Special events can be effective fundraising tools for charities. Planning such an event begins with clarifying your vision. Will you hold an auction, gala or benefit concert? You have many options. You will most likely need sponsorship to stage the event. You must write an effective proposal letter to potential sponsors and send it to them along with a full proposal package. Once event sponsorship is in place, invite guests who are in a position to donate to your organisation once or for years to come.
Make a list of all potential sponsors. Research their history of giving so you can judge what to ask of them. The list should include corporations, foundations and individuals who may be interested in your event and your organisation's work. List their contact information, including the name of a person you will approach in each instance.
Write a short description of your organisation, including its goals and history. Write another short description of the event you wish to hold. Keep these to one or two paragraphs each. You will include more detailed information about both in the package you send, but for the letter, keep it brief.
Write a paragraph or two about the exposure the sponsors would receive if they sponsor your event. Most potential sponsors will want to know their participation will be visible. Focus on how many people are expected to attend and what publicity you will do for the event. Mention how much room for advertising will be available to sponsors at the event and in the lead-up to the event. Ballpark for them how many opportunities exist for their names to be seen. Show how their sponsorship will be an investment.
Write a paragraph about how the sponsorship will help mount the event. Explain briefly the levels of sponsorship you are structuring, such as over or under a certain dollar amount. Describe what the money will help with: space rental, catering, entertainment and other needs. Sponsors want to know exactly where their money will go. If other sponsors have already signed on, mention that.
Compile the paragraphs about the organisation, event, sponsorship benefits and what kind of help you are requesting. This is your proposal letter. Send it to the potential sponsors along with the proposal package. Include in the proposal package full and complete descriptions of your organisation, the event and how it will help the organisation, and the sponsorship levels you are requesting. Add reports about similar events you have held or, if it is a repeat affair, tout its success the other times.
Make sure your letter includes your complete contact information. It should state the date and time of the affair and its location. Also include where to send checks or in-kind donations.
Do not send the letter or package as a group mailer. Address each letter individually to a person and sign each letter by hand. Include a line about something of interest to each specific potential sponsor in the letter addressed to him.