How to write letters to businesses
If you have a fair, fete or raffle coming up, contacting
commercial companies is a great way to ask for prizes or
sponsorship. Some businesses will be prepared to offer even more.
Here's how your PTA can write effective letters to businesses that
maximise the chance of a positive outcome - download our templates
to make it even easier.
our letters to businesses template here
If you don't have any experience of asking for support then
putting a letter together and keeping track of requests can feel
overwhelming. Get organised: create a spreadsheet or Word document
and list everyone you ask, including when you wrote to them and
what the outcome was. Make the information available to the rest of
your PTA to avoid duplication.
Local or national businesses?
At first glance it seems easier to write letters to national
businesses. They are the ones with the most money and they have
dedicated Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) departments, right?
Not necessarily, since national companies get asked for money every
day and may have guidelines on what they give and to whom. Local
companies might go that extra mile for their community, especially
if they have ties (past or present) to the school.
What to ask for
PTAs often write to businesses to request raffle prizes and
sponsorship but companies might also donate food, provide
volunteers, send guest speakers or sponsor individual school
projects. Make a list of the resources you need and who could
provide them. Do any of the parents or grandparents work in unusual
or successful companies and have useful contacts? Are there any
large corporations based nearby whose business is relevant to what
you're trying to achieve? Decide whether to ask for something
specific or request something broader, such as a raffle prize, and
leave it to them to choose.
What to include in your letter
When writing letters to businesses, address the letter to the
person who will be dealing with your request. A quick call to the
company's offices or some online research should provide the right
information. Using a person's name shows you have put some thought
into your request rather than sending the same letter to every
company in town. Other important things to do are:
- use official headed paper if possible, and include your charity
registration number, if you have one
- add your PTA logo, if available
- include a link to your website if you have any images of past
PTA projects or events you would like to share
- include your email to make it easy for the recipient to contact
- mention if you are planning a follow-up call
Most people want to help good causes, but it is only natural to
hope for something in return. Each person who receives your letter
will wonder 'What's in it for me?' Are you able to offer
advertising in your summer fair programme, publicity at your event
or a mention or logo on your list of raffle prizes? If you can,
then make it clear in your letter. If you use social media, can you
tweet or post on Facebook? Can you offer potential donors and
sponsors free tickets to your event? If they come along, chances
are they will spend more money than the ticket price. If you are
asking for a specific item or a visit, explain why this company is
the perfect donor and describe not only the impact the project will
have on the children but how your suggestion fits in with the
curriculum and what knowledge the children will gain from it.
Read our tips on approaching local
When your event or project is finished, don't forget to thank
everyone who donated. A handwritten note is a nice touch, but an
email is still better than nothing. Keep in touch with your new
business contacts so they can see how their useful donation of
goods, services or time has helped the students.
Putting some thought into writing letters to businesses can
really pay dividends. Asking companies for sponsorship, goods or
resources can help out with PTA funds, bring something unique to
your school and be the start of a great relationship between the
commercial world and your school community.
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