Over on the Dressage Forum, there is a very interesting thread regarding sponsorship. I am in a bit of shock, but it seems as though many would prefer to help Para or disabled equestrians rather then the able-bodied.
Any thoughts on this? I found it very thought provoking and I am in a slight state of confusion. It seems that people "like us" offer more, in that we are of personal interest to local news, etc.
HMM wonder where those sponsors are I'll have to look at the thread. I've attended 4 world championships come home with a variety of medal colors and have not been able to find any sponsors to help with the costs. I've pretty much had to fundraise on my own hitting up family, friends and the driving community and my own pocket book (I do work full time also) ... I do have a product sponsor but haven't found any monetary help. Para-equestrian driving gets no help from the USEF in training or funding. United States Driving for Disabled does a good job and helps out but they haven't come close to raising enough to send a team with their own horses and equipment and I fund raise for them also.... 1 horse, 1 carriage, 4 people, 1 world championship in Europe ($38,000), experience priceless:-)
So if anyone has any ideas on finding a sponsor let me know:-)
You totally cracked me up...your funny parts, not the fact that you don't have a sponsor.
Honestly, if anyone deserves sponsorship it is someone who has accomplished all that you have.
I actually thought the thread on the dressage forum was going somewhere and would be super helpful. It really turned into one of those "if you're nobody, good luck finding someone" type of threads. I am nobody, so I know where that leaves me, but you are somebody. Diane, I truly hope you find a sponsor. You deserve it!
I think our nice Disabled forum is a safer stomping, oops I can't stomp, ground for me. I tried joining in on the sponsorship thread to get some info for all of us, but it left me feeling as though I was some sort of moron. I guess I just plain lack business savy and you need it for that thread.
Last edited by Invite; Nov. 29, 2009 at 11:23 AM.
Do NOT feel like you are a moron because you don't know what ROI stands for! People love to use the jargon they know because it makes them feel smart. I did think that thread did have a lot of good information on it reinforcing that business sponsorships are just that: business deals. You've got to be able to show a sponsor why giving product/spending money on you is more effective than spending it on other advertising or marketing efforts, and it's really tough to make that argument if you aren't enough of a "somebody" that you are getting out regularly - and being successful - in places that you can spread the company's name. And even then, as Diane points out, product sponsorship doesn't go very far toward paying the big bills. (There's only so much free hoof supplement can do for a girl!)
Unfortunately, the thing I kind of doubt on that other thread is the assertion that a paraequestrian potentially has a better shot at sponsorship than an able-bodied athlete. As you pointed out, there's way more sponsorship dollars in mass-market sports like football and baseball than there is in horseback riding. Within horseback riding, Olympic sports have bigger markets than non-Olympic ones (including para or driving). Yes, a paraequestrian might have a great human-interest story behind her about the challenges overcome to reach her goals, but unfortunately her sport just doesn't attract as many potential product purchasers as, say, Grand Prix show-jumping, which means she's probably not as good of a marketing tool as the jumper who is going to be sporting the company logo on her saddlepad and her horse trailer at 40 shows a year in front of far bigger crowds.
Nonetheless, I *do* know some para riders with multiple sponsors. It took getting into the competitive spotlight and then doing a lot of asking, selling and schmoozing - and facing plenty of rejection - to get those sponsorships.
On the other hand, corporate sponsorships aren't the only avenue. There are people out there, oh those lucky few, who have built relationships with just one wealthy individual (and not always a family member or old friend!) who believes in them and serves as a patron to their activities. Those relationships can develop the same way corporate sponsorships do - word of mouth, selling yourself, being professional - and the beneficiaries probably have the best set-up of all because they may get straight-up monetary help AND the sponsorships aren't business deals that hinge solely on their continued success in the show ring.