Alleycat Sponsorship
May 4, 2009 7:13 PM   Subscribe

Help me find national sponsors for the alleycat-style bicycle race I'm putting together.

I'm helping to put together three alleycat races to benefit the Thanda Project in South Africa. One thing I'm having trouble with is finding national companies who can sponsor the races. What I need are prizes from them - although cash to donate to the Thanda Project would be excellent.

Because I need material for prizes, I'll want bicycle companies only. I will only need a few of them, and I hope that I can use their donations for prizes for the 'series' prize, to be handed out after the third race. As each race will be in a different city, prizes for each race should be strictly from local businesses.

What companies should I contact? I've currently got feelers out to Velocity, Chrome, Reload Bags, Alchemy Goods, Swobo. (Planet Bike cannot sponsor anything that 'promotes unsafe riding', which an alleycat does. That's understandable.)

Please mention any other company with a national presence that would happily sponsor an unsanctioned, beer-soaked (charity!) bicycle race.
posted by suckerpunch to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total)
If you're a 501c3, you might consider Fat Tire. I hear they can be handy.
posted by aniola at 9:30 PM on May 4, 2009

Who's organizing this? Do you have 501(c)3 status, or are you at least registered in all applicable states as a non-profit? What would a company expect to get out of the sponsorship? (Besides a good feeling, which they can get by giving to their own favorite charity.) Booth? Logo on promotional materials? Naming rights? They want marketing opportunities; you want to keep things under the radar. How would they be assured your organization will deliver the event as promised and not flake out and keep all the gear? If you get busted or someone gets killed, will the company be implicated in the resulting bad press and bad feelings among local cyclists? Could they be hit up with a lawsuit?

These are questions any company is going to ask when you approach them. If you've got some answers figured out ahead of time, it'll be a huge help. You could try to partner up with an established non-profit so that contributions go through their 501(c)3, but this is unlikely given the nature of the event.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:46 PM on May 4, 2009

This is not exactly a good year to be looking for bike sponsorship. Races everywhere are being cancelled, pro teams are folding...heck there are even rumours of Asana going under before the TdF. When the economy is in the tank, discretionary spending is the first to be cut.
posted by randomstriker at 10:40 PM on May 4, 2009

Best answer: As others have said, you need to elaborate a little on "alleycat-style bike race." Is the race a true alleycat, unsanctioned by city/county officials and without anything approaching liability insurance? If so, most major sponsors are going to stay away, for good reason. I'd affiliate with a 501(c)3 if you could. Otherwise, start looking for local bars/bike shops to kick in prizes or at least steep discounts on things. Drink specials and the like. Another option might be to start calling up your friends, the bike geeks with way too much gear in their basements. See if they'd be willing to donate gear to the cause.
posted by craven_morhead at 6:32 AM on May 5, 2009

Response by poster: We've avoided 501(c)3 status as it's been unnecessary to date. (This will be the third alleycat we've put together. The first two were Cranksgiving events, with a cumulative total of a thousand pounds of food and $1300 donated - we deliver.) This is a true alleycat with all of the liability issues that the term implies, but I've seen enough such races with one or two sponsors with national/international distribution of products. (Our first race's top prize was a large bag generously donated by Chrome.)

We will be contacting every single LBS and bike geek we can get our hands on, so no worries there. I'm just looking to contact as many companies as possible to gine this the greatest possible chance for sponsorship - cast a wide net - so I need ideas. (As randomstriker says, the economy's in the tank, so I'll be beyond thrilled if I somehow get two companies to pony up.)
posted by suckerpunch at 6:01 PM on May 5, 2009

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