Building Bridges Between the Corporate World and Your Club

While club memberships are still the greatest source of income for most cycling clubs, it is becoming increasingly important to attract support from outside the club. In particular, the cycling industry and local bicycle shops can often provide both monetary and other types of support to take your club to the next level. The following eight tips will help guide this process.

Build the relationship. Approach the local bike dealers and other businesses in your town and pitch how your club can help build their business. For example, put on a cycling event that’s financially supported and sponsored by local businesses. Often, donations by the local business will exceed your expenses.

Make fundraising a priority. Raising money to support your club is as important a job as your club’s advocacy efforts. For the club to survive, attracting new funds is vital. Making this a priority at each club meeting will ensure your club will continue to grow. Fostering the growth of a corporate fundraising expert within your club is one way to secure the sustainability of your club.

Go for the money first. While it is generally easier to receive donated services, discounts or products from a bike shop or bicycle company, it is better to first try to garner financial assistance. Many companies include a charitable component to their budget, and expect to receive solicitations for assistance.

A well-written proposal is key. When applying for a corporate sponsorship, the following guidelines are important to follow:

a. Keep your proposal concise, pitch exactly what you want, and specify how you plan to use the funds.
b. Create a graphically-pleasing, professional proposal.
c. Include a detailed budget – how’s the money going to be spent?
d. If possible, include how their financial assistance can benefit the company.

If your proposal is accepted, thank the donor. All too often, funds are received by a club, and the contribution goes unacknowledged. A terrific way to plant the seed for future donations is to write a personal note thanking the donor, and explaining exactly how the money was spent and the impact that it made.

Establish a track record. Keeping a well-documented log of your club’s ability to effectively fundraise displays your club’s professionalism and credibility.

Ask for contributions other than cash. If you are turned down for financial support, ask for other donations that could benefit your club. For example, ask a company if they would be willing to provide a link to your club’s website on their website.

Look for opportunities to build a partnership. For example, offer to provide labor and setup assistance for a charitable event held by a local disease-fighting organization and ask to share in some of the proceeds.