Putting a yearbook together takes both time and money. Therefore, many staffs look to business advertising, fundraisers and sponsors to help with the financing. Sponsors can be an integral part of the funding for a yearbook, but not every school has a good plan in place for reaching out to potential sponsors. Writing a solicitation letter for yearbook ads is one option to get in touch with potential sponsors, especially local business owners.
Writing a Yearbook Advertising Letter
Before writing, meet as a staff and assess the yearbook's financial requirements. Consider additional costs beyond just the cost of the books such as yearbook camp, signing day events or staff T-shirts. Once your list and budget are in order, search the Internet for local businesses to sponsor your yearbook. You can also send mailers out to parents, especially those with graduating seniors. Just remember to try and keep the sponsorship letters friendly and personal. If you need help, consider looking up yearbook sponsorship letter samples online to see what other schools have done.
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.
An example of this would be to start with, "Hello Mr. Rugen, my name is Francis Montoya. I am a faculty advisor writing on behalf of the yearbook staff at Inigo High School. As you may be aware, Inigo's yearbook The Tribune has won awards from the American Scholastic Press Association in three of the past ten years." More information about the school, its academic traditions or even students on the staff who are well known in the community could follow this.
Show Clear Intentions
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.
Building on our previous example, the pitch for your letter might look like this: "As you are likely aware, The Tribune relies on sponsorships from businesses like yours to help make it a success. Donations are tax deductible and all funds go toward offsetting the production costs of the books. While our business sponsors are free to donate any amount, we have specific ad pricing tiers set at $25, $50, $100 and $250. Please consult the insert that came with this letter for the ad sizes and other benefits associated with each tier."
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.
Here is an example of how we might close out our example letter: "If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at (222) 555-1039 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If we do not hear back from you then we may send a follow-up in two weeks to make sure that you've gotten our message; don't worry, we won't send any more correspondence if we don't hear from you then. Thank you for your time and consideration, and thank you for all that you and your business do for our community at large." This would be followed by a name and signature (or multiple signatures.)
Alyssa Sellors has been in the field of education for five years, teaching English and journalism at the high school level. In addition to teaching, she has also advised the school newspaper and currently advises the yearbook. As a yearbook adviser, she speaks at national conventions hosted by Journalism Educator’s Association and the National Scholastic Press Association.