The document listed below exemplifies the types of applications we did both for sponsor solicitation and for various grants for court construction in Bend. These proposals were difficult to do; time consuming and ultimately each of them had to be tailored a bit to fit the requirements of the particular Sponsor or Grantor organization (of course).
The sponsorship piece went quite well. The example shown below shows that we had a very simple proposal on the front end of this particular request, which was made to Big Country RV in Bend, Oregon. This proposal, some details omitted intentionally, was the cover to the by-then almost-stock grant application that we had been making, that basically described the project.
The suppositions we made in that cover proposal proved to be accurate and the relationship mutually beneficial, and Big Country RV has now renewed their sponsorship of our large August tournament, which is now named the Big Country RV Open and is also the Northwest Regional USAPA tournament. We love working with Big Country and try to support them as best we can, and in fact if you get to Bend and either are in the market for a new RV or just need RV service, it’s hard to do better. (We’ve bought two RVs from them ourselves, btw!).
Other sponsorships also went well, with contributions generating about 25% of our funding goals in total, although Big Country RV was our main sponsor and also gained naming rights for our tournament where (OK, obviously!) other sponsors did not.
Grants are another story. Generally the problem with grants isn’t so much the application for them, as it is the low probability of success. Reality is that grants today are usually available to service+ critical needs, for things like health, safety, and shelter. So unless you can make a persuasive argument (and better than we did) that pickleball truly saves senior lives, increases general health and well-being among all generations, gets couch potatoes out and moving, gets kids out from behind computer screens or the like, you may be summarily rejected. (We say “may” because there’s always that one “yes” out there somewhere….take for example the site on this subject contributed by Marian Pasala)
So then the issue becomes one of stubbornness. We don’t like to be turned down, nobody does, but it became a matter of numbers. Eventually, we felt, if we kept producing well-documented and -presented grant applications through appropriate vehicles/people/referrals we would score. And we were right. Eventually we received $1,500 in a single grant, which we very much appreciate as validation of our effort.
We spent (net loss to the club) about the same amount employing the services of a very good grant writer who helped us at a very reasonable rate to get all these applications out there. So, net to project construction fund = $1,500, net loss to club = $1,500….hmmm. If we had simply written another check for that same amount to the fund we would have been better off as all the time we spent would have then been re-deployed somewhere else perhaps more fruitful….e.g. Sponsorship proposals, right?
We did it, and we’re glad, ‘cuz we had the experience and can share it with you. Enjoy, if that’s the right word.
Summary of Project