A big whip round!
This is all about the raising the funds for the expedition. My big focus right now. The costs are estimated at $150k. Not an impossible amount to raise, but certainly more than I've got in the piggy bank. The costs come from equipment and clothing and services like insurance, assistance/risk management company, security and guides. Then there's the logistics to get me and the gear there, plus then the costs on route.
With the sponsors on board it's getting there. However, there is still more to raise.
This, like so much of the preparation for this expedition, has been a steep learning curve. Research at the start gave a few options. Some said to create a sponsor pack and have a bronze, silver, gold type approach. Others, just get a meeting a chat. Others said consider naming rights for the film, or even each country. Such as, 'Updates from Rwanda brought to you by....'. Some said getting cash is impossible, others were more optimistic. (I focussed on the latter.)
It's definitely not easy. In my experience, just getting a reply to an email is a massive win. More often than not, I press the send button and then it's crickets. What I guessed from the start, and has been the way it's worked out, is that the people more likely to get behind this are:
friends, colleagues, family - and they've been amazingly supportive
CEOs and company managers who are adventurers themselves and get why I want to take a challenge like this on
Companies looking for content and are willing to flick you some cash or more likely gear, to have updates to provide to their followers showcasing their gear in action
Then I've had some luck with writing content. A women's adventure magazine in the UK, Intrepid have commissioned me to write an article on risk management and World Nomads are commissioning me to write some articles for them.
The majority of my leads have come from mates introducing me to their contacts. One has been a huge help, Ben, who was the driving force behind raising the A$6m to rebuild our surf club. I now have an all new level of respect for him having started to try to raise funds for this expedition! An exercise in banging your head against the proverbial brick wall!! Saying that, I have had a lot of success and on the way got to meet some amazing people in the world of business and finance. People I would NEVER have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.
I've also applied for grants. These are almost as rare as hens teeth and not surprisingly you're up against some stiff competition.
One resource that has been enormously useful is 'The Business of Adventure'. A regular email with updates and advice on all things relating to raising funding for expeditions and adventures. For those looking to fund an adventure, check it out here and sign up for the newsletter. A wealth of information.
Right now I am continuing to send the emails. My approach generally is to ask to meet for advice on where they might be able to suggest I get support for the expedition. I think that's a better approach than an outright 'Show me the money' request. I'm stalking my mates on LinkedIn to see if they have any contacts that might be of use. I'm messaging friends directly to ask if they have any suggestions. Plus Googling to find potential sponsors to approach. Rocket Reach has been handy for this - it's a website that has the emails for a lot of people out there. Not always 100% accurate and not everyone's on there, but I've found it useful.
I've set up three channels for donations to be made. Below are what I'm using at the moment:
1. Australian Sports Foundation
A recent massive result was the Australian Sports Foundation approving my raising funds through them. Since they were founded in 1986 by the Federal Government they've helped over 1,200 individual athletes, organisations and sporting clubs raise over $350 million for sporting activities. They provide a platform that allows donations to be tax-deductible for Australian tax payers! A HUGE win that will hopefully help attract more sponsors.
Here is a link to the page: https://asf.org.au/athletes/sarah-davis/
2. Gift Registry
On top of that I've set up a gift registry. Most people do this for weddings. Well, I've never been married, but this is very much my big day (or BIG 7 months). So if if people like the idea of buying things for the trip, check it out. You could, say, buy the stove to help keep me fed throughout the trip (for which I will be eternally grateful!). I'm still adding to it the list, so do check back. There are some optimistic, borderline cheeky things on there and some that'll make you smile... In case you wonder why there isn't more camping gear on there, it's because Kathmandu are very kindly supplying it.
Here's a link to the registry: http://thkfl.com/paddlethenile
3. Direct Donation
Alternatively, there is direct transfer, in which case just email me. Or follow the donation link on the website to transfer via Stripe - good for international donations. I've set this up rather than GoFundMe as the transaction costs are much lower. Saying that, I'm still considering setting a GoFundMe page for the reach you get with it.
This and the options above are on this website: https://www.paddlethenile.com/expedition-funding/
While I don't want to have too many options, I do want to make sure there channels that work for everyone who's keen to support. For companies interested in sponsoring there is a pack to outline how a partnership agreement can work to ensure we get a mutually beneficial outcome.
So I will keep at it. To everyone who has helped with this fundraising, THANK YOU. You have all been amazing! A little bit more funding in and I'll be able to set a date.
And it will come, of that I have no doubt!
Sarah x x