How to Prepare a Nonprofit Proposal for Corporate Grants or Sponsors

Nonprofit grant proposals addressed to corporations and company-sponsored foundations are generally brief. A two-page letter or e-mail is an excellent approach. Because it needs to be brief and concise, make sure you consider the necessary elements and prepare them carefully.

Here’s what to do in your proposal:

  • Ask for a specific contribution early in the letter. If you’ve had prior contact with the funder, mention it.

  • If applicable, mention the involvement of any company employees on your board or volunteer committees.

  • Describe the need or problem to be addressed.

  • Explain what your organization plans to do if the grant is awarded.

  • Provide information about your nonprofit organization and its strengths and accomplishments.

  • Include appropriate budget data. If the budget is more than half a page long, include it as an attachment.

  • Discuss how the project will be sustained in the future.

  • Describe how your organization can acknowledge the gift publicly and provide visibility to the corporation.

  • Make a strong, compelling closing statement.

Some nonprofits seek sponsorships from corporations to help underwrite special programs, such as marathons, museum exhibitions, or beach clean-ups. Approaching a corporation about a sponsorship resembles proposing a business agreement.

Your organization may, for example, suggest to a local business that if it sponsors your charity’s annual walk-a-thon, its name will be printed on banners and t-shirts that will be seen by 50,000 people.

A sponsorship pitch usually starts with a phone call that is followed by a brief, confirming e-mail. You can attach to that e-mail a list of possible sponsorship benefits and the level of contribution expected for each.

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