I frequently receive emails asking for advice on fundraising and finding sponsorship for expeditions and I often find myself writing down the same things. To save us both time, here are a few general pieces of advice for pitching an idea to sponsors.
If you read them and would still like some help then please feel free to email me.
- There is no easy solution. At least, not that I know about otherwise I’d have been to the South Pole by now. This advice will not guarantee you make millions but hopefully it will help you start. If you want it badly enough then you will find a way but you’ll need to work for it.
- Summarise your story in a single sentence. Don’t waffle on. Make it clear from the outset what exactly you are trying to achieve with a succinct explanation. If they want to know more they will ask.
- Be personal. Find out a name and address your correspondence to it. Build a rapport. Remember that behind every suit and email address is a real person.
- Explain why you are approaching that company/organisation/individual in particular. What drew you to them, why you want to work specifically with them.
- Keep your pitches simple and honest. Making exaggerated claims is not necessary, despite what documentary voice-overs may lead you to believe. Most people can see through hyperbole and even if they can’t, the rest of us can.
- Don’t worry too much about a fancy presentation. More important than your graphic design skills is your story and how you sell it.
- Explain what’s in it for them. I mean really in it for them. Saying: “Expedition website, television documentary and newspaper coverage” is fairly meaningless on its own. How will you actually benefit them?
- Get someone to proof read your pitch. Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes are not a good way to impress.
- Highlight what makes you different. Lots of people climb Everest and cycle around the world. That, in itself, is no longer very interesting. You don’t have to be the youngest/fastest/first but you should have a unique story.
- Be creative. Richard Branson probably gets about a million letters a day asking for money. Think outside the box. Does it have to be a letter? Does it have to be Richard Branson? Does it have to be a company? Use your imagination and come up with something clever and different.
Still want some help? Get in touch.
Pingback: Some sound advice… | Cycling South America
Thanks! I heard from a documentary maker that she convinced a very famous actor, who receives many requests and most of the time says no, to participate by embroidering her request to him. She had found out he liked embroidery… and that did it. So yes, do your homework before you approach a possible sponsor, it shows that you care and value their interests.