How to ask for sponsorship

Knowing how to ask is the first step to getting what you want. This applies in many areas of life, especially when you’re asking for corporate sponsorship.

Photo credit: Jeremy Brooks on Flickr

Photo credit: Jeremy Brooks on Flickr

For a good example of “how to ask,” here’s a story from someone who reviews requests for funding during Youth Week, an international celebration of youth held annually from May 1 to May 7.

Industry specialist Robin Schooley is part of WorkSafeBC’s Young and New Worker Program. She works with a team that reviews and (hopefully) awards funding requested for community events that promote workplace safety during Youth Week. Groups can get $50 to $200 for events and each year the young worker team invites applications from the community.

The extra impressive request for Youth Week funding came from Parkgate Community Services Centre in North Vancouver. They were planning a pre-teen dance and asked for $200 to buy 600 pairs of earplugs and other small prizes (mini-footballs and flashing bike lights) with the WorkSafeBC logo on it.

Overall, the detail on the request was unlike anything Robin has seen in the five years that her team has been looking at people’s requests for Youth Week funding.

It explained the dances are a good way to make contact with pre-teens. Youth workers and other “adult allies” offer the community centre as a safe place for youth. Their dances usually sell out and kids come from all over the North Shore.

They did “decibel checks” every 30 minutes to raise awareness of hearing protection. Throughout the night, they did quizzes on hearing safety and noise pollution, and prizes were awarded. They also laid out WorkSafeBC pamphlets and poster at admission tables.

“Holy smokes!” said Robin, describing her thoughts when she first read the request. “This supervisor is brilliant. He should be writing grant applications. We really did feel it was a valuable idea – that our sponsorship would be valued, that our brand would be well-placed and represented there, and, most importantly, that kids would get early exposure to the idea of hearing protection at work.”

Importance of saying thank you

To top it all off, Parkgate sent WorkSafeBC a thank you – along with details on the evening and receipts for the earplugs and prizes.

“They put so much thought and effort into a relatively small sponsorship request. They made a real effort to recognize the importance of health and safety for young people, and they really understood the link,” Robin said. “I walked away feeling they valued it as much as we did.”

Think about this next time you approach a potential sponsor – and thanks to Robin for telling me about this “best practice” for requesting corporate sponsorship.


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