Every youth sports league needs to raise extra money. Seeking donations and sponsorships from local businesses is a great idea – but can seem 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? Follow these five tips to write a donation letter that gets attention and helps you win more sponsorships next season.
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.
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 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 competing in regional, state, or national tournaments.
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.
Sponsors can make a huge impact on your organization. They should get something in return when they commit money for your season.
Make sure you offer 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 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
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 local businesses and they'll get more support from families that participate in your league.
Promote your sponsors on your website to make sure parents, coaches, and players know where you get your support!
You can write a compelling donation 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 details. Be sure to list a cell phone number and email for each contact. Encourage sponsors to reach out to you directly with questions.
Don’t deter businesses from contributing by having a cumbersome donation process! You need 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.
Curious about other fundraising tools for youth sports? Read more here - Fundraising Tools for Youth Sports Organizations.
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 – avoid sounding like a form 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.
It’s vital to include the basics – like links to your website and contact details. And move your donation process online to make it easy on contributors.
Download the donation and sponsorship letter template to use in your future seasons. You can adjust the template to meet the needs of your organization.
Even getting just a few new donors can bring huge benefits to your league. You may be able to avoid registration fee increases or cut back on family fundraising. Most importantly, you’ll be able to bring better sports experiences to young athletes. Good luck!