Why does SKJ have sponsors and sell shirts?
When SKJ first started, it was a small group that spontaneously gathered as a social event. The popularity grew quickly, and the event was leveraged as a toy drive for Shriners Children’s Hospitals. Over the years we’ve had DJs, demos, and “beverages,” and even national and professional riders began to join the event.
In 2014 the event started to get big. In 2015, we held one of the largest events at Fort De Soto. Park Rangers made it clear at that time that we would need to have permits and insurance going forward, or we could potentially risk losing kiting access to the park. However, we were a band of kiters with no organization or money behind us. If we were going to have to buy insurance and pay for permits, we would need to raise funds.
Robert (SKJ founder) organized a meeting this year with some of the community’s core volunteers. One of the common opinions shared by the group was keeping the event the “community’s” philanthropy, and not a corporate or commercial event. Shane and Robert also shared aspirations of growing SKJ to be the premiere kiting event in Florida -the kiteboarding community’s version of ‘Burning Man’ (One can dream).
Regardless, of how SKJ grows, it has become big enough that we needed to raise money. In order to not lose control of the event, we needed to create an organization.
Sources and Uses
This year, Shane and Robert invested about $2,000 to incorporate and launch SKJ (incorporation, website, logo, accounting, shirts, hats). Shops can “sponsor” SKJ with a $50 fee and a commitment to help organize and supervise the event. We are happy that ALL of the local shops are sponsoring SKJ for the first time this year, further bringing the community together! (Thanks, guys). We also have “brand” sponsorship opportunities for $200. We ask brands to contribute by providing demos. We’re excited that many of the leading brands we ride are pitching in. Lastly, if other companies want to be a sponsor, we ask them to contribute something to the cause or the event (i.e., they are non-paying sponsors).
We are pleasantly surprised with the participation of sponsorship. It looks like we might get close to breaking even. In the unlikely event there is a cash surplus, we plan to leave it in the company to fund next year’s event, so that Robert and Shane don’t have to come out of pocket each year to fund the event as it grows.
What can you do to help?
#1: First and foremost, donate a nice toy. Honestly, that’s enough, and that’s what this event is about.
#2: email firstname.lastname@example.org if you can volunteer next year to help with the event – we all have day jobs and we can use the extra hands.
#3: if you like the shirts and hat, we make about $10 for each item