I’m a firm believer in the ethos of ‘it’s not overcoming obstacles that’s key; but how you get over them’. Money and finance is one of the hardest obstacles to overcome in sport. It can stop talented athletes in their tracks because of circumstances that are out of their control, which hinders their progression. Sport is a way of life for many of us, and it is one of the world’s cruelest injustices when hard working, determined sports men and women aren’t able to achieve their ambitions because of money. We can’t escape it, it makes the world go round, but it also has the ability to make the world stop too.
Let’s not dwell. Let’s focus on the good and revel in the fact that hundreds and thousands of people out there want to help. However, it is your responsibility to make these people aware of how great you are and why you need a little cash injection to see you through to the next stage of your career. Do not be afraid to ask for help! The strongest people ask for help, and they reap the rewards.
Crowdfunding is one of the easiest, most creative and fun ways of showcasing your talent and bringing your hopes and dreams to the public’s eye. The more creative and willing to ‘go the extra mile’ you are with your rewards, the more funds you’ll raise; and rather swiftly too. Crowdfunding has exploded in popularity over recent years, with bands, magazines, small businesses and top athletes reaching out to the local (and global) community who are likeminded and eager to support in order to reach the next level and turn those aspirations into reality.
You could ask for sponsorship for a multitude of things – think of:
- Going on tour
- Playing internationally
- Your club needs new kit/safety equipment/coaches etc
- Training gear
- Team kit
- New club mini bus
And that’s just 10 seconds of thinking, off the top of my head!
One of the most professional and dedicated crowdfunding spaces I’ve come across is Pledge Sports. Their website is bursting with athletes and sports people who are already training solidly, very talented and just wanting to reach those national and international stages that the sporting bodies’ funds just won’t allow them to. Their stories are magnificent, and little less than inspiring. You get an instant hit of the good ‘feels’ when you read about someone similar to yourself who have overcome many trials and tribulations already to achieve what they have already. What is even better is that they want us to be a part of that journey too. Their Twitter is a testament of the talent they’ve helped too.
Personally, I like to help. I’m someone who wants to facilitate, so supporting causes like this is perfect. What’s even better is that I’m one of millions. Trust me.
How could this work for you? Let’s look at the maths.
Say you need to match a sponsor’s funds of £300 in order to pay for a new kit. £300 is quite a hefty chunk of change for one person, but how much is £300 if you divide it by 20? £15 each! Now, let’s say you’re willing to give a personal blog post and Twitter shoutout in return for that? You’re personally recognising how lovely they are (they could have bought dinner out for that, but they want to help you instead) and you are engaging in something rather special. It might cost you 30 minute of your time but that connection will last significantly longer. You have created a bond, received a helping hand and I guarantee you that person will be dedicated to your venture, following you through your training and your progress at the place where you’re aiming to be. Wow.
Before all that happens you need to put in the groundwork. Think creatively about what you can offer back for the amount you want – remember, you can ask for a variety of amounts from £5 to £1000+ (now this will be a big deal). Think of yourself as a brand, think of how inspiring you are and use your social media and other outlets as a catalyst to fire you to the next stage of your career.
Take a look at some examples on the Pledge Sports website here.
Also, look at the examples below of the rewards that you could include in your campaign.
If you don’t ask, you won’t get! You’ve nothing to lose.
Top 10 sport crowdfunding reward ideas
Personal thank you – around £5-10
A personal thank you could be anything from a Tweet to a message. Be grateful, it makes a difference.
Social media shout out – £10 – 20
You already have a group of people who like what you’re doing, so showcase how grateful you are by using your social media as an outlet of appreciation. Maybe the higher the donation the more outlets you’ll thank them on: Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter.
Signed stuff – £20+
Your signature is like your fingerprint, unique and valuable. Signed pictures are just one of the things you can offer as a reward.
Kit – £25+
Depends on what you want to give away, you can give t-shirts with your cool slogan or inspirational hashtag on as a thank you. Kit is an endless opportunity to not only say thank you for a greater donation, but also showcase your brand to the world too. However, you’d have to invest some money into the making of this first, so keep this in mind. Personally, this is well worth it.
Merchandise – £5 +
You know bands have cool badges with their logos, or business cards etc? Why don’t you get your name/hashtag/logo on something cool and offer this as a reward? You can even get personalised coffee mugs now (I would SO buy this if it had a punny slogan on the front – just saying.) Set the price to suit how much you want and how expensive the reward is to make. Think outside the box here – the internet is your oyster!
Personal letter/postcard/picture/blog post – £20+
Another way of engaging with people who want to support you with a lovely personal touch. Maybe if you’re wanting to go on tour then sending a postcard from the country you’re touring with a personal progress update would be touching. Another of my personal favourites.
Use your talent to give back – coaching? – £50+
Now time is invaluable. If someone is willing to give up their time, well, you can’t really ask for more. Why not use your talent to offer a coaching session to a club or individual? Think about travel etc too and incorrporate this into your reward price.
Meet and greet – £50 +
Similar to the above, but many clubs/schools/businesses are always looking for great public speakers and sports people are wonderfully inspirational with a great story to tell.
Use their logo/name on your kit/social media etc – £100+
Give people the opportunity to be a part of your journey for a longer amount of time by offering space on your kit/website/social media for their name/logo. This is also something I would personally like as it shows a connection and a true understanding of support and gratitude between you both. I’m sure there are many likeminded people similar to me out there too, so give people the option to be involved.
Business sponsorship – £100-£1000+
This is a big one! Don’t give make this too available – maybe only 3 up for grabs. There are tonnes and tonnes of local businesses that are always looking to invest in projects like yours. Why? Because it’s invaluable marketing opportunities for them too. They are able to include your story in their marketing plans in order to showcase their business as a supportive and encouraging one, which in turn will gain the trust of the public. Win win. Why do you think so many big companies endorse sport on the grand scale? Think of Premier League team kit sponsors, or international tournament sponsors. Bring it down to grass roots because the same ideals are universal.