Sponsor letters are highly encouraged in the pageant world. Competition attire and various accessories, entry fees, spotlight pages, traveling costs and other expenses quickly add up. Therefore, it’s essential to turn to donations to help make ends meet. Some systems have a sponsorship letter template already created, others don’t. So if you’re writing your own, I would suggest using a sponsorship letter template like this:
Address City, State, Zip
Dear (name of the company/person),
Tell them who you are, things about you; what pageant system you’re in, etc. (Make yourself credible. Are you an honor roll student? Have you won any awards? Do you volunteer routinely or participate in any organizations?)
This section is where you request their sponsorship; explain why you need it and how it will benefit you. You can mention entry fees, whether or not the pageant prizes include scholarships, etc. This section should be about a paragraph.
Here you will need to tell your potential sponsor how they will benefit and the plans you have to ensure that they are compensated for donating to you. This can include advertisement on the spotlight page, handing out business cards, and promoting them on social websites.
Write basic details of the sponsorship process and request that they fill out the forms.. (*Remember, donations from a business are tax deductible. For example, the Miss America Organization requires a $100 entry fee that goes towards the Children’s Miracle Network, a 501(c)(3) organization.) Make this more of the ‘call to action’ section. Use this part to direct them on how to become a sponsor
Thank the company for their time and sponsorship. Best wishes, Your name/signature Position in the Organization/title you hold (If you don’t have a title or position, then only have a signature.)
Something to remember when writing out your letter:
- Tone. Be polite and cordial when writing your letter. ‘Would’ and ‘if’ are key words, here. For example, “I would deeply appreciate it if you filled out the sponsorship form and returned it to me by next week.” Extra pleases never hurt, either.
- Usually, if you’re writing letters to family members and friends, you can be more informal, but when writing to a company, be formal. A corporate business is professional, which exactly what they expect from a beneficiary—professionalism. (In addition, "if u typ lk dis, thn dnt Xpct mch frm a biz spnsr.” Always avoid ‘text talk.’) This leads me to my next point…
- Pay attention to grammar. Grammatical errors damage credibility. Check and double check. Common mistakes include the misuse of ‘you’re/your’ or ‘there/they’re/their.’ As well as, ‘it’s/its’ and ‘then/than.’ Do not rely solely on spell-check. A sponsor letter directly represents you. Always check your grammar. I cannot stress this enough.
- Strong adjectives are a must. Which sounds better?
“I am twenty-one year old woman who likes to dance.” OR “I am a bright, twenty-one year old woman, passionate about dance.”
All I did was add about two words, but it makes all the difference. Ham it up; this is your chance to give them a glimpse of your goals and express your personality!
- Pick a solid target. Try to have a full name or specific person to address versus just a corporate name. The more personal you can sound to a business, the better.
- Know your audience. Like I mentioned earlier, if you’re writing to a family member, you don’t have to be as formal; however, it still needs to have a polite tone and level of professionalism. More personal letters are better off hand written. But, if you’re like me and have chicken scratch for handwriting, typing isn’t so bad. Hand written letters demonstrate you spent extra time, instead of copying and pasting a name. If you do type it, always write the signature by hand.
- Be specific when making a donation request, if possible. Each business is different. A hair salon may be more willing to donate a product, whereas a tax and financial company may want to make a monetary donation.
- Attach a sponsorship submission form and a sponsor receipt. (These help you keep track of each sponsor and allows the business to record any donations made.) A return form should include the business’ name, address, how much/what they intend to donate. A sponsor receipt should include your information and how much they donated, along with the pageant system. Don’t forget to ask for a few business cards to hand out at the pageant! It is a good way to guarantee the business advertisement.
- Give the sponsors options. Whether it is for a specific product or a different level of a monetary donation, let the sponsor have a choice. (I would highly suggest increments of $25, along with an ‘other’ option.) You don’t want to have a sponsor feel obligated to donate a specific amount, plus, if you have multiple options you may be surprised by them donating more.
- If you typed your letter, add a small head-shot in the top right corner. It will help put a face to a name if you haven’t met the sponsor. Furthermore, it’ll increase credibility, especially if you are already crowned and headed to nationals.
Put time into creating a sponsorship letter. After all, you want them to support you as a competitor. A quickly thrown together letter may come off as sloppy, and that’s not the imagine you want portrayed. (Also, if typing, keep the font legible and professional. Times New Roman is professional, Matisse ITC? Not so much...). When in doubt, keep it simple and concise. You don’t have to write a book. Try to keep the letter to one page, not including the submission and receipt form. Stay positive and good luck!