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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

View Poll Results: Should I try to get sponsorship?
Yes! It is worthwhile. 2 10.00%
No. Do it all on your own, it's not worth the time. 10 50.00%
Maybe, if you have a good cause. 8 40.00%
Voters: 20. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-19-06, 10:15 AM   #1
daavq
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To sponsor or not to sponsor.

So I will be riding across the country this summer, and in preparation I am reading every blog, journal, website, post I can find about touring Canada. I noticed many of the tours had sponsorship of some sort or another. Usually they were riding for a cause which I imagine makes getting sponsorship easier.

So my question is. Should I bother with trying to get sponsorship? If so, then how?
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Old 02-19-06, 10:47 AM   #2
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Dear Daavg -

If you are just thinking about it - - it is too late.
I have done, perhaps, 20 long tours - one as a fundraiser.
I did more work for the fundraiser than any other trip.
If you think it is an "easy" way to get $$$ - you are mistaken.
And if folks think you are just trying to get $$$ - you can do harm to whatever organization you are riding for.
A fundraising ride needs to be developed over a long time frame.
I did mine for the ARC and am certainly glad I did.
We raised $30,000, but I paid for my own costs anyhoo.

Good luck to you - - J
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Old 02-19-06, 12:36 PM   #3
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Daavq,
You have asked a good question. I thought about this issue a lot but have not come up with enough information to understand how it works. Jamawani seems to have made something work but not sure what he did other than to collect $30K. I think we need some information on the process.
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Old 02-19-06, 03:20 PM   #4
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ive found getting sponsorship very difficult to get, personally. and when i do find someone willing to help me out even a little, they rarely follow through. ive found it best to just do it yourself. for instance, do everything on the cheap. i am making most of my stuff myself. my front and rear racks are both homemade, and both totalled $4.78 CAD for the materials. thats it, which is really good, compared to buying racks...and mine will prbably out last most store bought ones anyday. im also thinking about making my own panniers. i am supposedly getting sponsored by the sewing school here in town to make them for me, but ive been there several times in the last few months, and nothing has been done yet...so i beginning to wonder. i priced out the material for them, and it wont be more than $150 CAD for all 4 panniers...so in realitly, ive spent as much on all my racks and panniers as some would spend on one pannier...
im also currently working on getting a financial sponsorship, but thats not looking up anymore either, and ive got a fairly worthwhile cause. i think my problem is not many see my cause as being as worth while as others. o well, ill get it done somehow. good luck on getting sponsors though, its tough.

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Old 02-19-06, 09:40 PM   #5
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It is hard work! I found that only about 3% of those contacted actually gave support, and most of those were rather small.

I think it takes a certain personality to do it, maybe more charismatic? I'm not one of those, could be why it's uncomfortable for me to ask.
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Old 02-20-06, 12:40 AM   #6
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Hmmm. I guess I just feel a little guilty reading about all these people that do it to help humanity and I just want to do it for myself....
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Old 02-20-06, 01:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daavq
Hmmm. I guess I just feel a little guilty reading about all these people that do it to help humanity and I just want to do it for myself....

There's nothing wrong with wanting to tour for yourself. I look at touring (especially extended touring in areas I've never been before) as an education ... as though I am taking a class at the University. On a tour, I like to take time to see interesting things, to mingle with the people, and to get off the beaten track a bit. I probably learn more about the areas I've been through ... and about survival on and off the bicycle, in various environmental elements, etc., than I would ever learn in an actual course. The stuff I've learned has helped broaden my outlook on the world, and has affected the papers and assignments I've handed in for my actual University courses.


As a matter of fact, at my local college, there is a bicycle tour as an actual course:
http://www.rdc.ab.ca/continuingeduca...per_banff.html

So if you are feeling a bit guilty, just think of it as an educational pursuit.
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Old 02-20-06, 05:53 AM   #8
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In an economy where people usually pay extra to advertise companies I can't imagine it would be worth the effort to try to get sponsorship unless it is for a charitable cause. If there were a perceived benefit to companies for having their logos emblazoned on cyclists, then the team kits would be the cheapest clothing on the market.

Heck, I'm doing the Tour de Cure, and I won't be surprised if the $35 I contributed (beyond my registration fee) is the largest donation.

You would probably get a better financial return for your time if you ask everyone you encounter for spare change...
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Old 02-20-06, 06:02 AM   #9
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Daavq This is what I'm doing alot of people say that it's impossible to find sponsor but I've found the oppiste to be true so far I've 12 sponsors and still waiting for more to come back to me,as for it being hard work well anything you want to make a success will be, I've spent many a late night sending e-mails etc. I'm off the 1 st July so time is getting short but I'll get there. If you want to know more just send me a PM and I'll help you with what ever I can. Check out my site it's www.challengea2z.com still a work in progress so thing are still being added.
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Old 02-20-06, 07:35 PM   #10
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I could be wrong Machka, but I think he means he just wanted the sponsorship money for himself, like a profesional athlete.

