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Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
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It depends what type of sponsorship you're looking for, you've mentioned two types here.
Sponsorship to cover the cost of your trip
Ok, starting with:
Charitable fundraising: depending on where you live, you could go to a site like Justgiving.com and pick a charity already on it which is close to your heart, and then fill out the forms and voila, you have an online fund-raising page. Then contact the charity itself, even if they're on justgiving, it's good to make contact, if they're not it's essential, charities have their good name to protect, and while a wodge of cash is nice, they like to give the right image too. They might also have people who know about fundraising and might be able to give/loan you some materials (leaflets, balloons, collecting tins, t-shirts etc) to help.
Then you'll just need to tell as many people as possible about this, start with your local media (newspaper, radio, tv and work up, also try any specialist magazines). Tell your mates, get them to tell their mates, add the site as an annoying signature on all your e-mails, join Facebook and invite people in, all that type of thing, none of it's hard and it doesn't need a lot of work.
Trip Sponsorship: this is going to be harder, much harder. What you basically have to think is not that you're seeking sponsorship, but that you're selling advertising. That's the payback for any sponsoring company. So you have to view yourself in the light of other advertising media, and make sure you give them very good value for money. In simple terms that means getting as much media exposure as possible, and looking as professional as you can. Things you might consider:
Start a website: it can be a prebuilt blog site if you like, the blogs here on HU or on Wordpress, Blogger etc. Ours is with Blogger. I skinned it myself, but I have no knowledge of HTML at all, everytime I wanted to do something I typed it in Google and found the answer.
Buy a domain name: and make sure you get e-mail with it. (even if you use a free blog with Blogger for instance you can still get it to say mytrip.com for about $10 a year).
Get e-mail forwarding: and set up a few mail accounts, start with email@example.com for everyone on the trip, but then get firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and so on. You're going to receive all the mail from these accounts, but it makes you look bigger, better organised and more professional, and it's amazing how it gently fools people. I organised a Mini Cooper rally and it was only on the rally itself that any of the 50-odd participants realised it was one bloke with a PC and an in and out tray and not an office full of people.
Become a media whore: contact the media, get exposure. The more people see you the more people see your sponsors, and the more traffic you get to your site, where they again see your sponsors. Remember you're selling advertising.
Prepare press releases: Keep them to one page of A4 formatted as a pdf file (you can find free pdf creators with Google). Take photos and if e-mailing send at low-resolution, but with the offer of very high resolution if required (magazines need high res). You might find a local paper will even help out with these if you ask them nicely.
Build relationships with the media: make phone calls, have meetings. If they've spoken to you, or even better met you, they'll hopefully help you out more. Start local and build to national if you can. Use snail mail it's harder to ignore than an e-mail.
Keep all your press cuttings: show these to your potential sponsors so they see you're getting coverage.
Get seen: sticker up your bike/car/lid/jacket early and park up in obvious places, hell, sticker up all your cars and bikes and your friends' too. Wear your T-shirt with pride. Park outside your local TV studio. Print leaflets and cards if you want.
Prepare a sponsors' pack: with examples of past expeditions, media cuttings, examples of where their logos will go, tailor it to your potential sponsor by finding out everything you can about them, if their small send it to the MD or CEO; if they're big send it to marketing or advertising. Find out people's names, follow up with phone calls, send it snail mail (it's so rare to get snail mail now, it's harder to ignore), offer to visit, build relationships.
Prepare a pricing scheme: so they know what they'll get for their cash, and how much cash they need to get what, offer a range of packages so that even the little guys can afford it. After all one $10,000 sponsor is just the same as 100 $100 sponsors.
Oh and most important of all, if you really want to do this, start early, start very, very early, START VERY, VERY, VERY EARLY. However long it takes you to prepare this expedition, treble it.
And have fun.
Phew that was a bit long wasn't it? I can't even say I'm speaking here from huge experience either, I've organised a couple of charity rallies as I said and we did well with BMW, but that's it. Most if this is just stuff I did because, well, it seemed logical, at least to me. I look forward to seeing what everyone else says.
PS, if you can get a Z-list celebrity, former Big Brother winner to come with you it CAN sometimes help.
A very simple way to raise money for 'charidee' is to get a 'Justgiving' page at justgiving.com
I raised over a grand for Save The Children, essentially by saying "I'm going on holiday, it's going to be a big holiday and quite hard work sometimes, why not give some money to charity because of my descision to go on a big holiday," and loads of people gave lots of money! People are surprisingly generous sometimes.
All you do is register on the site, pick a charity and write a little blurb. Then email the link to everyone you know.
I strongly recommend you do this as lots of sick/starving/poor/etc people could benefit from five minutes of your effort. I'm often surprised more people don't do their big trips 'for charity' as it were.
You can see my effort by clicking on my link below and following the 'Save The Children' link on the right of the screen.
