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Matt Pincham
10-30-2003, 08:28
Hello All,

I may be familiar to some as i've been posting here for a couple of months. Basically I'm thru-hiking because I want to, but I also thought I'd raise money for charity too (I can imagine being wet and cold and the thought of giving up crossing my mind, then the good I'm doing flashes before my eyes and I carry on)
Basically I'm seeking sponsors, both personal and corporate. I have approached airlines, hardwear specialists, the police force and a local radio station. So far I've drawn a blank!
US Airways said they have too many requests, United Airlines, Mountain Hardwear and the Police haven't replied, the radio station got the completely wrong end of the stick and sent me a letter regarding work experience :confused:

I can complete the hike without these sponsors behind me. I can afford my airline tickets, gear and anything else I need to buy (food for 5/6 months etc) it's just that it would be real handy to get a helping hand from a company hoping to sponsor me. I'm sure I can raise quite a lot of money from my friends, family, neighbours etc but it's just that a corporation would be a nice stable building block for me to start with. I already have a charity lined up (Marie Curie Cancer Care) but I feel as if I'm begging when I ask a company like Mountain Hardwear for sponsorship. It really gets on my nerves when they don't reply also!

My girlfriend works for a company called Snow + Rock (big in the UK, tiny or non-existent in the US, they stock absolutely thousands of the best hiking items) and I will try seeking sponsorship from them but I get the feeling I'm in line for another silent shoulder.

Has anyone done anything similar with regards to charity before. Any suggestions about how to improve my sponsor hunting would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Matt

MOWGLI
10-30-2003, 08:46
Originally posted by Matt Pincham


I can complete the hike without these sponsors behind me. I can afford my airline tickets, gear and anything else I need to buy (food for 5/6 months etc) it's just that it would be real handy to get a helping hand from a company hoping to sponsor me.

Unless you have a plan, a real plan, and something concrete to offer these companies, they won't even return your calls. In this economic climate, it's difficult enough for a bonafide non-profit with an excellent strategic plan, and a number of clear benefits for the contributor, (recognition on website, tax write-off, ability for corporation to use the non-profit's logo, etc..) to get any funds.

Now, if you could get your charity to write a letter on your behalf (as a sponsor), and post something about your hike on their website, and offer a for-profit corporation something tangible, you might get somewhere. Another angle, why don't you buy all your own gear, and approach these folks for direct donations to your charity? Your odds of success will be greatly increased.


Bottom line - if you can afford your hike by yourself, then that's the route you should take. A thru-hike is all about self sufficiency. Starting a hike in any other manner would, in my opinion, be starting off on the wrong foot.

I'll leave you with this. I spent some time hiking with a fellow in 2000 who ended up raising over $150,000 for charity. He did it quietly by getting some folks to pledge big dollars on his behalf, with some wacky incentives. he was also deeply committed to this organization on a personal level. If you are creative, and have a good plan, and work hard, you will raise some money.

Little Bear
GA-ME 2000

reddevil
11-02-2003, 17:14
When I hiked in '98, it was kind of frowned upon to be sponsored.Sponsorship brings in the outside world that most try to get away from while thru-hiking.I'd like to hike it again but I've been out of the loop.Perhaps the AT is getting more commercialized?

The Weasel
11-02-2003, 18:09
Sponsorship may be perfectly fine, but be silent about it. To have someone say, "I'm getting paid to do this" or "I'm getting free gear" is very, very grating. Frankly, it smacks to me of hiking the trail as a "job" if you're getting paid for it. So don't rub it in that the rest of us are paying for it ourselves.

The Weasel

ganj
11-02-2003, 20:42
The trail is not that expensive. Work hard and save your money. Don't beg and expect corporations to fund your vacation.

Senor Quack
11-02-2003, 23:32
I'm reading a book right now called "A Walk For Sunshine" that is about a fella that did a thru-hike of the AT for charity a coupla years ago or so. Maybe this will give you some pointers on how to go about this.

Here's a link:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0967948207/qid=1067830296/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/002-3144112-7258455?v=glance&s=books

radar
11-03-2003, 00:15
It seems to me that the best way to get some corporate sponsorship would be to first have some commitment of donations. If you have $20,000 of donations in your pocket then a company is going to be more interested in what you are doing.

