Tips for a Great Proposal

Tips for a Great Proposal
by Beverly Terrill

When looking for information on obtaining sponsorship, you will find 10 people with 10 different methods. For instance, some writers say to send a proposal to everyone you may want to contact. Others say only send the proposal once you have a commitment. There are those who have 50 page proposal books and those who have only 10 pages. Here are some guidelines for helping you create your proposal:

1) Is bigger always better? Well here are some things to consider. If your team is young and you've only run a couple seasons, you would have to add a lot of fluff to get 20 pages. But keep in mind, those successful business' you target, will be very busy. A short, to the point proposal will be just what they are looking for. Phil Veldheer author of the "Sponsorship Coach", uses a notebook with information from years past, articles that have been written about him, etc. But he most often presents it in person and rather than have the prospect flip through, he takes them through it and makes sure he points out those pages that will be most important to the prospect. Unless you have a tried and true method such as Phil's, I would say go with a small number of pages for your proposal.

2) Fancy vs Practical. I'm sure you have already guessed, fancy loses. Here's why; If you print a 10 page full color proposal with fonts of all shapes and sizes with pictures galore, you have not only doubled the cost of this proposal but you may leave the reader with a headache. In Milt Gedo's book "How to Write a Winning Proposal", he suggests some specific placement of the color pages and also which pages are used with every proposal and which should change with each prospect. You do want to impress your prospect when you present your proposal but that won't happen if your proposal is too busy with pictures and unreadable fonts. It's always a good idea to have color pictures and logos but everything that is to be read should be simple and practical.

3) Send it, leave it or present it? Here is where you will have differing opinions from everyone. I refer to Milt Gedo on this because he makes a lot of sense on this issue. Milt's advice is to present your proposal after you have met with the prospect. He says that you can't even create a proposal until you have some idea of what the prospect is interested in. In his words, you want the decision maker looking over your proposal and saying I like this and that. As opposed to him looking at it and saying these are the things I don't like or that don't apply to my business. If you create a generic proposal and send it to everyone that may be interested, it cannot serve every one of those prospects. So you may send it, leave it or present it, but only after you have input from your prospect.

Just a few other reminders. Keep records of all your correspondence with potential sponsors. Create proposals with the prospect's input and interests in mind. Make sure the proposal is presentable. Don't bring it loose leaf or stapled. Have it bound and clean with no coffee stains. There are as many proposals as there are sponsors, just make sure yours fits the bill each time you meet with your potential sponsor.