/ Crowd Funding for mountaineering/climbing trips
I'm currently planning another big trip myself and am toying with the idea of setting up an account.
The idea is that you contribute a fixed amount of money towards a trip and you get something in return. Be that a thank you letter, postcard, print, ect.
Would you pay some money to help some other climbers go on a big trip?
If so why?
If you are not so keen why wouldn't you?
Here are couple of recent examples:
It seems a bit distasteful to ask complete strangers for donations so that you can go on holiday!
I wouldn't donate on that basis alone, but if some was to give some benefit back (i.e. some climbing and the rest volunteering in the area) then I'd be more inclined to donate, but I'm still not massively sold on the concept of funding someone's holiday.
I just got one via FB for a snowboard descent in Kamchatka. It just said 'highest mountain' blah blah blah Kamchatka and didn't mention the name of the peak - presumably Klyuchevskaya. If you can't be arsed to even name the mountain to the strangers you're asking money from, I don't see why anyone should pay for your holiday to ski off it.
Maybe if some young and talented and relatively accomplished guys were going to try something really unusual, or inordinately expensive, for which it would be impossible to save up for with a second job or get sponsorships for, then yes, I'd probably throw in some cash. But for most things, no.
Kickstarter was meant for business, as an innovative way to garner investment, not support expeditions.
That Greenland one you link to above might be OK if the students are putting in as much of their own cash as they can(?) and I understand insurance is a big PITA. I'm not so keen on them offering to name a route after a sponsor, that's pretty tacky and has some poor precedents in the Himalaya (recently) and Antarctica (years ago).
IF you're doing something big & momentous enough then you should be able to get additional expedition support in the form of grants and sponsorship in which case asking strangers to support you on top of that seems a bit rich.
I think the kickstarter model whilst quite interesting in theory in practice it rarely seems to work. For it to work it has to be doing something totally new. The person floating the idea has to have significant support/following in the first place as people have to have a real interest. Finally there has to be something in it for the donaters. This is why in reality only a small amount of musicians can make it work. As usually they're established musicians , who have left the major label fold, and are in the position to give something back e.g. a signed copy of the new album you helped finance. This may also be applicable in the case of a small number of innovative business ideas. Though arguably if your idea is really good odds are you shouldn't need crowdsourced funding to get funding in the first place.
These are the points most people looking for crowdsourced funding don't seem to understand. Which is why for most it won't work and odds are in the process you will just annoy a whole lot of people who would otherwise have supported you.
I don't know - it's a fairly similar idea really, isn't it? The grant money and sponsorship money have to come from somewhere - by asking the general public on kickstarter or indiegogo you're just cutting out the middle man.
I'm going to Patagonia this autumn, have a couple of new routes in mind but nothing major. I've booked the flights now so am committed to going anyway.
I had it more in mind for bigger trips, saying going to climb Broad Peak Alpine Style or the Manezo Ridge. Would folk be more inclined to support attempts on expensive objectives that the climber would otherwise not be able to afford to do?
Promise number 4 seems a tad dependent on the postal service in the countries through which they will pass. There /are/ good reasons why I don't promise my parents a postcard when I go to central Asia...
I can't say I'd contribute to something like this but I can see people who would. Personally, I think it is overstepping the mark to let someone else choose a route name in return for money, but I don't see what is wrong with offering something small like sending a postcard or bringing back a souvenir. I wouldn't pay for something like that but I can see how people would, and I don't think a reasonable person could object.
I bet when I am 85, housebound and bored out of my mind, it will seem really appealing that, for a few pounds, I can help some young people pursue their dreams (the dreams I pursued when I was young!) and in return get a cool postcard from some far-flung part of the world. That will really make my day (provided the government hasn't defaulted on its public sector pension commitments).
Also, we are all (I think) happy that money from our BMC / AC subs goes towards funding deserving expeditions. Morally, what is the difference between being happy that money from your BMC / AC subs goes towards funding deserving expeditions, and choosing to contribute directly to a deserving expedition yourself?
On that note, I have some applications to write...
Sort-of-maybe... if I read a UKC news story saying "young british climbers make inspiring cutting-edge ascent in the greater ranges" then I'd be pleased to see it, hence in principle I guess it'd be nice to chip in some cash beforehand to support the attempt if I could afford it.
In practice I'm not sure that people would feel strongly enough to make a particularly significant contribution to the overall cost of the thing, particularly because not many of us know enough about mountaineering to identify an attempt at something really unusual and cutting edge just by reading the sales pitch.
However in the future when I imagine I'll be more money rich, but have far less time to go these trips I'll probably be much more inclined to support them.
