Sponsorship Letter Writing Tips

I didn’t think I’d be able to get any of my hike sponsored. I’m not a professional athlete or an Internet celeb. I’m half of a twenty something female team who’s going to hike the AT and figured why not ask for some help to do so. Expectations set to: LOW.

To my surprise, my partner and I actually got a lot of sponsors. Companies were so generous and supportive and gave us many wonderful things that will make our hike easier. We are nothing short of grateful!

I’d like to share some of the things I learned to help other hikers ask for sponsorship in a respectful, effective, and mutually beneficial way.

DOING YOUR HOMEWORK

High profile companies like to work with high profile people.

AKA not us.

Smaller companies were more willing to sponsor us or even just email us back. They have their home-grown-made-with-love products and are looking for more avenues to share themselves with the community.

AKA us!

After I had a list of “reach” companies and “hopefully yes” companies I did a lot of research on each. I read all of the “About”, “Our Values”, and of course “Products” pages to figure out what to ask for and what these companies had in common with my partner and I besides an interest in health and adventure.

Were these companies run by friends like us? Women? Were there lactose free products? Vegetarian options? Any thoughts on GMOs?

Great! Now we had something more to talk about!

But freedom isn’t free, right? What could we offer these awesome companies?

Love? YES… Gratitude? YES… Exposure? YES!

I’m a bit of a technophobe. I didn’t have an Instagram or a blog before emailing sponsors. If you already have these fancy millennium things you have one less step to take than I did!

WRITING THE LETTER

Roughly two months before your hike, you’ll be wanting to contact sponsors. Some have this deadline advertised. Generally, it gives them time to hash out the details with you and send their products and love. It also gives you time to figure out what you still need to ask for or purchase as well as time to send thank you cards.

Shakespeare said, “Brevity is the soul of wit” and he’s not wrong. Keep your letter to a single page.

Tell the potential sponsor about yourself.

  • Who are you? What are you hiking? When?
  • And WHY?

Tell them why you love* this company and their product.

  • Include why their products are perfect for an adventure like this one. (Ex. They’re packable)
  • And how these products would support you on the trail. (Ex. They fit your nutritional goals.)

*or are interested in.

Ask for said product.

  • Be specific. Name the product and the amount. Don’t ask for them to support your entire hike. (Ex. Two weeks of granola bars is reasonable.)
  • Show them the math behind why you’re asking for this quantity.

What we’ll do for you!

  • Offer to share evidence of their support via social media, on the trail, and product reviews on their site.
  • Don’t forget to add your social media handles so they can check you out and be able to see you’ve made good on your end of the deal.

SAY THANK YOU!

It’s also worth noting that sponsorship comes in the form of deals and discounts too, not just a box full of things. With a few places we got a discount if we bought X amount of Y or a certain percentage off our purchase. We’re happy to pay for these things, but a discount makes it easier for us and then they’d get a bit more of a benefit from intentional exposure.

I have loved the responses to our letter. People are so happy to help out with supplies and are eager to share their own hiking stories. It feels like we’re making friends and in a way, we are.  A community of love and support already surrounds this adventure and I am so grateful for that.

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