*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
Many larger companies have their own internal communications departement. They are always looking for ways to enhance the internal spirit and pride of their employees, so they tend to sponsor all kinds of crazy stunts that might suit their case. Myself, I found this multinational paper producing company with mills all over the world, except Africa. I proposed a Grand Tour and dubbed it "The Paper Trail". I prepared a great presentation, and as I used to be a journalist I proposed to write stories ("Tales from The Paper Trail") to their internal e-zine en route - all kinds of stories that might be relevant to them. Also I'd participate in any event at any mill and even give presentations to anyone who'd care to listen. For one year I'd travel and visit their paper mills and make some PR for them along the way. And this for the small sum of 60 000 euros. I almost made it. The Director of internal communications, the HR Director and so forth thought it to be a great idea, and cheap too. A couple of weeks later their shares started to drop, and soon all costs were cut to the bone. Including any euros put aside for my trip. My wife was happy, I was not. This was some years ago, and I never got aloft with "The Paper Trail" tour. But I have new ideas! It might work for you too.
I dressed up as Batman as a publicity stunt. Worked well for the media.
The idea was that if x number of people join my facebook group, I go all the way as the Caped Crusader. Unfortunately not enough people joined, but the ones that did donated; some of which came from the media advertising.
Plus, capes are really useful for overlanding - you can just sit down anywhere.
So find something fun that differentiates yours from everyone else's trips, and then maximise on the exposure.
it was great discription, alex
i will add that you shouldn't sad that you didn't got sponsors.
they get 50 inquiries per day, so you should have a very great and unique idea to interest the marketing-people!
and you can prepare your big sponsoring when you have little sponsored journeys before.
begin with a little sponsor (or two, or three) who will give you only a small equipment tool (the pizza beside your flat or your bikeshop will give you some gloves). you tell it on your website, in your local newspaper and in your forum. after your small trip you write an article in a magazin and in your local newspaper (i hope not for less in the magazin!) with good pictures.
doing this you can show potential sponsors, that it is worth to give you money or bigger equipment.
you have to sell yourself and you have to tell the sponsors their advantages and that it will be very cheap to make marketing with you and your idea (a big and unique idea)
so you can go from a small sponsoring to the big sponsoring.
remember the long way round: ktm won't sponsored the trip! so they go to bmw - and i don't know how many companys they have asked. (and these ae well known people you are complete unknown)
And you just know KTM have been kicking themselves ever since.
Very good point about starting small. I'd suggest making a "wish list" of everything you'd like and then trying to match up what you'd like with the people who supply them. You might not get a full outfit from the manufacturers, but a bike shop might throw you a pair of gloves, I think often people aim for the manufacturers, and they're inundated with requests, whereas local shops might be happy to donate something, or give a discount if you can give a bit of local publicity.
In a way this is interlinked with the "how to get published" thread. That's all about getting your story out there, and that's what any sponsors will want to know. It's hard to get in the national press, much easier to get in local, and it's the same for getting stuff. Local is really great.
Without noticing it, I was pretty much doing similar things.
I'm doing a Trans Africa trip in a 4 x 4 next year which is significantly more expensive than a bike.
My planning started 18 months before my leaving date with articles on previous trips I wrote and sent to any and every magazine I could think of. This was even before I created a website.
One day, to my surprise, I got published in a travel Magazine and they asked for more. I now write an article a month at least as a freelancer and make a decent amount of money doing that. I now have a deal with a brand new magazine to write 2 articles per month while we are on the road. So by writing one article per week, which may take me 4 hours, I am earning the finances for 1/3 or our trip.
When I started looking for sponsorship (Only two weeks ago now), I asked for equipment only in exchange for honest reviews on my website and on forums. No promises of media exposure etc. Strangely enough, once the first sponsor was on board, I started getting more and more interest. I now have commitments from 5, but will only list them on my site once I have the stuff.
Yesterday someone asked if they could put a sticker on the car as well and I suggested a "fee" for that privilege. In South Africa we have a self apointed explorer called "Kingsley Holgate" He once told me that he charges Euro 25 000 per sticker on his car. If you count the stickers, you'll be shocked! I won't get away with asking that much, but even 1/4 of that will be enough to keep me on the road for a couple of months or more. If they say no, I loose out on equipment I might not even really need. If they say yes... I have everything to gain!
In my sponsorship proposal I am a little cocky as I state that it is a self funded trip and we have the means to complete it without any sponsorship. This attitude is sales is called "Fear of Loss" which subtly tells the prospective sponsor that you don't really need him. Works for me...
The thing to remember is that you have something great to offer! Apart from the obvious stories you can tell or write about, we discuss gear and products on forums like this all the time! Think about the discussions about GPS's, water purification, tyres, bikes, clothing boots, tents, cooking methods etc. etc. etc. If you can have just your gear sponsored, you've already saved a fortune!
The other thing you have to offer is data. Track logs, Points of interest, places to stay to name but a few. All things that has a commercial value to someone else...
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