When you need to raise funds for a sports team, sending a carefully crafted letter asking for sponsor donations makes your request seem important and legitimate. It's cost effective and less time consuming to send letters to businesses instead of making hundreds of phone calls, and a letter is something they can hold in their hands and read several times. To give you ideas, it helps to see a sample donation request letter for youth sports teams that is written step by step.
The first thing to remember is to keep your letter short. If you're writing a letter asking for donations from businesses, remember that business owners are busy and often distracted while they're reading their mail. Just looking at a long page of text could make them set it aside. To keep it short, get right to the point by stating who you are, how you're connected to each other (if you are) and why you're fundraising. A sample sponsorship request letter should start like this example:
"My name is Rob Smith, and my two sons play baseball with the Southeastern Youth Association. We're gearing up for the spring league and are raising funds to give all 600+ children in the league a safe place to play ball and the equipment they need to play safely while having fun."
Tell your readers how the league will use the funds, such as:
"All of our fields need to be repaired due to recent storms and then marked so the baselines are clearly visible, bases can be placed properly and pitchers know where to stand. Many of our bases, bats and helmets that have served us well for years are now too worn to use and need to be replaced."
There's a phrase salespeople learn called "ask for the order." It seems obvious, but it's common – whether in person or in a letter or phone call – to hem and haw and stall because you don't want to be let down by a "no." However, people don't usually jump up and say, "I want to buy that!" or "Stop right there and let me write you a check for a donation." They expect you to ask for it and to be specific in the donation for which you're asking, such as:
"We have three levels of suggested donations for our business sponsors:
- Gold $500: A full page listing in the program and your own gold sponsor banner displayed on the fence at every game at all fields.
- Silver $250: A 1/2-page listing in the program and your company's logo on our sponsor banner that is on the fence at every game at all fields.
- Bronze $100: A 1/4-page listing as a sponsor in our program.
In addition, all sponsors are given two tickets to attend our awards banquet at the end of the season as honored guests."
Have you ever wondered why some TV and radio ads scream "CALL NOW!" with the phone number multiple times throughout their ads? It's because advertisers know people don't hear the information they need the first time it's given and often not the second time either. Of course, those annoying ads go overboard with repetition, but it's a good marketing tactic to ask for the donation two or even three times in your letter.
End your letter by asking for a donation again. For example:
"I know you're busy, so I've enclosed a stamped, already-addressed envelope to make it easy to send us your donation. We appreciate any donation, but the bronze, silver and gold sponsor levels are designed to give your business great visibility while you're helping area children reap the benefits of playing a team sport."
A P.S. is a valuable spot in any letter because it stands apart from the letter and demands attention. It's a terrific place to ask for a donation one more time. It's also a good place to sweeten the deal with one more important detail and encourage prompt action. For example:
"P.S. Spots in the program will be assigned in the order we receive donations, so be one of the first sponsors to sign up and choose where you want your ad in the program."