The question of ride sponsorship has plagued/dazed/perturbed/worried/concerned
ride managers as well as manufacturers/retailers as long as endurance rides
have been in existance.
To be really blunt,I think the values of (non-cash) donations is fourfold:
1. Our sport is one of the few equine competitive endeavours which does not
(or rarely) offer prize money in any form. This promotes the finish to win
principle as well as placing more importance on the ride itself rather than
possible monetary gain. Anytime money has been involved it has brought about
the worst in out sport (c.f Okulmulgee Prowl several years ago).
2. To the rider: some form of tanigible reminder of the ride, and often
the ability to try products that one may not have thought of using.
3. To the retailer/manufacturer: a way of promoting product while supporting
the sport, advertising by usage it a good way to get your product out there.
4. To the ride manager: attention to finishing awards, weight division and
breed awards indicates that the manager wants to promote the ride, the industry
and the sport in general. Good prizes will equate with good (and repeat) attendance.
As a ride manager and manufacturer I can maybe shed some insight on both angles.
As a manufacturer, you can't imaging how many letters, calls, faxes etc I get
ayear to sponsor rides (all over the U.S.). It is really difficult to pick
which rides to sponsor, since obviously you cannot sponsor them all. (or go
quickly bankrupt). I guess I can be honest here and put down the positives
and peeves, and how as a ride manager you might be successful in getting support
where others may not.
*Remember, besides an altruistic desire to support the sport (many of us are
also riders) the main point of sponsorship is **advertising**. I *will* sponsor rides
where the Ride manager has a clear idea of how they will promote my company. Things
that make me want to donate are:
stuffing the ride packets with my catalogs, (I do a one page summary of
my product line so the ride packets don't get too big).
Mailing me a list of the ride attendees with addresses and phone numbers
Mailing me a list of their local AERC/NATRC/ECTRA membership
Putting catalogs out on the ride registration table
Allowing me to set up at the ride and sell as part of the promo
Letting the riders know who sponsored the prizes at the awards ceremony
Ad space in the local newsletter/magazine
Letting people know if you use the product and like it (promo)
Not all of these suggestions need to be carried out, whatever is feasable *do it*,
and tell us that you are doing it.
* Write a letter requestig support (commonly referred to in the trade as *begging*
letters, if written impersonally). Let the intended sponsor know if you like
their stuff, or saw their ad somewhere, or your friends use some item. We like
to know if our advertising campaigns are reaching the intended group of people.
* Mention the nature of the ride, the number of attendees and how you intend to
promote the items. Follow the letter up a few weeks later with a phone call to
make further contact. It's amazing what talking to a real person will accomplish.
* My pet peeve on this topic is impersonnal (photocopied) form letters from someone
I have never met all but demanding a donation. Remember, obtaining donations is
a competitive effort, maximize your success rate. I always redonate to rides where
the people winning the prizes as well as the ride managers send a letter of thanks
(and even (Yiiippeee) a photo of them using the product!) which of course goes into
our photo albums for conventions and advertising. My trick as a ride manager (learned
from and NATRC buddy of mine Rita Schlim) is to include a stamped addressed envelope
and thank-you card with each prize so that it is easy for the rider to "do the right
thing" Alot of us sit down and actually make whatever we donate for the occaision, so
a thank-you goes a long way. To illustrate this, I recently sewed the outfits for the
Pacific North for the N.American Championship. It was a really nice touch to see the
company listed in the endurance news as having donated to the team. Simple, but effective.
*Another (big) pet peeve: Donating a prize depletes inventory (or takes time). Its
amazing how many riders will call me after a ride and want to change the item. (Besides
being rude), it costs us again to do this. I have learned by necessitiy to donate items
in black (boring), or charge a restocking fee, or just send gift certificates (not as
effective for product advertising). At the bare minimum, if you want to exchange an item,
preface it with how much you enjoyed the ride, how thoughtful of you to donate etc, and would
it be possible to exchange for some other color (you would be happy to pay the difference etc).
Its amazing how people can be demanding in these situations. To avoid this unpleasantness
as a ride manager, I like to emphasize a no exchange policy unless authorised by the
This about covers it,
Dom and the boyz (fadjurs, Jur Prize, Marco Fadjurs, Arabick Jayare)
Dominique Freeman | "Life is short, science is long" |
email@example.com | |
Hewlett Packard Laboratories, | |
Palo Alto, CA USA | |
Phone: (415) 857-8596 | |
FAX: (415) 852-8576 | |