I must say I get a little tired of all the riding here for that sites. I'm a bad person, actually, it just all seems so forced. Maybe I am underestimating the amount of money that can be chanelled to a good, if totaly obscure, cause by the least little internet gambit. Or overestimating the level of accounting involved.

My only squelch would be to say that riding across NA is not all that novel any more. So how much exposure does this really provide for your sponsor. If you can come up with a logical way of attracting eyeballs and seem buiness like about it, maybe.

Recently a Bass Pro shops came to town, and immediately a bunch of the competitors closed down. I was talking to one of the guys who had run a fly-fishing shop for 15 years. He had never broken even as a business, and one of the factors he mentioned while pointing to the sticker on his door was all the conservation charities that just assume you are going to take out memberships and give away freebies to auctions and such. Here he was, not making a return on his investment, yet being dinged repeatedly by the local black tie crowd to give free merchandise for their various parties. He always did it, but it gave me an insight into the sometimes economics of sponsorship.
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Old 02-20-06, 07:53 PM   #11
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There will always be ways. Find someone who knows about grants and see what it would take to do something for a larger not-for-profit organization. Talk to someone higher up in a corporation that has such a nationwide structure that you could visit each regional office for a day. Talk to more "rural" universities who have a lot of satellite campuses. Do they have a cycling team? Does it have to be just you who's doing the tour? Back on the corporate thing, what if there was a charismatic VP who was already into cycling but wouldn't have the time to plan a four month tour?

Riding across NA is not novel anymore. Agreed. So do something different. Be creative, be honest about what your costs will be, see what happens. It'll be a ****-ton of work, but it could work out pretty well. Who knows? ****. Since when was touring about everything going to plan anyway?
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Old 02-20-06, 07:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterpan1
I could be wrong Machka, but I think he means he just wanted the sponsorship money for himself, like a profesional athlete.
I couldn't even begin to bring myself to ask a company or person for money so I could go off and do a ride which is for my own personal enjoyment and challenge. You'd have to have an incredible amount of audacity to do that!!

As for suggesting to the company that by wearing their logo it will attract new business to the company ... I think that would only work if the cyclist made a point of stopping and visiting communities that might benefit from the products produced by the sponsoring company (and doing a bit of PR work in each community), or perhaps by participating in as many major cycling events, which would attract a lot of cyclists, along the way as possible.

A cyclist travelling across Canada where there is nothing, and not a soul, around for miles on end (which is exactly the situation through the Canadian prairies!) isn't going to benefit a sponsor any!!
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Old 02-20-06, 08:07 PM   #13
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I didn't say it couldn't be done, you know the "Hooters" tour to save the spotted owl, it's all marketing.
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Old 02-20-06, 09:17 PM   #14
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Well...actually I was thinking of both, not only for my own benefit but also for a cause. For example I ride in the Becel ride for heart here in Toronto every year. I raise enough money every year I get a short and some sort of "thank you" gift from them. I suppose if I was real charitable I would sell the gift and give the money back.

Lots of charities use monies raised to write off the cost of the charitable event in the first place. People used to hand Terry Fox money as he ran by. Stuffing dollar bill into his hand as they shook his fist. Now I can't say for sure but I'm pretty confident he would have used some of that money to help fund his Run for Hope.

So if you do ride across the country for a cause instead of asking say MEC for a donation, their donation is a tent, which helps you continue your jouney and raise funds for that cause. That's all I was wondering about.

I wonder if I could get a government grant.....
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Old 02-20-06, 09:45 PM   #15
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"So if you do ride across the country for a cause instead of asking say MEC for a donation, their donation is a tent, which helps you continue your jouney and raise funds for that cause. That's all I was wondering about."

I'd like to think not. It's fine by me if you can raise money for the expenses of your trip. I think that would be great, but I wouldn't want to see the two separate pools getting mixed. I think that is an accident waiting to happen.

In Terry Fox's case, if people were jamming bucks into his hand as he ran by, well who knows whether those were charitable donations or expense money, that isn't a particularly formal circumstance, they were giving the money to him. I'm certain they did the right thing, I just think it is different from blending the idea of sponsorship with fund raising.

Oddly, if you were a canvasser, and you were simply walking door to door to raise money for whatever cause, you can keep almost all the money personally for your expenses. Up to something like 80%. No idea about the specifics, but in essence the people who get up every day in the morning and knock on doors are themselves, or their organization , keeping the majority of the money. So if your canvassing route is more linear, and trans provincial, why not keep all the money remitting only the minimum. Not making an ethical point here, but something like this is already legal. In that case the canvassing is your job, the conflict is explicit, and well understood.
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Old 02-20-06, 09:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daavq
I wonder if I could get a government grant.....

