Concentrate efforts on hockey or sports-related businesses that might be more likely to offer sponsorship. ((Kevin Light/CBC Sports))

Most teams and leagues write a draft letter for potential sponsors. Make sure it introduces your league or team to the prospective sponsor, and outlines the benefits the organization will have in return.

For example, teams often place sponsor logos on the backs of their jerseys. And some leagues put businesses in tournament programs or on league websites for advertising revenue.

The company you're approaching might receive a number of other sponsorship requests, so organizers should specify in the letter why a particular business is a good match for the team or league.

If you can, concentrate your efforts on hockey- or sports-related businesses that might be more likely to offer sponsorship.

Also, you can sign these sponsors for the season or for longer periods of time, like two or three years.

For example, the Woolwich Minor Hockey Association in Elmira, Ont., signs sponsors for three years. The businesses pay $2,500 for the term and their names are put on the jerseys of a team they select.

And after three years, the sponsorship co-ordinator contacts the company by phone to renew their sponsorship commitment.

Sponsorship guidelines

Also, you might want to consider placing limits or guidelines on how businesses can be approached, because if you're in a smaller community you probably don't want to approach the same ones too often.

For example, the Portage Minor Hockey Association (PMHA) in Portage la Prairie, Man. has strict rules on how teams can approach potential sponsors.

Businesses that sponsor the league have advertising space in a program that the league prints and distributes at tournaments each year. If they're already a sponsor, then they are put in the program and on the league's website and can't be approached again.

PMHA organizers must make sure that businesses aren't in the program or on the league website before approaching them about sponsorship.