorship proposal with valuable offers tailor-made to your potential sponsor. 

Targeting the Wrong Sponsors 

Is the sponsor you’re putting your time and effort into the right one? Approaching a sponsor who is not relevant or aligned with your event’s goals is a time wasted. Even if you do manage to get a sponsor onboard whose needs will differ from yours, you may risk your reputation. 

No matter how quickly or slowly your sponsorship list expands, do not jeopardize your credibility by targeting the wrong sponsors. Identify those sponsors whose goals and objectives match with yours. This way, you will clearly know what value your event can offer to those companies. 

Not Communicating Properly Value Proposition

Every event is special, and each of them should offer a unique opportunity to your sponsors. You need to identify the value proposition that will lure sponsors in and make them purchase the highest sponsorship package. 

Note that brand promotion is already a valuable offer – however, most sponsors want to aim higher and benefit from sales, leads, and engagement. Crafting a compelling proposal that ticks all the boxes is what will convince your potential sponsor to join forces with you.

Unprofessional Attitude 

Lack of professionalism is observed in how you speak, act, and write. Submitting a sponsorship proposal that is full of typos and grammatical mistakes will make sponsors be suspicious of your ability to deliver good results. Coming late to the meeting and ignoring your sponsors is a one-way road to failure with long weeks of recovery.

All of it can be avoided. Take every case seriously, hire an editor to proofread your proposals, and polish your relationships with sponsors in the best way possible. 

Overlooking Ethical and Legal Issues

You can let your imagination roam freely when crafting a sponsorship proposal, but make sure to keep it on a leash when it gets closer to legal and ethical borders. 

Overlooking legal issues that involve contracts, T&C, compliance, etc., may damage your reputation. Partnering with a company that has crossed a line in the event will leave a big stain on your future events. 

Get a legal team and ethical experts to keep in line with regulations and your values. After all, you are responsible for your audience as well as your sponsors’. 

Failing to Nurture a Relationship with Sponsors 

If your mindset is that sponsors come and go, you must rethink your approach. You and your sponsors can be like VfL Wolfsburg and Volkswagen or Rolex and TED, among other countless examples, having decades of successful partnership. 

Reaching a high level of trust and reliance with your sponsors requires maintaining clear and consistent communication with them, providing them with and evaluating feedback, reports, and performance. 

Lacking a Follow-Up Step

Let’s say you’re successfully partnered with a few sponsors for your event, and once it is over, you’re passively waiting for those companies to get in touch with you first. 

Failing to follow up with your sponsors means there will be someone else who will snatch the opportunity. Instead, you only need one email or a phone call to deliver a thank-you message and offer a partnership for the following year. 

Offer One-Fits-All Sponsorship Levels 

Generic templates, a gold-silver-bronze tier system, and the same pricing for all your sponsors will not get you far. Each proposal should be personalized according to your sponsor’s needs, objectives, and goals.

When a client sees that you’ve put time and effort into crafting a proposal, each tier of which offers value, they will see that reaching goals with you is not only feasible but also worth a long-term investment. 

Not Tracking Success of Sponsorship Campaigns 

Tracking a successful campaign means you have material to demonstrate how well your event performs, and you also know how to impress your sponsors. 

Once the event is over, you can present your past sponsors with the metrics you retrieved and prominently feature the milestones. In the same way, you can use successful cases when negotiating with new sponsors. 

This history of achievement will add credibility to your event and convince sponsors of your reliability and professionalism.  

Creating a Less Than Ideal Impression for Your Event

Finally, we get it if you are a humble promoter, but there is no need to suppress your excitement when it comes to your event. A sponsorship proposal is a resume of your event; it tells your sponsors how good it is, what it brings to the table, and how it can be improved in the future. 

At the end of the day, if you’re not painting the best picture of your event, it means it isn’t polished to the point of being worthy of investment. 

It takes a good vision and determination to see the value of your event and experience to state achievable goals clearly to your sponsors.  

Wrapping Up 

Sponsorship proposals are the resumes or business cards of your event. Hence, it only makes sense to craft a compelling proposal that will attract sponsors to your vision and see what impact the event can have on their business. 

Avoiding these mistakes will help you achieve confidence in your work, see the unique and unmatched value proposition, and have the ability to convey this information to your sponsors in the most effective way. 

The Sponsorship Collective is your go-to guide in navigating your strategy and gaining new sponsors. Check out our blog to improve yourself and fund your event successfully.