I'm a firm believer in "hike your own hike" and that applies to hiking for charity but I would suggest that you think long and hard before going down this road. It is hard enough to get yourself to Katahdin for your *own* reasons. It can be very stressful to have to consider the reaction of your charity, donors, and sponsors should you decide to skip part of the trail, get off before finishing, and so on. Your hike is not entirely your own when hiking for charity.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't hike for charity just that they be sure they know what they are getting into before taking that approach.

I think there was a presentation at ALDHA just a few weeks ago about this, maybe you can track down the presenter and get some info.

radar
11-03-2003, 00:19
It seems to me that the best way to get some corporate sponsorship would be to first have some commitment of donations. If you have $20,000 of donations in your pocket then a company is going to be more interested in what you are doing than.

I'm a firm believer in "hike your own hike" and that applies to hiking for charity but I would suggest that you think long and hard before going down this road. It is hard enough to get yourself to Katahdin for your *own* reasons. It can be very stressful to have to consider the reaction of your charity, donors, and sponsors should you decide to skip part of the trail, get off before finishing, and so on. Your hike is not entirely your own when hiking for charity.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't hike for charity just that they be sure they know what they are getting into before taking that approach.

I think there was a presentation at ALDHA just a few weeks ago about this, maybe you can track down the presenter and get some info.

Matt Pincham
11-03-2003, 05:30
Wasn't expecting you lot to jump down my throat!
The money isn't going to the Matthew Pincham Charity!!! The more money I could save by getting a sponsor, the more my chosen charity would make. And they're not 'paying my vacation'

Damn, and I thought that raising money to help people with Cancer was a good thing to do. Sorry I wont bother then, wouldn't want to offend your elite hiking 'rules'.

Some of the words I'd like to say right now... :mad:

Matt Pincham
11-03-2003, 05:37
And with regards to the trail not being expensive....it may not be for you. But I'm from the UK and my air fare alone will be about 500 ($800). I'm not hiking for profit...if I can save that 800 bucks then it will go to the charity...can't you see where I'm coming from?

I'm not being greedy. I'm just trying to do something good at the same time as enjoying myself.

MOWGLI
11-03-2003, 08:38
Originally posted by Matt Pincham
Wasn't expecting you lot to jump down my throat!


Matt, I certainly didn't try and offend. My goal was to paint you a realistic picture of your chances of securing sponsorship, and trying to improve those chances too. Several other folks offered some excellent advice as well. The book Walk for Sunshine would probably be helpful for you.

Good luck.

illininagel
11-03-2003, 10:42
Let's just be realistic. Companies are not going to jump at the opportunity to give out free or discounted products to individuals committing to a recreational activity. Think about it. A company would be better off making a direct donation to the charity itself---that way, it is assured that the money ends up in the right place and that it is tax deductible.

Additionally, companies are interested in getting other benefits for their charitable dollar--positive exposure, building their brand, etc. So, if you had a strong business plan that they could review, they would be more likely to help. Let's face it, most companies don't know the first thing about you or me. They need a solid business case before making an investment.

Just the reality of it all...

ganj
11-03-2003, 11:33
Matt-

It is difficult to see the nobility you try to paint for your cause when you directly benefit from it. I would have a completely different opinion if this entire scheme was selfless.

This is just MY opinion, there are plenty of people here that will help you out and give you good advice.

Presto
11-03-2003, 12:40
I agree that the approach you take to getting sponsorships from a company may be the key. Do some research on how others have got sponsorship. Two things I see as a problem for you to get sponsorship:

If you don't have the right contact at the company who believes in your cause, it will be a tough sell. Think of all the junk mail and ads you see every day asking for your money for nothing. How do you respond to those types of propaganda? Realize that a company is going to view your calls the same way. Do you call back companies that send you solicitations for their cause to politely inform them that you are not interested? That is all that my day would be consumed by if I replied to everyone asking for my money. You need a unique way of going about getting the donations - read up on some marketing tips in a business text.

