How triathletes can win financial backing on crowdfunding sites

Founder of TalentBacker.com shares his advice on how promising triathletes can win financial support from strangers and fulfil their potential

Beau Smith

Are you a talented triathlete dreaming of taking your athletic career one step further, but need financial support?

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A new website called TalentBacker.com promises to help talented individuals in any discipline across sport, music, entertainment and art looking to gain the necessary funding to take their talent to the next level.

Ian Brocklehurst, co-founder of TalentBacker

“The first thing to bear in mind is that UK Sport funding for triathlon has actually been increased this year,” says Ian. “However, as always, this will be disproportionately aimed at the very top level, and for those triathletes at the middle and lower levels funding will still be a real problem. 

“The main reason why triathletes need relatively more help than other athletes is because they are effectively competing in three sports at the very top level. So they need a great race bike, the best swim suits and all the running kit. Crowdfunding is becoming more and more mainstream so it is no surprise that triathletes with these ‘special’ funding needs are turning to this method of raising funds.”

He reveals that since launch, TalentBacker has raised over £18k for six triathletes – Sarah Mackness, Douglas Roberts, Leah Peploe, Beau Smith, Tom Stead and Craig Lane – with an average of £2.6k per athlete. This makes triathlon the site’s biggest single sector, although other sports which have done well include swimming, cycling, martial arts, tennis and water polo. 

Here are Ian’s top tips on how triathletes can win financial backing on TalentBacker:

Use your time wisely

“It is important to utilise every day of possible fundraising,” he says. “This can be tricky for athletes who juggle travelling to events, training and managing a social life but it is vital to set time aside to focus on maximising your efforts. If there are a couple of weeks coming up when you are away on holiday for instance, make sure you don’t sign up to begin fundraising before you get back.

“We found that 37.6% of fundraising is achieved in the first week and that a positive first week often results in a successful campaign. A great start gives potential backers confidence that the individual is committed, talented and has the determination to succeed. The last week is often seen as the final push to hit and exceed the target, and should also be taken advantage of; this is when some backers and supporters have waited to see if the campaign will succeed before committing their financial support.

“Remember, it’s likely that you will only have a limited amount of time, so make sure that you use every one of those days convincing people to back you – make the most of the opportunity!”

Spend time on your profile

“Ensure you provide plenty of background in your profile so that potential backers can get a clear picture of who you are and what you want the money for. It’s great when talents are able to get their personality across to the public, whether via a video providing a visual, or simply some blurb expressing how much passion they have for the sport. 

“It never hurts to include a list of successes to date. Have you taken part in any competitions lately? Make sure you let people know, as this will give them confidence when donating money – they want to know that their money is going to someone who has a good chance of putting it to good use.”

Spread the word

“It can often be difficult asking people for money. However, the great thing about fundraising websites is that it makes the entire process a lot less direct and removes the pressure of asking friends and family. Another benefit is that you can reach a wider range of people fundraising in this way, as people that you don’t even know may see your profile and want to help.

“However, it is crucial that you drive these people to your page in the first place. Use Twitter, Facebook and even your local newspaper to spread the word – who knows where (and who) your story could reach.”

Thank your backers

“At TalentBacker, we encourage individuals to think of ways, big or small, to thank everyone who has helped them reach their goal. Whether it’s a thank you email or an invitation to watch them compete, this can make all the difference, making the process rewarding for all involved. 

“We realise, of course, that one fundraising mission will not be enough to fund an entire career in triathlon – but it can often be a stepping stone. You may be focused on qualifying for a particular competition. A new bike for instance might improve your time, allowing you to finish in a better position and qualify for national teams – leading to possible future funding later down the line.

“Launching and running a campaign is not easy and requires a lot of effort for the whole 28 day campaign, but for those willing to push, ask and never give up, the rewards can be amazing.”

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Have you sought financial backing on crowdfunding websites like TalentBacker? How did you get on? Let us know in the comments below!