10 ways to raise the money to row the Pacific

The single greatest challenge that any potential ocean rowing crew will face is the challenge of raising the funds to be able to participate.  Ocean rowing is not the cheapest sport and when operating in a dangerous environment like the open ocean it’s important not to cut corners when preparing your boat and equipment.  We are now offering more opportunities to buy a seat in an ocean row boat which reduces the amount you need to raise and means you can focus just on fundraising (not on equipment and boat selection).

How to raise the money that you need?  Here is our guide with 10 ways to help raise the funds you need to row the Pacific.

1 – Build your team
There may only be two or four of you in your ocean row boat but you cannot underestimate the value of your friends and family when preparing to row an ocean.  Your network can be dramatically expanded allowing you to spread word of your campaign to many more people than if you were working alone.  If you’re not a web designer then chat to your friend who is and see if they will help you out by building you a website.  The same goes for promotional leaflets and business cards and any other jobs that you need help with, from media contact to photographer / videographer.

2 – Patrons and celebrity endorsement
Getting a well-known celebrity or other public figure to either be patron for or endorse your campaign can significantly increase both the media coverage you’ll receive and also improve your chances of sponsorship.  Convincing someone in the public eye to become involved in your challenge can be difficult but it even just a message of support that you can include on your website can help to validate your challenge and is a great morale boost.  It can also highlight a charitable connection that your campaign wants to promote and increase your media profile all of which can in turn help get a corporate partner interested.

Princess Margaret

Princess Anne looks over the ocean row boat that is raising funds for a charity which she is patron of.

Peter Andre (L) with 2014 Entrant Daryl Farmer

Peter Andre (l) with 2014 Great Pacific Race Rower Daryl Farmer (r)

3. Charity Connection
Almost every participant in the Great Pacific Race will be rowing to highlight and raise funds for a particular charitable cause.  If you can find the right corporate partner who are also already linked with that charity then there is an increased chance that they will sponsor you or their patron might be interested in your challenge and choose to support you by attending a launch event (see above).  Try to ensure that the charity that you are passionate about a particular charity for a reason which helps to build a media story about your challenge.

4 – Sponsor a mile
On your website why not set up the opportunity for your supporters to sponsor a mile of your journey.  Keep a note of who sponsors which mile and remember to give them a shout out as you cross their mile during the race.  Put a full list on your website maybe with a message of support against each donated mile.

5 – Swag
T-shirts, polo shirts and caps all emblazoned with your campaign logo and website make great swag to sell both via your website and at any event that you are at.  If you buy a batch if T-shirts the per unit cost can be quite low giving the potential for each sale to be quite profitable.

Sales of shirts with your logo on can help to boost your funds

Sales of shirts with your logo on can help to boost your funds

6 – Launch Dinner
A great way to get things started for your campaign is to arrange for a launch dinner.  If you’re a member of a rowing club then see if they will gift you use of the room for the night or at least offer it to you at a reduced rate.  You should also be able to find external caterers to when put on a tasty spread at a reasonable cost (or buy in some freeze dried food pouches to give your guests the full ocean rowing experience) and then it’s your job to get out there and sell tickets to your friends, family and supporters.  Maybe you have a friend who can DJ for the night or know someone who plays in a band who can help make the evening special.  Add some extra events in the evening to help set the tone.  This could be a 50m ergo sprint, showing off your boat, an auction for some donated items or some Hawai’ian themed music and drinks.  Don’t forget to have a donation bucket available throughout the evening too.

An ocean rowing launch event with a sit down dinner at a local rowing club.

The origami ocean row boat name labels got launched in the river later in the evening.

7 – Can shaking at events
Why not see if you can exhibit your boat at boat race, boat show or travel exhibition?  Be sure to have flyers and business cards at the ready as you talk about your challenge and show off you boat to those attending and of course be sure to have a bucket or can ready for donations to help support you.  Perhaps you can also get an indoor rowing machine along to the event and run a sprint competition which people pay to enter.  Most exhibitions will try and charge for this but mention your charity / celebrity connection and try and get the space for free because you’re unlikely to make your exhibition fee back in donations.

Showing off your boat at an exhibition can be a great way to raise awareness of what you’re doing and increase the chance of you meeting a potential sponsor.

8 – Sell bits of your boat
Obviously you can’t hand over sold parts of your boat until after you’ve finished but that doesn’t necessarily stop you from selling them before you set out.  This could range from an oar to short lengths of line from your boat tied into knots.

A short length of bow line tied into a bowline and mounted on some card with a description of where she has come from makes a fine presentation piece for auction or sale.

9 – Raffle of donated items
It’s always a lot easier to get free products from a company than it is to get cash out of them.  Why not set up a raffle and use all the products that you receive as prizes?  How do you pick the winner?  Selecting the winner could be getting those who enter to guess the duration of your journey or the number of meals that you eat during the row.

raffle prizes

Its always easier to get donated product for raffling off than cash so try your luck and you never know what you might get back.

10 – Corporate partnership
The holy grail of funding is to find one or more corporate partners / sponsors to help fund your challenge.  Of course no sponsor is simply going to hand out cash without thinking about the return on investment (ROI) so think about what you can offer a sponsor before approaching them.  This could be a wide range of offers from testing their “extreme” product in the most extreme environment to putting their logo on your boat and website or naming your campaign after them.  You’ll need to design a sponsorship proposal which gives full details of what you’re doing and what you can offer them.Sending a hundreds of letters out to well known companies is unlikely to yield any response, instead focus on local companies and those where you or your friends have a contact who can help put your proposal into the hands of the right person and ensure that it gets looked at.  Sponsors want to see that you are committed to the project before investing so sign up for the race first, get a website and social media pages built and have flyers and business cards printed up and launch your campaign before contacting sponsors.  Sign up for the Great Pacific Race now.

Of course if all else fails then it’s time to break into your savings and max out the credit cards for the experience of a lifetime as you take part in the World’s leading human endurance challenge.

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