by Annamarie from Marketing at Full Speed (Reprinted with Permission)
Many race car drivers and teams are using crowdfunding websites these days to try and raise funds for their racing through donations. It looks very tempting to do as a fast and easy fix to get the money you need to race. You go in with high hopes that this can be the answer to your problems. You get all your family, friends, neighbors, teachers, co workers and facebook followers to donate and you push and push them to keep donating to hopefully reach your goal amount. Although many racers and teams are on these sites, pushing for “donations” I have watched these very carefully and have come to the conclusion that very rarely does any racer actually meet their funding goal, or even get halfway in most instances.
Putting yourself in a position of asking fans to give you money to race can shake the ground you have as a leader and role model that they can look up to. Repeating the “donate to my racing” process over and over will lower the respect and trust of your fans after a while.
Looking at this as quick fix or a true funding solution, is like putting a tiny band-aid on a gushing, bleeding wound. It does not solve your long term funding problems. You will face the same problem over and over again because you did not properly address the root of the problem to begin with.
Before you resort to crowdfunding sites, ask yourself these questions:
“Have I really done everything I can to properly and consistently market my brand and celebrity to potential sponsors?
“Did I take the time to learn how to really attract sponsors and create the value for them that they are looking for?”
“How would a sponsor look at me if they saw my donation page? Would I look like a valuable marketing representative and spokesperson to them?”
“Why do I have to resort to begging everyone I know for donations to race? How did I get myself in this position?”
“Do I want to look desperate and needy? Is there another way to do this with dignity, professionalism and integrity?”
“How many race drivers and teams are successful in doing this, are they successful in the long run or are they quickly back to being at square one?”
“Have I really addressed the root of my funding problem? Have I looked at this from a business perspective and taken my emotions out of it?”
Why you might be looking to do these crowdfunding sites:
You are hoping for a quick money fix
You are thinking "hey, let's give it a try and see what we can get"
You don't know how to attract sponsors so you feel this is your only option and it looks easy
You feel you have no choice or no other means to get money to race
You really do feel desperate and at the end of your rope
Listen to me: It’s not your fault because you just don’t know what to do and you just want to race! I get it - and I know this can be painful and even heartbreaking! This is why I am grateful you are here reading this blog today and you can learn what you need to do before you make some big mistakes! I am here to tell you NOW and HOW and WHY before you resort to setting up a ‘donate to my racing page’ on these crowdfunding websites which can hurt you more than help you long term!
Negative Reasons - Why You Should Not Be On Crowdfunding Websites: (That can actually damage your racing career…...)
“Please Donate To My Racing” Asking your fans to give you donations looks desperate, weak and needy. Think about this: You are on the same funding website as people who need a roof over their head or a life saving operation. You are not a charity case. You are an individual who gets to do something special as a sport for fan entertainment, which is race cars. You should be considered an athlete, spokesperson, celebrity leader in the community. Someone to look up to. You should be the one leading the way to help the people who need the roof over their head or a life saving operation. To attract sponsors, you must represent yourself on a level of leadership and competence, not need. Companies run away from “needy” and look for “competence”. Once you show yourself weak and needy in a public forum such as crowdfunding, it is hard to break that image and can hurt you longer term.
“Help Me Live My Dreams” Shows that you are not that serious about your career and have not planned it from a business standpoint. This hurts your credibility as a race car driver from a professional level. Sponsors want drivers who look at their careers as a business with a clear plan and a vision, that they can attach their brand to and see the current and potential value ahead for their own business plan. Forget the ‘dream’ and make a development plan with action steps based on your vision to succeed. That’s how the dream actually happens.
“If I don’t raise this money I can’t race” Acting like this is your last resort and you have no way to come up with viable solutions to keep your racing career alive other than to beg your fans for money to do it only shows one thing: You are looking for an easy way out and not willing to do the marketing work or learn how to do the marketing work to solve this problem. Sponsors want problem solvers and solution oriented, creative marketing representatives for their brand.
“We only need to raise a few more donation dollars to do this” If you cannot show that you can even attract small dollar sponsors to fill the rest of your budget, how do you ever expect to show any potential sponsor in your future that you are worth any dollar amount to them and their company? This is about publicly showing your value. You are broadcasting to the world that you have little or no value to a sponsor - think about this. What you speak over yourself becomes your reality - your mindset and becomes the perception that everyone has of you forever.
Positive Alternatives: (That can actually build your career AND attract sponsors….)
