Sponsorship - Guidelines and Advice
"We help you Go Nice Places and Do Good Things"
For us sponsorship is a two way street. You help us look cool, feel good about ourselves and help us design better gear. We help you Go nice places and Do good things. Sometimes that means we send you free stuff or even make that special bit of kit that doesn’t exist. More commonly we can offer a great deal of exposure for your cause and help out with a bit of discount.
The best way to ask for sponsorship is to be clear about what you want and why. What gear are you after? What are you going to do with it and why? Two things to remember though, keep it short and don’t be greedy. Asking for sponsorship is a bit like a job application, you’ve got about 30 seconds before Col starts to yawn. We sponsor only 1% of applications, so don’t be disappointed if we say no. It is important to do your research on every company you approach, as they will almost certainly have different requirements. Facts and figures help, as does examples of what you have done.
So unless you put in the leg work, then we aren't going to be able to help. This means that you can't just send us your standard mail out, we were always put off by them anyway but now it's definitely a turn off. Far better to think if there is any synergy between what you are trying to do and who we are. If there isn't then you might just as well save yourself the cost of a stamp.
We are now getting so many requests that we thought we would put together some advice to anyone making a request. This is a change from the past where we looked at all comers, but after five years we have started to get a feel for what works best for us. The better it works for us the more we can help out, so we think this is the right way to go.
We sponsor very few people individually and none of them have a contract or a promo deal in place, they just pop in for coffee or give us a call and we do our best to help out with what they are up to next. Dan is normally after a new jacket, Paul likes to get me or Jim sewing special stuff and Nikki just wants to make sure she has the latest hoodie. There are no rules to who we sponsor apart from we have to like you and you have to like us.
What we don’t sponsor!
There is not a lot we wouldn’t consider but it’s best to think of the link between what you are doing and how we might help out. As a rule we do not sponsor charity treks or fund-raising expeditions and will not make cash donations. Unfortunately we can't support everyone and here at Alpkit each of us have our own personal charities we feel passionately about. As much as a raffle for the local donkey sanctuary is a great thing, we are unlikely to help out as a company with a passion for outdoor sports. Raising money for a F1 sitski, to get a disabled athlete into snowsports is much more likely to interest us.
Holidays – If it sounds like a holiday then it usually is, this includes charity treks. It’s great that you're raising money but we just feel there are better ways to help out.
Do your research!
There’s a lot of stuff to look at on the web, but two of our favourite reference sites are Paul Deegans and Alastair Humphreys. Finally woe and behold anyone who starts a proposal with, 'Dear sirs'. Do your research.
That leaves what we do sponsor
Well, as mentioned we will potentially consider a whole range of adventures, expeditions, trips, if they attract us. We are still going to say no to a lot of people, so your application has to be special and it may simply come down to whether it fits in with what we are doing at any particular time. For example, Paul and Shaggy captured an interest in adventure biking. Sometimes it will be just down to luck.
So if you are going somewhere nice, or helping someone else go somewhere nice and doing something good whilst they are there, then that is what we want to know. The secret is going to be to tell us why this is a good thing for us to be involved with. This means not only spelling out what you're actually doing, but also how you make it work for your sponsors.
UKClimbing.com charge us £150 to have 150,000 impressions over 3 months. If you are asking for £150 of stuff then why should we give you the gear and not give UKC the money. Ultimately all we want you to do is think about what you are asking, think about why it might be commercially beneficial for us. Most of all be realistic.
Application for sponsorship
These are a just a few guidelines, tips or pointers to anyone applying for sponsorship. It isn't meant to be an exhaustive list, but could help any application.
- What do you want?
- Be specific, don't just ask us to sponsor you without telling us what you need. If we can't sponsor you with free kit then we may be able to offer out something on loan from our gear pool, or have some prototype kit for testing. So the more you can tell us about what you are after the better.
- Just because what you're doing isn't the hardest or the longest, it doesn't mean it won't be interesting if you have the personality and imagination to pull it off.
- If you are used to writing things up and, better still, posting it up on the web then that's a good start. Blogs are an ideal way of us getting regular material to show our customers and increase awareness of Alpkit.
- The web gives us amazing opportunities to tell a story, this could be a slideshow, spoken word, video diaries, even live casting. Anything is possible. Dirtbag Diaries is worth a check. This just shows you don't have to be going for the first bare foot solo attempt of K2 in winter for it to be engaging and relevant.
- Tell the story
- We are not after a boring trip report, our customers range from teenagers just getting into the outdoors to pensioners still active like they are in their twenties.
- Social Media
- Facebook, Twitter, how can it be used for your trip or adventure.
- Camera friendly
- We're not saying that you have to be photogenic but not being shy in front of the camera will help get good photos of you in action.
- It's all subjective stuff, but getting good shots is an important part of conveying a feeling for the trip, inspiring others and showing gear in use.
- Be sociable
- If you are sociable and outgoing not only does it help you tell your story, it helps to get it in the first place.
- No 'Sirs' or generic group mails
- Each company is different, has a different 'style' and some even have individuals with a personality.
Remember, don't be put off if we decline you this time around. Save some money, buy some kit and go out and do it anyway. When you get back and are planning your next adventure then why not use what you got out of the first trip to try and persuade us again.
The next step up from us sponsoring a single activity is to become part of the team. This is the toughest challenge and will often develop organically if we can all get along.
And if you're not alone...
If you're a group off on an expedition, whether for education, research, aid or a challenge, then we probably can't offer free kit. We may be able to offer discount, or prototype gear for testing, but we would expect you to provide us with interesting and informative trip reports about what you were doing and why. Not only does it help us to add content to our site and give people something interesting to read, it will also help to generate increased publicity for your research/cause. So all the points above are just as valid.
Events, shows and stuff like that.
If you have a cool event especially if it is small and grass routes level, but even if it big and corporate then we certainly like to know about it and maybe even get involved. Over the years we have stood in cold muddy fields, run gameshows and occasionally gone into full retail mode. So don't count us out for anything. Our rough rule of thumb for retailing is to have about a 1000 people attend the event but we will happily come to smaller event if all it takes is a boot full of stuff and couple of us come over.
If we are not able to attend then we may be able to offer prizes or get one of our sponsored athletes to do a lecture. All we ask in return is some form of acknowledgement. Clickable links, banner ads are great on a website, as is a logo on the event t-shirt or a shout out during the prize giving.