You can get those personalized postcard, where you up load your own photo and write your message. The company then prints them off in the UK and sends them for you. Selling these might work well. It's not like you are asking for something for nothing.
My other thought was selling prints of the very best photos of the trip. Would you pay £30 for an A4 print of a photo of this quality?
I know it's cheeky mind!
There is absolutely zero chance that I would contribute money to pay for someone else's holiday - so I wouldn't contribute to such a kickstarter fund.
And on that note, you* can dress it up as whatever you like, including a charity trek or helping to build a well or anything else. The bottom line is that you are asking for me to pay for you to go on holiday and then trying to justify it with a small amount of "good work".
If you want to raise money for a good cause, then that's great and admirable but please don't try to con people into paying for your holiday.
* Not specifically aimed at any one individual - and I know you're not doing this Tom - but the whole charity trek holiday thing just irritates me!
PS Good luck for Patagonia!
I'm leading the greenland trip referred to above. Thanks for your comments, very interesting to see people's opinions.
We see it not so much as a way of cutting out the middleman from BMC/AC subs but more related to people who are interested in reading about 'young british climbers climb something interesting'. The BMC's grants have been squeezed since the Olympics, commercial sponsorship (at least of the financial kind) tends to be concentrated around a small number of top athletes and it's quite hard for people like us to fund ambitious, expensive projects like the greenland trip - even though we are putting in all that we can reasonably afford.
That said, I had the impression that a lot of members of the general public were interested in reading about those kinds of trips, so thought we'd try to raise some capital from that so that we can make it happen. It hasn't been going massively well so far to be honest, any advice would be much appreciated!
Asking people to help pay for 'our holiday' is obviously not what we want to be doing - why would anyone want to do pay for that, right? We figured that if the trip is worthy enough to be in the running for grants etc., it's no longer in the category of climbing holiday, but I'd be interested to hear what people think.
For the record, we are offering to name a route for a sponsor - but only upon consultation with the team to make sure it passes muster! Certainly we wouldn't be naming anything 'Coca-cola' or similar, it's more intended for people who might have a genius route name in the bank and want to see it writ large.
No. Repeat: NO!
I agree with you about not conning people into paying for your holiday, it was our main concern when designing our page. One of the things that really gets to me is being asked to 'sponsor' people to go on expensive trips 'in order to raise money for charity'. I'd like to think that we're being more honest than that, the money we're trying to raise is transparently to fund the expedition itself. If you don't want to contribute to other people's expeditions, that's fair enough, though! Particularly if you're saving for one of your own, like many posters here.
> No. Repeat: NO!
Why are you shouting?! ;-) I'm only interested in people's opinions.
Expeditions by their very nature are either 1 of 2 things. You're either taking time of work/uni/life to go climbing/see somewhere new/etc. e.g. a holiday (whether you care to admit it or not) or you're being paid by someone to find out what is in a specific area or using your superior skills to take someone of lesser ability to somewhere new or interesting to them e.g. work (though granted probably quite interesting work in the later case). The days of the great explorers where it was considered, to a degree, in the public interest to venture out into the wilderness are sadly over. Plus if truth be told most of those individuals were either independently wealthy themselves or in certain cases had major backing as it was seen in the national interest. Nowadays I believe to go beyond self financing or the odd exped. grant, which are as far as I know usually only nominal sums to assist towards total costs, you need to be doing something really cutting edge. Which I would add, and no offence is meant in saying this, I don't believe anything that's been mentioned above is.
As to this point whilst it's largely true. Having met a fair few top guys like this over the years. Barring a tiny minority of this top elite who were sponsored from a very young age as they were child prodigies. Even the elite athletes who get most of the sponsorship started out self funding their early trips until they built up enough of a reputation that others would sponsor their endeavours. Even at that a lot of them don't get half as much financial support as is widely believed.
As I've said above if you're going to try a kickstarter type project you have to be offering something in exchange for the money. Whilst it's all well and good trying to tap into the idea that some people are generous and like to see others doing something interesting. In reality the number of people who are prepared to contribute financially to do this is extremely limited. To go beyond this small number you've got to offer them something for their money. This will in itself take your time and possibly some of the money their donating.
PS I don't mean your post to be taken out of context by quoting it differently to the order it was written in.
Thanks Frank, very helpful! What kind of thing do you think we should be offering?
I was simply emphasising. Couldn't find a way of italicising or boldly showing my font so capitals nearest I could do. I wanted you to understand my (strongly held) opinion.
By the way are my ME Guide Pants in the post yet?