-Your other major problem is that hiking the AT is becoming more and more common every year. Maybe if you planned a hike to a more unique location, it would be more effective. The companies that give you stuff are going to want their product be seen on you as being an advertisement for them. I don't think that anyone went out and bought a mountainsmith pack because I had one on my back while I was hiking the AT. Flyin Brian, on the other hand, is high profile and some people pay attention to the gear he used. So you may want a more radical or unique hike planned to get sponsorships.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do.

Matt Pincham
11-03-2003, 13:06
See what you mean Presto. Thanks.

And Ganj, I know it seems like I benefit and yes in some ways I will, but at the end of the day the charity would benefit more. I'm not a life time hiker and once I finish the AT I wish to go into a career, so probably wont get such an opportunity again.
I can either save 3000 and spend it all on air fares and other expenses, or save 3000, get sponsored, spend 1500 and give 1500 to charity. I'm not greedy and don't you dare accuse me of lying either.

tacode
11-03-2003, 13:27
Maybe the replies you are getting, Matt, are because you don't really sound committed to a selfless cause. No doubt, hiking the AT is an accomplishment, but to say you are doing for charity and to make yourself feel good at the same time is not a convincing sell.

Maybe if you "cripple" yourself somehow - do it in 4 months, barefoot, in the winter, etc... or maybe an approach like that chap who hung out in the glass box in England for 44 days...make it more interesting :D You might even end up on a "reality" show!

But seriously, if you are committed to hiking for cancer, then stick to your guns and do just that. If you truely feel strong enough about it, then you will find a way. Good luck to you!:)

The Weasel
11-05-2003, 01:27
Matt -

I'm not happy that the replies above more or less prove the point I made earlier; your proposal grates on many here (and will, on the trail).

I think the best point for you to ponder, if you want to keep going on this, is what I think tacode is saying: If you're going to do it, go ahead. But don't talk about it. Just do it.

I know that sounds like "figure it out for yourself," and it probably is, although there are a lot of resources in the world about how to take a project and make it useful for a charity. P.Diddy (Sean Combs) did precisely that in the NY Marathon. Lacking, however, was where his expenses (and they weren't small, I suspect) came from. He just basically kept his mouth shut on that. It's part of the reason why performing artists who do "benefits" keep their mouths shut (usually) about how they get massive expenses - sometimes several hundreds of thousands of dollars, including compensation - that, if publicised, would make it appear that they were really feathering their own nest.

If you take 6 months of your life, and use it for a specific benefit (you'd better have something a whole lot clearer than "for cancer research, as in who gets the loot by name and address), I applaud you, as I am sure most here do. And if you need some help from others to accomplish that, fine. But do so with a little more sublety with the Trail Community, as I think you've seen here.


The Weasel

dionalaniz
11-05-2003, 03:43
How about this. Instead of asking companies to sponsor your trip why don't you send them a letter that basically says this:

"My name is X. I am going to hike the A.T. If you find this inspirational, I would appreciate it if you would donate money to charity Y."

Why ask the company to give you money and then you turn around and give it to the charity in question? Just ask the companies you're soliciting to donate money to the charity and bypass you as a middleman altogether.

Wouldn't that be the most self-less thing to do?

Although it doesn't bug me so much, I do see how what you're saying can be grating. *Lots* of people hike the A.T. each year. Although it's an accomplishment it's not like a monumental feat or anything. If you were going to solicit companies to give you money directly and then you would subsequently funnel the money to the charity, well then you'd better be doing something incredibly marvelous that is worthy of having you as the focal point of all the charity giving. Sorry - i just don't think a hike of the A.T. counts.

Go for the triple crown in one year and now you're talking.

It's just a bit annoying to the average joe and jane "i'm going to hike the A.T." (like myself) who save up for a long time and make personal sacrifices in our life so that we can take off work and go hike the A.T. for 5 months or so. We all quietly make these sacrifices with little fanfare outside our immediate family and friends in order to accomplish this goal. So, when we see someone else attempting the same modest goal but blowing it up into a huge charity sponsored 'event' hopefully you can begin to see how the trail community might begin to become annoyed with you even though your intentions are really good.

I say go for your hike - and encourage anyone, or any company, you come in contact with to donate directly to the charity you have selected. That's something I think anyone on the trail would be happy to hear about.

alpine
11-05-2003, 10:35
with drawn

alpine
11-05-2003, 10:35
with drawn