Every youth sports league needs to raise extra money. Seeking donations and sponsorships from local businesses is a great idea – but can feel tricky or awkward at first. It’s no surprise that many volunteers struggle with writing an effective donation letter.
Many companies are willing to sponsor or make donations to worthy causes, especially to youth sports organizations. But they receive a lot of requests and you need to make sure your message gets through to busy business owners.
How can you make your youth sports donation letter stand out? Here’s a template and five tips to write a donation letter that gets attention and helps you win more sponsorships next season.
A sponsorship letter template you can use for next season
Sponsorships from local businesses are an important funding source for youth sports leagues. It can be hard to know how to reach out to potential new donors.
You should always aim for a personal connection and avoid sounding like a formal letter. Explain exactly how you plan to use donated funds and share stories of past success. And offer prospective donors some visibility in thanks for their contribution.
Here’s a sample donation request letter for inspiration.
Download the donation and sponsorship letter template to use in your future seasons. You can copy the template to meet the needs of your organization.
Tips for writing a donation request letter
1. Make it personal
Your donation request shouldn’t read like an impersonal form letter. Instead, do some research and find the name of a decision-maker at the organization. This may be a general manager, business owner, or marketing director. Address your letter to this person, if possible and sign each letter personally.
Another way to build a connection is by using the word “you” throughout the letter. This simple word makes readers feel like they are part of your content. In fact, a Yale University study identified “you” as the most influential word in English.
Also, the sender of your donation letter can make a difference. Is there someone in your league who is well known or well connected in your community? Ask if he or she would be willing to be the “face” of your donation outreach.
2. Include the basics
You can write a compelling fundraising letter, but you won’t secure any funds if you overlook key details.
Make sure every letter clearly states the name of your league or club. Include your website so that potential donors can learn more about what you do. You should also have several members of your board proofread the letter before sending it to local businesses.
And identify at least one contact name – along with contact information. Be sure to list a cell phone number and email for each contact. Encouraging sponsors to reach out to you directly with feedback can help build a relationship and create a successful sports sponsorship.
3. Share results and success stories
When people are making a donation, they want to know their money is going to a good cause. It’s helpful to explain exactly how you expect to use the donation.
Will funds go to scholarships for players needing support? Are you covering equipment costs that might be out of reach for some youth athletes?
If you have historical data on the number of athletes your league has supported, share that too. Explain how long your nonprofit organization has been in operation and why your organization is important in the community. These types of details help people understand how their contribution will make a difference.
Success stories make an impact too. You can highlight league accomplishments – such as the regional, state, or national tournaments you competed in last year. Or highlight different fundraising ideas that raised a lot of money.
Also, you can share the story of a youth who faced barriers to sports participation. Tell how being part of your league made a difference in this young person’s life. This may not be the story of your best athlete. Instead, it can show how your program promotes values like confidence and perseverance.
4. Explain the benefits of donating
Sponsors can make a huge impact on your organization. They should get something in return when they commit money for your season.
Make sure your sponsorship package offers clear benefits to every company that sponsors your organization. You can even offer tiered options tied to the size of the contribution - like Gold, Bronze, and Silver sponsorship levels.
Some of the benefits you can offer include:
- Announcing the name of the donor at fundraising events or games
- Printing the name of the donor on team t-shirts
- Hanging an advertising banner near playing fields or arenas
- Listing the name of the sponsor on your website or social media
Promote your sponsors on your website to make sure parents, coaches, and players know where you get your support!
For many businesses, these benefits are a powerful form of grassroots advertising. People affiliated with your league will associate the business with a worthy cause. That positive sentiment is very valuable to potential sponsors and they'll get more support from families that participate in your league.
5. Make donating easy
Don’t deter businesses from contributing by having a cumbersome donation process! You need to avoid the manual effort of mailing checks and receipts if you want to get more donations.
There are many online resources you can use to streamline fundraising. It’s easier than ever to collect payments online so that businesses or other local organizations can contribute easily.
You should offer the opportunity for sponsors to contribute to your organization directly on your website. You can even give parents the opportunity to donate or sponsor when they register their child.
6. Write a thank you letter
An important aspect of managing donation requests is expressing gratitude to the donor. A compelling thank you letter can strengthen the donor-organization relationship and inspire future donations.
Here are some key aspects to consider:
- Send a thank you letter within 48 hours of receiving the donation. This creates a positive impression and shows your organization's appreciation and professionalism.
- Personalize your thank you letter and address the donor by name. If possible, mention the specific donation amount or type of support they provided.
- Make the donor the hero of your story. This builds a deeper emotional connection and can motivate the donor to continue supporting your cause.
- Ensure your thank you letter is professionally written. Proper spelling, grammar, and letter formatting are essential.
- The thank you letter can serve as a platform for future fundraising efforts. You can include information about upcoming events, ways to stay involved, or the possibility of recurring donations.
Remember, a well-written thank you letter does more than just acknowledge a gift—it nurtures an ongoing relationship with your donor base. Striking a balance between sincerity and professionalism can inspire donors to maintain, or even increase, their support for your cause.
Hit your fundraising goals faster
Even getting just a few new donors can bring huge benefits to your league, whether it’s through financial support or in-kind donations.
You can avoid registration fee increases or cut back on family fundraising. Most importantly, you can bring better sports experiences to young athletes and community members.
Use the free template above to pitch both local and corporate sponsors. Even if a few don’t answer back, don’t give up on your fundraising campaign. Good luck!
Youth sports donation letter FAQ
How to write a letter asking for donations for a sports team?
Start by introducing yourself and your role on the team, then explain why you're seeking donations. It can be for equipment, uniforms, or travel expenses.
Follow this with specifics about what kind of support you need and how it will help the team, making a clear call to action for them to donate. End by thanking them for considering your request and providing information on how they can donate.
Use the fundraising letter template above to speed up the process.
How do you ask for donations for a high school sports team?
For high school fundraising, focus on the educational and character-building aspects of sports participation, like teamwork, discipline, and perseverance. Explain the specific needs of the team (like new uniforms, equipment, or transportation for away games), and articulate how their financial contributions can help.