I've received a lot of sponsorship requests through the years, many from young aspiring racers who want support, but lack understanding that it needs to be a mutually beneficial relationship. Let me give you an example of one that came in this week...
Hey there I am (name redacted) from North Carolina currently I am a xc and gravel racer and I saw your company and I was wandering if you could sponser me with some demo or prototypes and I can test them and promote and tell many riders and fans at my races. Thanks and have a wanderful day!
Though well intentioned, I hope you can begin to see the plethora of issues with the request.
Let me share with you my reply to this inquiry as it begins to offer a look from my side of the potential relationship.
Thanks for reaching out, I appreciate that you want to help represent my work.
I've sponsored a race team and individual racers for over 20 years, and have participated in race promotions for 10. This fall marks my final season participating in both endeavors, as I am scaling back to spend more focused time in the shop.
I receive multiple requests each month for sponsorship. Please let me share a bit of my experience with you so that you may have a greater probability of finding success.
Use appropriate grammar, punctuation, and spelling. When asking a company for sponsorship, you are effectively representing their products and company as a whole with the public. Affirming that you are well spoken, intelligent, and provide a positive image is important. This all begins with your sponsorship request. If you don't take the time to ensure accuracy in written word, you are not someone a company would feel confident about in the field.
Show that you know a company's products and why you are excited to represent them. No one likes quickly penned form letters; giving some indication that you know the companies product range, expected market, and how you fit into that marketing plan will give you greater odds of gaining support. Express what products the company makes that you feel would be of benefit for you to share experience and information with others. Why are you excited about those products? What tangible impact can you make on company exposure and sales?
Why you? Thousands of racers hit the starting line each week, what makes you exceptional? Provide race results and give some demographics showing the area you frequent in your travels. While exposure to the podium is important, it is not the defining criteria for support. Companies want racers who represent their vision and are willing to be an advocate. Is this something you are capable of? If so, tell them why.
Finally, begin a relationship with your prospective sponsors. Show that you are not just shotgunning out requests hoping for getting lucky. Purchase one of their products, write a review, send pictures of the product in use...companies will more likely support a young racer who support them and have a measure of positive influence on others.
Good luck in your search for sponsorship, I know that if you heed some of this advice, you will find success.
It's rare to get something for nothing. It becomes more probable when you can demonstrate a willingness and ability to positively work for the support. Mentor, educate, share...perhaps we'll all get more out of future requests.