Ordered List

Monday, 23 November 2009

At it’s core, the goal of any corporate funding is Return on Investment i.e. what your project is going to do for them or their brand. Large corporations want mass recognition and kudos through their association with social projects, and clear indicators of social impact that can go into their stakeholder reporting.
So the first thing you need to remember is that corporate funders really only care about 3 things that underpin this
  • Scale (how big in terms of geography and replicability)
  • Reach (who are the audiences that will know about or benefit from the project)
  • Impact (what will it achieve for all the different stakeholders)
FOCUS!! on these 3 things in your proposal, rather than infinite details about the content, structure and cost of the project and it’s planning/delivery mechanisms. Corporates need enough detail to assess your approach and likelihood of success, but this does not cover their goals.
Finally if it is possible to demonstrate that you can use their money to create sustainable revenue streams that mean you won’t need to go back again year after year, you’re probably onto a winner!

Suggested Proposal Structure

  1. Executive Summary
    • Introduce the structure of the document
    • Outline the project that needs funding
    • Summarise what you’re looking for
  2. Context
    (This is critical for sharing the big picture)
    • Introduce your organisation
    • Outline the problem
    • Outline your vision and what you believe can be done
  3. Project
    (Here’s where you cover details)
    • Repeat overview of the project / solution (more info than in the Exec Summary)
    • Describe the mission and goals
    • Discuss the mechanisms (strategies/tactics) it will use to achieve those goals
      • If there is a creative aspect cover it here.
      • If the funding will enable future self-financing, describe how
    • Describe the reach
      • Target audiences: groups you will impact; groups you will mobilise; and groups you will engage. Outline what this means in numbers
      • Geographies – Local, National and Global Networks you will mobilise; Locations of online audiences you will target e.g. US, UK; and the Offline locations for mobilising action and support.
    • Describe the mechanisms of engaging audiences across different channels
      • Offline
      • Online
    • Delivery Planning
      • Timelines and Milestones
      • Resources and Materials
      • Costs
    • Impact (This is IMPORTANT!)
      • Specify and reiterate what your project will aim to achieve for all it’s different audiences
      • Outline the metrics you will to use to monitor and report on the change you are creating
  4. Funding/Sponsorship Proposal
    (Here’s where you sell)
    • Outline the type/nature of Funding/Sponsorship e.g.
      • Number of funders
      • Focus area
      • Timeframe of association 
    • Describe opportunities for Funder/Sponsor involvement e.g.
      • Signage (name/logo) on project material
      • Personal appearances for key staff
      • Events, Speeches, Talks
      • Opportunities to showcase product and brand 
      • Engagement with project audiences
      • Engagement with web traffic
      • Potential opportunities to influence positioning and geographical location of advertising
    • Value of association with your organisation/project e.g. 
      • Reiterate scale and nature of exposure
      • Exclusive/Non-exclusive rights to use project branding (subject to appropriateness with project mission)
      • Networking and recognition opportunities with key partners including Local or National Government, and/or other Corporates.
      • Other services you can offer them
      • Long-term value
    • Reason why you want this particular Funder/Sponsor
      (Do your research and show you understand their needs and why you believe they fit)
    • Financials
      • Total you need to raise or want from them
      • High level reiteration of what the money will be used for and the impact it will have
      • Financial ROI for the Sponsor (try and guesstimate if possible, but don’t worry if too complicated) e.g. reduced costs of engaging audiences, brand value, new markets, product sale
      • Decision deadline if you need the money by a specific date, plus the reason why

Download Funding Proposal Template


For reference, here’s a real world brainstorm of a sponsorship pitch for a large corporation that should give you a quick overview of what you need.

Sponsorship Proposal Outline
Reactions: