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sponsorships & partnerships


Before contacting potential sponsors decide on the specific things you want from them and what exactly you will offer in return. On your initial contact, make sure you speak to somebody in the company who is high enough in the ranks to make sponsorship decisions. Speak confidently about your project, be honest and display your willingness to renegotiate the terms of your proposal so a mutually beneficial arrangement might be reached. You can always change your mind if you are unhappy with the final deal, but make sure you call it off before the arrangement has been entered into.

Most sponsors are going to want some sort of written proposal- it is best if it comes as a follow-up to a quick phone call conversation and it is addressed to the same person. It's very effective if you have the document ready to email them as soon as you hang up the phone, so make sure you get their email address too. It should be concise, well presented and not more than a couple of pages long. It should be similar to your project plan but only cover those aspects relevant to your sponsors.

Things you might include in a sponsorship proposal:

  • an overview of the project (framed and worded in a way that highlights the elements of your project that will be of specific interest to your sponsor).
  • who the target audience is why the target audience is relevant to their product or organisation how you will publicise the project.
  • the promotional material and advertising strategies that will accompany the project.
  • exactly what you want from the sponsor with estimated values quoted (emphasis this is subject to negotiation").
  • exactly what they will receive from the arrangement with estimated values quoted (also "subject to negotiation").

Some Important points to consider when developing sponsorship proposals are:

  • In-kind sponsorship: it is more likely that business can support you with in-kind sponsorship as opposed to cash funding. In-kind sponsorship is the provision of free services or product in exchange for sponsorship benefits. Consider what your needs are and then create a list of businesses that provide these services (ie printing, design, lighting hire, advertising space etc)
  • As sponsorship proposals require time and energy to create and negotiate with sponsors, you may like to consider requesting support for an entire year rather than one off events. For this have a clear estimate of what your activities and needs are likely to be or provide the sponsor with a summary of previous year breakdowns.
  • Never send in a generic sponsorship package; instead tailor it to each sponsor.
  • Try to avoid sending a sponsorship package cold (ie without talking to someone at the business first). Find out who the right person is to handle/negotiate sponsorship and call them. Introduce the idea that your group is considering developing a sponsorship proposal and ask if they can help with some advice on their company. Of course this process will be easier if it is a business you already have a relationship with or have a contact in.
  • The following is a guide for questions to ask (and the answers should help shape your proposal immensely).
    • Who are the business's current market?
    • Are there new/different targets they would like to reach?
    • Have they ever been in a sponsorship partnership before?
    • What is their vision/ mission statement (if they have one)?
    • Is it easier for them to contribute in-kind support or cash sponsorship?
    • What do they see as the most beneficial return of being a sponsor? For example to be seen as giving something back to the community OR promotion/advertising?

From H2w2         


Many cultural organisations have tended to think of business sponsorships primarily in terms of cash support. But potentially, a private corporation has the capacity to help organisations meet other business needs as well - especially in relation to their operational requirements, the need to extend corporate networks, marketing and audience development, and employee relations.

For example, companies can help cultural organisations by providing money, in-kind support, networking, and businesses expertise. In return, cultural organisations can provide corporations with marketing and branding opportunities, improved corporate goodwill, and access to cultural activity that develops employees' creativity and keeps their motivation high.

In the Partnership approach, several important principles underpin the relationship between corporation and cultural organisations. These include respect for the partner's objectives and activities, commitment to the relationship being reciprocal and long term, and the provision of benefits across a number of business units.

There are two national organisations that can assist in the establishment of a community business partnership.
For Community Groups
The Prime Minister's Community Business Partnership


For Arts Organisations
The Australia Business Arts Foundation

The Prime Minister's Community Business Partnership

An initiative of the Prime Minister's Community Business Partnership is a new national service providing advice on how to develop and maintain effective partnerships. Our Community ( is a brokerage service for community business partnerships.

Key features of the service include

  • an online matching service
  • email and phone line advisory service
  • toolkits of "How To' and 'Help Sheets'
  • 'Train the Trainer' modules;
  • a project newsletter
  • national and regional conferences/seminars/expos
  • face-to-face support and case management;
  • a database of consultants to assist community business partnerships.

To find out more contact The Prime Minister's Community Business Partnership 1800 359 918

The Australia Business Arts Foundation

AbaF works with business and arts organisations, encouraging partnerships that benefit both sectors and the community.

The Australia Business Arts Foundation's mission is to increase private sector support for the arts.

AbaF facilitates business arts partnerships by providing training, advice and publications. These provide a basis of knowledge for business and arts organisations to start developing partnerships.

What is the AbaF business case approach?

The business case is about the exchange of benefits by organisations. Each partner has resources and skills which it can offer to the other, and in turn has needs which the other can meet. When there is a good fit between organisations, there is a match between the needs of each of the two organisations and what each can offer.

The Business Case approach involves looking at the business needs of both parties, and at the benefits each can deliver the other to help meet their respective business needs. Trading assets to provide benefits that meet a partner's needs is the basis of the methodology

The Business Case approach recognises that both corporations and cultural organisations:

  • are running business enterprises
  • have core commercial needs that must be met for their enterprises to be successful
  • have assets and resources that can be used to deliver benefits to the other partner, where there is a good fit between the needs and assets of the two parties.

From 'Business Arts Partnerships. A Guide to the Business Case Approach for the Cultural Sector'. AbaF 2002

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