Let's talk about sponsorship
MyelomaUK's London to Paris ride is, without doubt, an epic. One of the things that attracted me to it was that it's run on closed roads with the support of a fully-equipped support team including mechanics and physios. All this comes at a fairly hefty price tag that we riders need to fund ourselves. It's bad form to use sponsorship money or donations to cover this cost. In addition, we're set a hefty minimum fundraising target of £1500 per rider, which I must say I found rather daunting as I absolutely hate asking people for donations!
Having said all the above I'm now feeling quite good about how things are going... not to say that I can't do much more, but it's been a robust start. I began with setting up my JustGiving Page and adding an appropriate story to explain what got me to this place. I then constructed a fairly lengthy Facebook post, essentially repeating my JustGiving story, aimed, of course, at my network of Facebook friends and family. The response was rapid and pleasing, with a few hundred quid rolling in within a few days. I'd also decided to write about the build-up to the ride, through this blog. An inspirational moment while shaving one morning gave me the '5to500' name and the logo followed that evening. As things stand, I'm really not sure that the blog is generating any additional sponsorship/donations, but I'm convinced that it's still the right thing to do and if nothing more will generate a record of my preparation journey.
Next step, work. Another paraphrasing of my story send to a wide distribution of friends and colleagues working around the world gave another quick and substantial burst of donations.
So far, so good, but what next? I'm not particularly one for charity cake stalls, charity parties and things like that and I didn't want to go round the Facebook and work email loop again too quickly so I looked into the opportunity for corporate sponsorship from my employer. I was delighted to be told that Myeloma UK is considered to be a charity that falls within the bounds of approved charity organisations and even more delighted when they donated a very generous sum towards my target.
Then there was a strange coincidence. I was in contact with the sister of one of my school friends and she mentioned that one of her friends ran a company that produced eco-friendly bike cleaning products. She kindly offered to introduce us (electronically, as we're geographically far apart) in the hope that there might be something they could do by way of sponsorship. The crazy thing is that it turns out that I went to school with the business owner and she instantly and generously offered to send me samples of their products - thanks Nona! What a small world!
Here's a huge shout out to Kingud Products! I've started to use some of the samples and I have to say that I'm impressed - and I'm not just saying that because I was sent them for free! I urge you to take a look at their website or Facebook page and decide for yourself.
At the moment I have one other 'iron in the fire' for business sponsorship and I hope that I'll be able to share some good news from that very soon.
I guess what I'm getting at with this story is not to be shy about reaching out and seeing what you can make happen. I don't mean that in an aggressive or begging way, but many businesses make are very willing and happy to support charitable work. You never know what might come to pass.
Meanwhile, every few weeks I post an update on Facebook and each time I seem to reach someone who for whatever reason missed my original post. For me this is a fine balance - it still feels like begging, but equally I know that many of my friends and their families have been touched by myeloma and are only to happy to be able to add a little to the quest for a cure.
I'm now looking for the next 'big push' to make a step change in my sponsorship. If you're reading this and have any great ideas, please message me!
By the way, training is progressing nicely. The miles are building up and despite the horrendous weather this week which has stopped me going out at all, I'm confident of stepping up the pace again from this weekend.