It's likely you've signed up to a shit-your-pants adventure but have you asked yourself why? You may want to leave the daily plod and have a massive whack of fun or you're driven by fundraising for charity. Remember from the outset, working with sponsors will shape your adventure, they'll be with you every step of the way. You'll need to give them something in return for what they've given you. Unless they're really generous and forgetful.
In the beginning
It's very likely you'll have organisations and companies right on your door step. It might be your local mechanics or salvage yard that can provide spare parts. Camping shops, big or small, may have kit they can give away. This stands for all adventures, motor, horse, space or sweat powered. It works well as you can include them in local press coverage and they might not expect you to provide so much in return.
Family & Friends
One by one hold them all to ransom. Maybe a friend has a new business that needs a boost? Sponsorship can really help the profile of small start-ups and it may avoid lots of bureaucracy that looms in the big gun companies. Networks through family and friends can lead to all types of opportunity. So, attend your gran's bridge club meetings and buy your mate that well earned pint.
We're not going to tell you what the internet is capable of, that bit you'll have to work out for yourself.
- Where are you from? Can you make a connection with a particular sponsor in your region?
- Do you have an interesting reason for doing this adventure? Not some X-Factor cry baby story, but something genuinely interesting...
- Do you have any unusual plans for your adventure that will mean your photos and videos will stand out from the crowd and get more attention than the standard boring travelogues?
- Do you have any skills that you can shout about? Are you good at blogging? Interviewing people? Taking photos?
- What are you doing to promote your adventure before, during and after and how can your sponsors get involved?
What you can ask for
You can ask your team sponsors for pretty much anything. You're much more likely to get it if it's realistic and relevant though.
Here's a few ideas of stuff you can ask for, and remember, cash is hard to give and stuff is easier for sponsors to part with. And of course ultimately you should ignore all the sensible advice and come up with your own original ideas;
- Cash money for your charity
- Travel insurance, flights
- Cash money for your own reasonable adventure costs*
- Any and all stuff that you think you need to take with you - known as 'goods-in-kind'
- Kit to help you take awesome photos and videos of your adventure
- Services. For example a PR company to get you media coverage or a designer to make you a fancy team logo
What you can offer
Here are some ideas about things you can offer your sponsors to get good stuff in return:
- Advertising space on your vehicle, except the space reserved for official stickers
- Brand Logos on your team website, pages within the adventure site and also an external site if you have one
- Posts on your Facebook pages and Team Facebook pages
- Tweets from your personal and team twitter accounts
- Branding and hosting opportunities at your fundraising events
- Regional/National media coverage (Radio, press and TV)
- Blog content
Offer your own ideas and fundraising events to promote sponsors
If you're fundraising (not to be confused with sponsorship, fundraising is collecting charitable funds) why not put together a massive party. Ask a local venue if they'll provide the space. Do something investigating and find a DJ, band, comedian or famous speaker. Your sponsor can host the party. They may be the local brewery, DJ hire company or a bigger organisation that can help cover costs. All these bits of support add up to big savings. If partying isn't your thing maybe you can provide a talk for your sponsor and their staff when you return.
There are many ways to involve sponsors branding before you set off. Why not think of a stunt that promotes your adventure. One of our favourites was Mongol Rally veteran Laura Byng attempting the World Dodgem Record.
Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other social content platforms.
You can post pictures and mention your sponsors using your personal news feeds but if they'd like to use content and promote sponsorship on their facebook brand pages, youtube channels or twitter feeds you must get in contact with us.
Cultivate and deliver
Once you've secured a sponsor you should keep them informed throughout each stage of your adventure and how your plans are shaping up. It sounds obvious but don't just disappear Make sure sponsors see that you value their support. Send them a thank-you letter that recaps the benefits of the proposal. If you keep sharing ideas and plans you may find new ways to improve and increase the sponsorship.
It's important to keep this line of communication up. If they call you, return their call as soon as possible. No matter what level of support they've provided, you have a duty to deliver your promises and keep them informed. A newsletter won't break the bank and will keep them up to date with your progress. This is a new relationship which could be the start of many great adventures so look after them and make sure you fulfill what you promised.
- Remember, you must deliver each part of the agreed proposal
- Make sure you contact them at the end of the adventure and de-brief fully on all your achievements
- Tell them how much money was raised for your charities
- Pull together and showcase any publicity you received
Get every little piece of everything possible that contains their name, logo, reference, product and present it to them.