If you find out you can, let me know!! I might want to take advantage of something like that myself.


Meanwhile, however, the way I've funded all my trips, and will probably continue to do so in the future, is to work, and to save up the money. There is a certain sense of satisfaction knowing that all the hard work you put in at your place of employment is paying off by allowing you to do what you've always wanted to do.
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Old 02-20-06, 10:22 PM   #17
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I do not assume this is the case with the OP, but just expressing where I think the line is between what I would call a legitimate charity ride, and a borderline scam...

I think the line gets blurred when the idea of the tour comes to mind first, and then the charity comes to mind exclusively in the realm of, "Wait! If I do this for a cause I can get stuff/money for me, and all I have to do is what I wanted to do anyway."

Ddn't some executive with the United Way just get fired a few years ago for something like that? (I know that was some sort of theft, but I just thought I would be a snot!)

Either way, as long as the charity gets the money raised, then I am in support of any legitimate fund raising effort... which this could be.
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Old 02-20-06, 11:40 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterpan1
It's fine by me if you can raise money for the expenses of your trip. I think that would be great, but I wouldn't want to see the two separate pools getting mixed. I think that is an accident waiting to happen.
That is an excellent point. I suck at accounting so I think that makes my decision for me!
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Old 02-21-06, 07:53 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by daavq
That is an excellent point. I suck at accounting so I think that makes my decision for me!
I don't think that should be an issue. Just have the charitable contributions go directly to the charity, and then use the equipment and funds that you may be able to get in support of your efforts. When done with the ride, either keep the equipment as your memento of the trip or sell/auction it for the charity. If people want to give you cash or a check, just tell them it will be used to support your personal expenses for the trip, and if deductability is the donator's concern, tell them to donate directly to the charity.

Having the money go directly to the charity might make it easier from an accounting perspective, but it will make it harder to know whether you acheived your goal (if you set a specific monetary goal.

There is nothing I see wrong with you accepting gifts to support yourself as long as anything that you have promised would go to the charity does indeed go to the charity.

Of course, as I was wrapping this up I realized that there could be income tax implications for you for any gifts you receive... so that could require accounting (or ignoring) the gifts at tax time.
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Old 02-21-06, 09:02 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machka
As a matter of fact, at my local college, there is a bicycle tour as an actual course:
http://www.rdc.ab.ca/continuingeduca...per_banff.html

So if you are feeling a bit guilty, just think of it as an educational pursuit.
Too bad this course is not offered in Illinois, because then I could get it covered by FAFSA. A bicycle tour paid for by the government.

As for the the sponsorship, researdhing the idea and asking questions to see if it is feasible is a good way to start. If you decide to get a sponsor, you need to make a plan and implement it quickly, because time is running short.
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Old 02-21-06, 05:47 PM   #21
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Check out www.justgiving.com this is how people sponsor me this way I know all their cash donation go straight to my charity and my sponsors give gear directly to me, it works for me. It's not that hard to do speak to your charity they'll help you with what they want and expect, 99.9% of people are honest, it's the small minority that screw it up for the many. If you want to know anything about how I fund raise or how my sponsors will get coverage just drop me a e-mail or pm and I'm more than happy to give you a hand, all it takes is a bit of effort, but you can make major changes for other people less fortunate than yourself.
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Old 02-21-06, 11:30 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by challengea2z
Check out www.justgiving.com this is how people sponsor me this way I know all their cash donation go straight to my charity and my sponsors give gear directly to me, it works for me. It's not that hard to do speak to your charity they'll help you with what they want and expect, 99.9% of people are honest, it's the small minority that screw it up for the many. If you want to know anything about how I fund raise or how my sponsors will get coverage just drop me a e-mail or pm and I'm more than happy to give you a hand, all it takes is a bit of effort, but you can make major changes for other people less fortunate than yourself.
Interesting... how do your sponsors give gear to you directly? Do you go and ask around? I mean it would seem to me that most businesses would not be interested unless you are doing it for a cause so sponsorship and charities kind of go hand in hand, yes?
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Old 02-22-06, 11:09 AM   #23
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I went around a bicycle buiness website and e-mailed everyone that was a manufacturer or an importer/exporter, I sent them a brief outline what I was doing and I attached some promo stuff from the charity plus my begging letter, after some long days of e-mailing till 4am I think I've done quit well still waiting for 6 or so other potential sponsors to come back but I'm happy with the 12 so far. I don't know is the simple answer but I'm sure if you're offering good TV, magazine, newspaper and web coverage, that's what most of my sponsors wanted to know they were going to get, so at least their brand name will get out there for them at little expense.
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