There are two sides of the coin when it comes to considering sponsored events and I dislike both of them. There are the events that other people do and ask you for sponsorship, and there are the events that you do and have to ask other people for sponsorship. The latter were the bane of my life during my schooldays. No activity could be undertaken as a kid without someone deciding that it was worth sponsoring: sponsored runs; sponsored swims; sponsored press-ups. While I was perfectly happy to undertake the actual activity itself, I used to squirm with embarrassment about asking anyone to sponsor me to do it. It added an unwelcome element of competition to the activity, too. It was no longer sufficient to perform well at the run, or the swim, or the press-ups; it was now all about the money. Who had obtained the largest number of names on their sponsorship form; who had brought in the biggest amount of wonga.
Nowadays, I am more likely to be asked to sponsor someone else than the other way around. The type of activities, which can be sponsored has expanded, too. For the most part these are no longer even ‘events’ as I understand the term; people are looking for sponsorship for activities that I consider just to be part of normal, everyday life: sponsored silence; sponsored supermarket shop; sponsored breathing. That, or they are undertaking an activity so breathtakingly dangerous––or mind-boggling stupid––that the risk to life and limb in no way justifies the meagre £36.23 that they raise by doing it: sponsored bungee-jump; sponsored ice bucket challenge; sponsored tombstoning. That, or they are asking to be sponsored for something, which is so pleasant that by all rights they should be paying money to do it: sponsored trek to Machu Picchu; sponsored cupcake eating; sponsored sunbathing.
Of course, lurking behind supporting all of these sponsored events is one simple fear. Have you entered your sponsorship amount in the correct column on the form? Rather than put your figure in the total box, have you actually entered it in the ‘per mile’ column? And is that marathon run that you thought you had so generously sponsored to the tune of £10 actually going to cost you £260?
© Simon Turner-Tree
Simon Turner-Tree is currently doing a sponsored grumble.
Check out more of Simon’s grumbles in Watching Life Pass Me By.