Raising funding for a true charity or non-profit - shows your spokesperson/celebrity power and value - if you can make/raise money for an accredited charity you can prove you can do the same for a corporate sponsor
Building your own web presence on the internet with profile pages on social media and community sites that link back to your marketing/sponsorship opportunities on your own website. Create exciting “CTA’s” (Calls To Action) - that attract people to want to look at your sponsorship/marketing partnership opportunities posted on your website
Online store on your website to sell your own merchandise and your sponsors products, you earn your own profit and show your sponsors you can push sales for them, too
Fan Rally, Open House or Fan Party with food and door prizes, sponsor booths - sell tickets and offer as a part of the membership for your fan club members, entertaining your fans and sponsors at the same time while you make a profit
Building your business relationship pipeline - Using the ‘time off’ from racing to go and build business relationships for next season and beyond - attending networking events, business conferences, and tradeshows. Build that rolodex and create the LIKE, KNOW and TRUST factor with powerful people who can actually write big checks in your future
If you have a “compelling story” start speaking - such as you are going after big racing goals, overcoming adversity, and you want to inspire people and rally support around you - book speaking appearances at community events. Do this in a giving way - because you want to inspire others. Speaking to groups is the most powerful thing you can do to attract potential sponsors
Build public social proof of your marketing value - Show your pride, integrity and professionalism by publicly and constantly showing your marketing skills. This is sponsor attractive like a magnet.
Never let them see you sweat. Always show yourself as a capable marketer, ready to give huge value. Show yourself prepared to powerfully give a company representation with turn-key marketing programs in place. Never show yourself weak, needy and drowning in your own pity. Companies want powerful, capable representatives, with a can-do plan that is building for the future. Sponsors RUN AWAY from weak, needy and drowning people looking to be saved who will pull their company down instead of UP. Show you are going UP and ready to carry passengers first class.
Be an overcomer and a giver in any circumstances. If you are having a down year or a struggle - show what you are doing to overcome it with getting out in the community and building your marketing value and giving to others. The more you give, the more you receive. Even if you don’t have a running racecar, bring yourself and build your personal branding power to an event or company appearance with no strings attached. Sponsor attraction is more about who buys into YOU and your celebrity/spokesperson value - it has less to do with the car or how many races you have won. Understand in the modern market, success with sponsors has everything to do with how you use your name and personality to help others and drive business. This is how a company can see a fit and directly benefit from being co-branded with you. Companies LOVE stories of overcomers who inspire, give and pull in droves of people wherever they go - they want to be associated with this power you have!
Look at “crowdfunding” in a different light. Instead of trying to get your fans to “donate” to you, build up your fanbase on social media and focus on giving them love, support and appreciation for them just being there. Build the LIKE, KNOW and TRUST factor with them. Get them to support you financially by purchasing your official merchandise, joining your fan clubs and purchasing your sponsors products. When you have their trust, they will support your sponsors and buy your t-shirts. That’s how your “crowd” can truly “fund” you LONG TERM and for many years to come. Happy Fans = Buying Fans = Happy Sponsors = Racing Funds That Keep Coming :)
When you put yourself and your racing on any level of needing donations, it sends a red neon message to the world that you are so un-marketable and un-sponsorable that you had to resort asking your fans for money. You are better off sitting home forever than doing this. It can be irreparably damaging to your marketability and value to any sponsors who look at you, now and in the future. I know you don’t want this to happen because you tell me and I don’t want this to happen to you either!
But how can you keep yourself from getting to this point and shift things quickly in your favor? By doing these three things:
1. KNOW THAT YOU ARE TOO VALUABLE TO RESORT TO ASKING FOR DONATIONS
2. UNDERSTAND YOU DESERVE A SPONSOR AND YOU ARE GOING TO GIVE YOURSELF THE RESPECT AND VALUE FIRST SO A POTENTIAL SPONSOR CAN SEE THIS TOO
3. VOW THAT YOU WILL CREATE THE MARKETING VALUE AND FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN OFFER/GIVE YOUR FANS AND SPONSORS, NOT WHAT YOU NEED OR CAN TAKE FROM THEM
Start by SHIFTING your MINDSET with just these three steps - and watch things start to turn around for the better for you, your team and your career.
YOU CAN DO THIS! I BELIEVE IN YOU! - Annamarie
Need more help? Learn exactly how to attract more sponsors and advance your racing career with Marketing at Full Speed's proven system designed to give you results in today's sponsorship market.
For more information about coaching or to read more, visit http://www.marketingatfullspeed.com/
If you would like to follow the advice in the article and start your own online store for your racing program, contact Crate Insider at 828-468-1160. We help people get started with their own online stores.