I lot of athletes ask us at events how exactly they can raise money for their sport costs.
To be honest, there isn’t one exact path to funding your athletic career. A lot of athletes find different ways to make ends meet. Part-time jobs, borrowing money, provincial funding, parental help, corporate sponsorships.
The first thing you have to accept is that it will not be easy. If you’ve been in the game for some time, you know that already.
While there are no paved paths to easy money there are a few good places to start.
The best place to begin is an area you’re already an expert at improving.
As a committed athlete you already know how to go about self-improvement.
In terms of generating funding, in every case a funder will be giving YOU the money based on a reason YOU give them.
Here is a list of questions and starting points to work on your best asset, you!
How are your interpersonal skills? Are you likeable and interesting?
Being easy to work with is part of being a good athlete. It also relates to how others view you. If you are someone who is friendly, caring and honest people notice that. The only control you have over those who you cannot directly influence or speak to is your reputation. What will others say about you behind your back? Let’s hope it is positive and encourages the wider community to be interested in your sporting success.
What is your brand? What will people remember after meeting you?
Your brand starts with the little things about you. Are you always organized? Do you have a good idea of who you are. Truthfully, defining your real personality and brand will take time, but it all depends on your values. What is important to you? Think about those things. Also, remember that whenever you are putting anything out into the world it will reflect upon your brand. This includes social media, the things you say and even the clothes you wear. You are your own walking billboard.
How hard are you trying?
There is nothing more futile than an athlete who reaches out to a corporate sponsor for help without already showing initiative in other areas. No one likes to just give a hand out. As an athlete with a lot of pride, you shouldn’t be looking for that either. Evaluate your funding efforts over the past 6-12 months. Are you doing everything you could to squeeze every penny out of already available sources? Example: pick up extra hours coaching at your club, sell a few things you don’t need, apply for a few more grants you find online. Some of the best athlete sponsorship success stories tipped the scales because they showed a eventual supporters they were already making big efforts to pay the bills.
Most of all, believe it is possible. You believe that your sport dreams are within your reach, so don’t be discouraged if making a few bucks is hard at first. It can and will make a difference in your career.