> Thanks Frank, very helpful! What kind of thing do you think we should be offering?
That's the hard part. As it has to be something good enough to make people want to separate with their cash, yet not so hard or expensive that'd you have been better off just trying to earn the money in the first place. This is where people in the arts have a slight advantage. As they can always provide exclusives of their work.
> I was simply emphasising. Couldn't find a way of italicising or boldly showing my font so capitals nearest I could do. I wanted you to understand my (strongly held) opinion.
> By the way are my ME Guide Pants in the post yet?
Posted on yesterday. Should be with you soon.
I am going on a spiritual yoga week in the Andalucian mountains in July. I intend to learn about the spirituality of yoga and come back to spread the word to make the world a better place. Any sponsorship welcome.
I'm sorry. I couldn't resist. :-)
P.S. This is a real holiday so if anyone REALLY wants to pay for me, great. :-)
> Posted on yesterday. Should be with you soon.
Exactly as promised. Cheers.
Kickstarter often = cap in hand.
It has its place - with projects such as this to get photography into primary schools http://www.indiegogo.com/foto8 but in general it's not something I support.
I'm aware of one 'professional landscape videographer' raising £5000 to make a DVD about hiking in the Cairngorms in winter. 'Investors' receiving a finished DVD in return. I assume the funds went towards train fares and B+B costs plus production time. Remarkable brass neck in my book.
Regarding 'youth' trips and expeditions I'd prefer to buy an old school raffle ticket, get my car washed or attend some other 'traditional' type of fundraiser.
I saw that as well but didn't view it in the same way as you. It seemed he was clearly offering a product at the end and some people, particularly who know his work, seemed perfectly happy to pay for it. I'm not sure what's wrong with that - it just seems to be cutting out various middle men.
People were evidently happy chip in - if they're happy to part with £ then fine. Very little information was available about him or his work - it seemed a lot of 'fans' were supportive based on a few previous timelapse / short sequences.
I questioned him about crowdfunding commercial projects and his reply was along the lines of "what do you know about funding creative projects". A simple look at the bio on my website would have indicated I probably know a reasonable amount.
It may be that those now entering the creative industries simply expect others to support projects - I'm of the view that you should 'earn your spurs' - if your passionate about a project then put your own money where your mouth is. Other creative work can be supported by Arts Council grants etc - such support comes with rigorous validation. Its easy to build a web profile with little substance which makes me wary of crowd funding.
I'm not convinced by that - maybe there are people chucking loads of money at rubbish ideas by talentless hacks with good pitches, and if so then that's their problem and not mine. But as more and more chancers hop onto the crowdsourcing thing, the only reliable way to actually get people interested enough to stump up the cash seems to be some fairly serious legwork - generally by spending quite a long time putting your stuff out on a smaller scale and getting people interested.
For instance, I know a classical musician who's trying to crowd-fund a recording of some new music, and she isn't just putting up a kickstarter pitch and watching the cash roll in, she's going out regularly and calling in favours to put on free concerts to get people excited about her playing and the music she wants to record.
Maybe I should have added 'put the leg work in' after my comment about putting money where your mouth is.
Your music friend is doing all the right things - indeed it appears she is out there 'earning her spurs' - I was referring to online only based profiles / funding.
The problem is there are hacks with poor pitches and yet an expectation that the world owes them a living - and crowdfunding can lead people to think the money will roll in.
My point is basically that if people are crowdfunding they should have -
Experience in the chosen area - and have some evidence to prove it.
A concise and well thought out pitch
Genuine return on investment options for potential funders
A reasonable chance on achieving their stated aims ( which brings us back to point 1 )
Maybe we're talking about different people because the guy I mean (and I just genuinely can't remember his name at the mo', apologies) is very active on twitter and within a blog community of ultralight backpackers and the like. My impression is that his blog is well established and well known in that community and that he does videography work professionally for various 'outdoor' related firms and institutions.
That'll be him.
There's a world of difference between being a popular blogger / having followers on twitter and being a film maker able to make a riveting 50 minute documentary about the Cairngorms in winter.(Having never been before ! ) Based on a few short kit promo's.
Heh ho - he pulled it off an got folks to chip in 5k so he can spend the winter making a film. You can only begrudgingly doff yer cap to the brass neck of it all.
So who knows, maybe it will be rubbish or maybe it will be brilliant - but I guess going via Kickstarter means that you're only going to get support from people who - for whatever reason - trust you. You're sceptical, which is fine, so of course you wouldn't invest.
