How to graciously decline a sponsorship request

The community-minded companies Made Possible By serves have a common experience, each receives numerous sponsorship requests. No matter the size of your company there are always more opportunities to invest in your community than the resources available.

Often, you have to say, “No, thank you for the opportunity.”

Most don’t enjoy turning down a request however, with clear sponsorship guidelines and a plan it doesn’t have to be an awkward process.

Here’s how to review and decline a sponsorship request.

Does the request and requestor fit your sponsorship guidelines? Start with clear sponsorship guidelines. With these in mind you are able to evaluate each request efficiently and objectively.

Does the request fit within your budget? Determine a sponsorship budget and stick to it. The budget may be an annual amount or a quarterly amount you predetermine.

Also, It is appropriate to list a “maximum amount” for each sponsorship on your guidelines. Requestors, like any good fundraiser or event coordinator, will start “high” and graciously receive what you are able to offer. It is fair for you to offer what you are able, not what is requested.

Budget and plan for your recurring sponsorships and beneficiaries. You invest in events and organizations annually. Plan for those first.

Is the request redundant? You sponsor the organizations and events you value. As a result, similar organizations will approach you. In this case, just let the requestor know that you value their work, so much so, that you currently invest in similar organizations doing similar work and, at this time, you must allocate our sponsorship dollars to the organizations you're presently committed to.

Offer an alternate amount or an in-kind contribution. You do what you do really well. In some cases you may be able to offer services or goods instead of financial support. 

You may defer the request. If you truly value the organization and opportunity but can’t sponsor them consider deferring and ask them to request the next quarter or year for future evaluation.

Saying, “No, thank you" may not be easy. However, saying no to the many, good requests allows you to invest in the best ones--those that bring the most satisfaction and value to your company and your community.