RICHARD PEARSON, CEO and founder of PledgeSports, has answered the burning questions all athletes have about choosing crowdfunding for sports funding.
Crowdfunding is ideally designed to be the new sports funding model for the 1,000s of athletes in minority sports like water polo, touch rugby and lacrosse, that do not have access to government support.
Here Pearson explains the many benefits of crowdfunding for sports funding
Let’s begin. . .
How does crowdfunding for sports funding work?
Crowdfunding is a way of raising money online through a large number of people – that divides the cost of the campaign. Athletes, teams and clubs without outside funding have constant costs to deal with, like kit, travel and entry fees. They use crowdfunding to raise sports funding for these costs.
Why should an athlete use crowdfunding over other forms of online sports funding?
Many online sports funding websites are focused towards charity campaigns. Crowdfunding allows athletes to fundraise without this objective – and to instead give back to supporters though a rewards programme.
Crowdfunding adds value to an athlete’s sports funding campaign by building exposure and awareness. It is a massive development in sports funding, as it can build funds in the future, as well as during the campaign.
In this way, PledgeSports is a unique way of raising funding as makes the athlete a brand, a commodity, and this can help them on their path to securing commercial sports sponsorship.
Offline methods are still popular with sports funding, are these dated?
For rising athletes, any sports funding is good funding. However, online funding can heighten their value dramatically through exposure, reach and online payments. By going online, an athlete has the potential to reach a thousand times more people.
Online payments provide an easy and efficient way to transfer money. We have seen some great examples of people setting up campaigns that have reached very wealthy individuals and companies in other countries.
Christina McMahon, a boxer from Ireland, had her PledgeSports campaign seen by a person in New York, who happened to be originally from her local town. He wanted to help, so between him and his friends, they donated over €5,000 to fund her campaign.
Similarly, the Tanzanian women’s hockey team’s campaign on PledgeSports was shared throughout the hockey community in Europe, and most of the funds raised were from these hockey players. This shows the power and reach available to athletes with access to an online payment link.
How important are online payments?
Online payments mean quick, painless and paperless transfers. Security and safety can be a fear for some users, but PledgeSports uses Stripe, a secure and trusted payments platform.
Athletes can send this payment link to anyone anywhere in the world and seamlessly receive payments. With PledgeSports, this link remains open and linked to their bank account – even after the campaign had finished, so athletes can continue to receive money.
How does PledgeSports differ from regular crowdfunding websites?
PledgeSports is a niche crowdfunding platform dedicated to sports, so all our followers are dedicated to sports too. We back-up every campaign with dedicated posts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, paying to boost a campaign’s post to help it get started.
We teach people how to get the most out of their campaign too – with any crowdfunding campaign, you need to let as many people as possible know it exists. We do this through search engine optimisation on our website, and media engagement, pushing stories out to local newspapers and radio stations.
What qualities of a crowdfunding website should athletes look for when choosing for their campaign?
Choose a platform that will best market you! This will help you get the most publicity, and ultimately funding.
How can athletes get the most out of a campaign on a sports crowdfunding website?
Be prepared: Athletes should tell as many people as possible about their campaign as early as possible. When launching, it’s important to get early support lined up and people to help with sharing across social media.
If crowdfunding is the big thing of 2016, why choose Pledge Sports?
PledgeSports is a niche crowdfunding platform, we specialise in our sports expertise. Other crowdfunding websites can spread themselves too thin by offering all different types of funding campaigns, and allowing campaigns to get lost in the clutter. With PledgeSports, extreme care and consideration has gone into publishing each campaign.
PledgeSports is not simply a sports crowdfunding platform, it’s a funding consultancy platform too. We do not exist as a human-less website, as others may. We consult with athletes throughout their campaigns and ensure a campaign is all it can be.
We are masters in marketing and apply our skills and expertise to each campaign. We help athletes get a great-looking campaign, with engaging content, helping them to advertise themselves through many different platforms, including social media. And we advertise through our platforms and paid marketing methods.
Tune in next time for the third of these insightful interviews with our founder. In the meantime, checkout who’s new on our Sports Crowdfunding Successes page.