> I had it more in mind for bigger trips, saying going to climb Broad Peak Alpine Style
As was done in 1957 on the first ascent? By broke guys in leather boots and wool shirts?
So Tom, if I buy a nice poster from you so you can go on holiday, what I'm actually doing is helping you buy a nice house in Sheffield! In that case, I'll take two! How's the rucsac business going, by the way?
Can't say I'll be buying it - whilst I follow him on twitter, his website is a shabby mess IMO and that's enough to put me off the DVD.
That did also occur to me, though i figured that it's actually his GF who's really buying the house. In this particular case I'm guessing Tom's timing could perhaps be somewhat better.
- this isn't an investment as such; there isn't going to be a return on the money invested, so really it's more a case of soliciting donations from people who are willing and can afford to support it.
- even though there won't be a cash return, you should look really hard at ways of giving something back to your investors. A friend of mine does corporate fundraising for arts organisations and always gives them recognition/appreciation to sweeten the deal.
So I'd look at ways to give your financial supporters something in return. My guts says people who want to support something like this financially are those who dream of doing it themselves, but are too busy/unfit/etc to actually do it. So you could shoot loads of hd video there, find a reasonably talented video editor and give sponsors a documentary type thing recording the expedition afterwards?
You should also look at targeting your likely donors - try every business you can think of that might have money to spend. Big businesses have budgets allocated to maximising tax breaks by making charitable donations. Schools might get involved if you did some kind of educational spin on it - go round and do talks with lots of photos for the kids afterwards? When dealing with bigger businesses etc, set it out really clearly. Give them a simple outline - three suggested donations, small, medium and large, and what you'll give them - their logo on your website/sponsors roll, documentary film and inspirational talk for senior management etc, and you might be surprised where you find support...
Best of luck!!
> As was done in 1957 on the first ascent? By broke guys in leather boots and wool shirts?
Wow. Gulp! Did they have to pay for peak fees and Lasion Officer?!
To Jon and Frank4short: You're a cynical pair. But I hadn't thought of getting posters printed!
Oh, it was a lighthearted throw away comment Tom! But I'd have thought with your fast Cassin Ridge ascent last year you'd not have a lot of difficulty in attracting a sponsor or two, no?
> Oh, it was a lighthearted throw away comment Tom!
Unfortunately cash is pretty hard to come by.
> Wow. Gulp! Did they have to pay for peak fees and Lasion Officer?!
But they probably walked all the way from Vienna, which really is uphill both ways.
I see you're a student who is then taking 17 weeks off to go climbing in nice places with friends. I can't *believe* nobody wants to give you any cash to do that, Tom. Talk about a nation of shopkeepers!
I'm not giving anybody any of my money to fund their holidays. I don't have enough of it to fund my holidays! But as somebody said above, perhaps when I'm an old duffer and can only have adventures vicariously I might be tempted.
Whether it works or not is an empirical question though. You won't know until you've tried it...
I wouldn't contribute Tom as others have said, having a holiday on other people although if you can get away with it, then why not?
Serious question, do you have a job? I suppose I'm being old fashioned thinking you should work hard, (even a temporary job) save hard, train hard then go off on your trip. I know it probably doesn't fit in with plans, but then that's life.
Then there is the possible new responsibility of a mortgage, bills, food costs, travel etc etc, are you not going to contribute to that? It is a pretty big commitment moving in together and I'm not sure buggering off on an extended climbing trip would be my other halfs idea of starting a relationship. Not having a dig, but that's reality.
Here are some circumstances where I might help pay for someone else's climbing trip:
As an investment in the cost of making a film, where I would get part of the profits.
If I was on the trip myself, and if I was rich, and if my mate wanted to come but he was poor.
If I was running a trip and I needed someone to do a job (lead climber and rope fixer up the technical sections, for example).
But by and large, part of the aesthetics or ethics is that you do it yourself. And if you are poor, you find other ways of doing it.
Myself, I don't have what people call a job - middle aged bloke whose employer went bankrupt, struggling to find work in these times - a common enough story these days.
So I do freelance work, leading treks for adventure holiday companies that advertise that their trips are led by "British guides." That way someone else pays me to go to interesting places, and by carefully selecting the treks I got to carry out a recce at someone else's expense. This year, the plan is to get paid to lead a trek, wave cheerio at the airport, and then head off back to the hills to attempt some new routes.
My point is: there are other ways to get to distant mountains than by paying for the air fare yourself.
Have you thought about courier work to get the travel paid for? Work for a travel agent to get cheap flights? Work for a bank that does business in Delhi or construction work in Lhasa or geological surveys in Greenland, and get a trip out there.
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