Putting a yearbook together takes both time and money. Therefore, many staffs look to business advertising, fundraisers and sponsors to help with the financial needs of the staff. Sponsors can be an integral part of the funding for a yearbook, but it’s a good idea to first research potential sponsors before contacting them to ask for financial support. Good contacts may be parents of yearbook staff members, the school's faculty and staff members, or community members such as business owners.
Before writing, meet as a staff and assess financial needs. Most staffs meet in late summer, before the school year begins, to make a list of funding needs. For example, consider yearbook camp, signing day events or staff T-shirts. These all cost money, aside from the actual cost of publishing the yearbook. Once your list and budget are in order, drive around or search the Internet for local businesses to sponsor your yearbook and financially support your needs. Staffs can send mailers out to parents of the school and staff, but it is a good idea to keep sponsorship letters more personal.
Salutations and Introductions
Every great letter begins with a polite salutation and introduction of who you are. If targeting a specific business, do your research and address the letter to the manager or owner of that business. Making it as personal as possible is important when requesting financial assistance or sponsorship. After the salutation, it’s time to introduce yourself, the yearbook staff and the school you represent. You don’t want to get to the request yet; just talk about who you are. This may be a good time to mention your role in the community, any awards the yearbook has won or a possible theme of the book.
After introductions, get to the purpose for the letter. Tell them exactly what you need and what you intend to do with the money. You may want to suggest specific amounts for a donation, such as $20, $50, $100 or $200. It is helpful to mention the benefits of their gift, such as tax deductions and aid to the staff and to the community. You can also mention how you intend to honor their donation, such as giving them a small plaque to display or offering space in your yearbook for advertising their business.
Thank You and Follow Up
The last paragraph of your letter should provide your contact information, including the best time to reach you. Include a line or two that also indicates when you plan to contact them if you do not hear back. Depending on your staff, you can choose to contact them via phone, email or in person, but be sure they know when and how so they are not surprised. Finally, thank them for their time and consideration and mention that you appreciate what they do for your community. Sign the letter with your name, followed by the staff and school name just under your signature, though some staffs believe it’s more personal to have the entire group sign the letter.