How Can a Charity Fundraise Through Sailing?
Most charities never give thought to the concept of fundraising through the sport of sailing. The world of sailing has many misconceptions that often keep fundraising via sailing well and truly off the fundraising manager’s radar.
Sailing is traditionally thought of as an expensive and elitist sport, shrouded in mysterious technical terms and reliant upon having participants with existing knowledge of sailing and require the fundraising team to have a knowledge of the sailing industry and connections within it. These perceptions are all completely untrue and this blog will explain why a partnership with the right sailing business can ideally position your charity to benefit from this unexpected course of funds.
An initial point to consider is that there are existing sailing events that a charity can approach and request to be considered as the event’s official charity partner. These charity partner positions are quite hard to gain – they may take several years for an application, are often decided by a committee and some events will only consider a sailing related charity. A guide to some of these sailing events is outlined below.
An alternative idea is to stage your own sailing event. There are several advantages to this route. There is no lengthy application process and the event would be owned and controlled by your charity in its entirety. The event would be named after your charity and would provide the certainty of the long term generation of funds for your charity. With most existing sailing events being relatively hard for a charity to become associated with, staging your own regatta is likely to be the best way forward for a charity looking to raise funds through a sailing event.
Existing Sailing Events – Becoming and Official Charity Partner
There are many sailing events in the UK that can be approached by charities to apply to become that regatta’s official charity. Below are a selection of the main regattas in the UK, but there are many more smaller events that could be approached by a charity.
Cowes Week – www.cowesweek.co.uk
Cowes Week is the largest regatta in the UK, attracting hundreds of yachts and tens of thousands of spectators each year. We would recommend contacting Cowes Week via its Admin email address on email@example.com to request information on the charity application process.
Round the Island Race – www.roundtheisland.org.uk
The Rounds the Island Race is one of the largest participation sports events in the UK and attracts over 1,000 yachts each year. We would recommend approaching the Sponsorship and Partner contact on firstname.lastname@example.org
Dartmouth Sailing Week – www.dartmouthsailingweek.com
Dartmouth Sailing Week is one of the largest sailing events in the UK calendar and a highly significant event for the West Country. The regatta has an annual charity.
Little Britain Challenge Cup – www.littlebritain.co.uk
The Little Britain Challenge Cup is an industry regatta for the property and construction sector that raises money for several charities each year and has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for these charities. Most charities appointed tend to be sailing related. Contact details for sponsorship approaches are on the Little Britain website.
The Silicon Cup – www.thesiliconcup.co.uk
The Silicon Cup has raised well over £1 million for charity and is an industry regatta for the IT Sector, attracting many blue chip IT businesses, such as Google, Dell, Lenovo and Amazon Web Services. Charities can be sailing or non-sailing charities.
Your Own Sailing Event - How Does a Charity Raise Funds Via Its Own Sailing Event?
Well, it is all about partnerships and networks and there are two main things to consider here.
Firstly, it is often much easier to launch and maintain a successful charity sailing event with corporate support. Corporate support is often easier to gain if you can focus your event on a particular business sector, such as IT, property, travel and tourism, finance and banking, legal and accounting, hospitality, pharmaceutical and healthcare or other business sectors. This will provide participants with great networking and profile-raising opportunities and will make promotion and targeting of the regatta more focused and successful.
Secondly, finding the right sailing business to partner with is very important and then working with them, in partnership, to deliver a sailing event to your supporters and partners that adds value to them, as well as raising funds for your charity.
Finding the right sailing partner – well this is the really easy part! Prometheus Sailing is one of the leading charter companies in the UK, with the only fleet of perfectly matched yachts, a unique expertise in organising charity sailing events and a highly successful track record of raising millions of pounds for charities.
Once you have found your sailing partner, consider these questions for your event:
- Can you focus on a particular business sector, geographical group or other element that the regatta can focus on?
- What time of year is best for you and for your target market? For example, avoiding the school holidays, end of financial years and particularly busy times for your target sector.
- Weekday or weekend? Again, what is best for your potential participants?
- 1 day, or 2 day event?
- Location – the Solent is by far the best location in most cases, but the event can be staged from various locations in the Solent, such as Portsmouth, Southampton or Cowes.
- Evening function? It is not essential to have an evening function, but we generally find that evening functions allow you to include great fundraising activities, such as auctions and raffles.
What will Prometheus Sailing do for you?
To put it simply - almost everything, leaving you to focus on the successful promotion if your sailing event to your partners and networks. Prometheus will organise yachts, crew, catering, branding, team kit, accommodation, race management and
Let’s look at two examples of charity regattas Prometheus Sailing helped stage in 2023.
Case Study – Sail to Reward Regatta for Room to Reward
In 2022 Prometheus Sailing was introduced to Room to Reward, a small but innovative charity that works with hotels to offer unused rooms to charity and community heroes as a way of thanking and rewarding them for their work.
Room to Reward work within the hotel and hospitality sector and so it was relatively simple to decide that their regatta should focus on this sector. They selected a one day even ton a Monday, avoiding busier days of the weeks for hotels and restaurants and they choose Southampton as a location for the regatta, as they have great links with the Southampton Harbour Hotel in Ocean Village.
We were delighted to partner Room to Reward and to announce that the first ever Sail to Reward Regatta raised an incredible total of more than £20,000! 12 teams had a fantastic day on the water, with top R2R supporters, the brilliant Starboard Hotels, taking home first place and the coveted Mermaid Gin trophy.
Commenting on the regatta and partnership with Prometheus Sailing, Room to |Reward said: “A huge, huge thanks to everyone who made such an incredible day possible. We are immensely grateful to Simon Boulding and the wonderful team at Prometheus Sailing for such an incredible event, the amazing team at Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa for an unforgettable evening, Dee Caffari for a memorable after-dinner speech, Xav and everyone at Mermaid Gin for being fantastic headline sponsors, Elliott Hunter for capturing such brilliant images, our wonderful event sponsors, supporters, auction prize donors, everyone who bought a boat and came to dinner.
We are a small charity and the staggering amount of money raised will help us make a real difference to charities, communities and the Hidden Heroes who do so much for them.”
You can read more about the inaugural Sail to Reward Regatta here: https://www.roomtoreward.org/sail-to-reward-2023/
Case Study – The Russell-Cooke Silicon Cup
The Silicon Cup was established in 1999 by a group of IT professionals who wanted to create a sailing event to help raise money for charity. more than 7,000 competitors have taken part – building new relationships and cementing old ones for business benefit. Working with charities, the regatta has raised well over £1 million that has helped to change the lives of people across the UK.
Shaun Fröhlich – Regatta Founder explains how accessible the regatta is; ‘Our participants don’t need any special equipment, they don’t need any experience, if they’ve never set foot on a boat before that’s fine.’
Prometheus Sailing has partnered The Silicon Cup for several years and Prometheus Sailing’s Managing Director Simon Boulding has supported the regatta for nearly 20 years on a personal and professional basis.
Justin Langford – Chief Executive at Coeo and Silicon Cup Committee member mentions ‘We cannot thank Simon and Prometheus Sailing enough for their support to run this event every year. The ethics and effort from Prometheus goes beyond what we could hope for in a partnership’
Nearly £50,000 was raised at the 2023 staging of the Russell-Cooke Silicon Cup, which was divided between the 3 regatta charities of Andrew Simpson Foundation, Genie’s Wish and the Greig City Academy.
Andrew Simpson Foundation Receive Their £16,000 Cheque From The 2023 Silicon Cup
To discuss how we can help your charity stage a successful charity sailing event, please contact:
Managing Director, Prometheus Sailing
Tel: 02394 350505