Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Mission Statement & Reference Materials

The Mission of this "Funding Science" blog is simple:

1. Explore the potential for corporate, foundation, and individual donor funding for serious science.

2. Discuss proven strategies and tactics for securing financial and in-kind
support for both field and laboratory research.

3. Share best practices and sources that lead to sustainable futures, particularly for scientists on the cutting-edge of research in bleeding-edge
venues (the Global South, war-torn settings, etc.).

Blog Specials:

1. Free articles at Craig and Vartorella, Inc. website. Privacy policy: we do not share, rent, or exchange e-mail addresses.

2. Book deal: Funding Exploration: the Challenge and Opportunity for Funding Science and Discovery in the 21st Century.

Bill Vartorella, Ph.D., C.B.C. is the co-author with Don Keel of an acclaimed new reference book published in the Marco Polo Monograph Series (#9) last July. In 370 pages, the authors detail proven strategies and tactics for attracting the estimated U.S. $50-100 Billion in private sector funding available worldwide for science and exploration annually--or more, if event sponsorships and niche marketing to core consumers are added into the equation. The book, crammed full of hundreds of unusual funding sources, is the result of first-hand experience with expeditions, corporations, and foundations in the U.S., U.K., Europe, South America, Middle East, etc. Mini-Case Studies include paleontology, mountaineering, coral reefs, endangered species, Mars analogues, archaeology, biomedical applications, and other scientific specialties. Contents:....1. Planning for the Sustainable Future of Science & Exploration....2. Pushing the Extreme/Managing the Risk (budgets, etc.)....3. Board Dynamics (how to create a Board that gives & gets $)....4. Investment Philanthropy (attracting & retaining individual donors)....5. Corporate Funding (navigating the corporate jungle and specific approaches for paleontology, coral reef research, mountaineering, endangered species, and a wealth of other disciplines)....6. Asian Funding (including direct mail prospecting for new donorsand corporate connections)....7. Foundations (how to target and solicit foundations that fund 20% of all proposals, insider guides to foundation decision-making, etc.)....8. Capital Campaigns (specific advice/model for exploration institutes)....9. Summary (and latest funding trends, post-9/11)....Bibliography and Funding Sources (the book contains literally hundreds ofpotential funding sources, including the arcane and rarely-used) List prices: $44.95 hardcover; $36.00 paperback: Summer, 2004. To order by credit card from Marco Polo, call TOLL-FREE 866-966-6288. For a signed copy, send a check payable to Bill Vartorella, P.O. Box 1376, Camden, SC 29020 USA.


Shangrila said...

FUNDING EXPLORATION is available for purchase from Shangri-La Publications and there is a full description of this book including sample chapters from the book! Have a look!!

Bill Vartorella said...

To read more about the acclaimed
book, Funding Exploration, see


Bill Vartorella said...

Copyright William F. Vartorella,
from Expedition News


"Machíavellí, jungle fever,and expedition
sponsorships: a survival guide"

by William F. Vartorella, Ph.D., C.B.C.

Within the corporate jungle, sponsorship fever is a contagious malady and expedition leaders are especially susceptible. Nearly 7,000 expeditions worldwide will go into the field this year. Many are dangerously under-funded, risking life, limb, and reputations. The days of "bwana" in a pith helmet, slashing through the undergrowth of darkest wherever with a sponsor's decal plastered on his forehead are over. Modern sponsorships are not for adventurers in short pants. They are about real politik, Machíavellí, and high-stakes market share.

This is the world of the zero-sum game. One loaf of bread. Winner take all. To paraphrase The Prince, one must consider "whether a prince has a state of such resources as will enable him to stand on his own feet in case of need or whether he must always have the assistance of others." For expeditions, therein lies the rub.

Sponsorships are not altruistic in intent. Their goal is the achievement of commercial objectives. Companies sponsor expeditions for:

* brand visibility

* image creation, change, or repair ("remedial public relations")

* niche marketing and merchandising

* client relations, business-to-business (B2B), etc.

Simply, a sponsorship is a cash or in-kind fee paid in return for access to whatever commercial potential a company believes associated with your expedition's image, objectives, technology, and, especially, "fan" base. Best guesses place 30% of companies allocating perhaps 20% of their marketing budgets to sponsorship (perhaps U.S. $60 billion annually) as opposed to more traditional sales and communications tools. Seventy per cent have some sports focus. Still plenty of money available for serious expeditions. To negotiate with the new princes in the New Economy, remember this:

1. The market is global/local, driven by lifestyle geodemographics, experiences, and emotion. In a virtual sense, the public must share the balloon, space plane, underseas rover, or the rainforest with you. Your expedition is not a sponsor billboard. It's an educational experience for consumers targeted by a sponsor. Old Economy, Sponsor was focus. New Economy, Consumer is king and the princes know it.

2. Your expedition is only as strong as its trademark(s) and brand equity. They embody your "merchantability" and can be leveraged into serious sponsorship deals through co-branding. You, like corporate sponsors, are driven by a Mission/Vision Statement that defines you as much as discovery of some lost city, skirting the edge of space, or face-to-face with some denizen from the deep.

3. Your #1 priority is getting a media sponsor, early. It is a magnet for other sponsors, as it guarantees their exposure.

4. The supply chain/web of sponsors is your untapped funding pool. Business-to-Business (B2B) linkages are profitable alliances. The more high-tech your expedition, the more deeply you should explore B2B corporate donors, especially in Asia. In some developing regions 10,000 brands compete head-to-head with global brands. The locals are key targets, especially for in-kind support. Identify the brands in-country, create a "grid" of who, where, how much and why, and open discussions with the global subsidiaries or the locally-entrenched brands.

5. Public Interactivity is crucial to expedition sponsorships. Think Web-cams.

6. The true technology demonstrator and co-branding marketplace is the Internet. The "capture" of e-mail addresses, with permission and a posted explanation how they will be used by sponsors in exchange for prizes, discount offers, and other considerations, is a critical strategy. Create a consumer database for sponsors. This "product advantage" (PA) distinguishes you from competing expeditions.

7. The interface for the natural, built, and human environments will blur as expeditions become more environmentally "green" and adopt a Mission Statement with philanthropic goals and objectives to help local communities attain sustainable futures.

8. Social conscience = good business. Adopt a local NGO (nongovernmental organization). Help it raise money.

9. Specialist expeditions will evolve to exploit specific sponsor goals and objectives within discrete markets. These "hired guns" will bring high profile explorers, team, interactive Web site, and marketing and hospitality personnel to a project with a plan of brand enrichment for the "client" and his/her supply chain.

10. Measure success in consumer, as well as expedition, terms. New consumer lists for sponsors. New "lost" cities discovered. Consumer is #1, Sponsor is #2, Expedition is #3. Think in terms of "value added," "bonus circulation" to sponsors.

Someone once wrote, "adventure is the result of poor planning." Tales of adventure are fine before an open fire, but resonate far less in the sponsor's boardroom.

William F. Vartorella, Ph.D., C.B.C. is the lead co-author (with Don Keel) of Funding Exploration: the Challenge and Opportunity for Funding Science and Discovery in the 21st Century (Marco Polo Monographs #9; 370 pages; 2004). He is a Fellow of The Explorers Club and The Royal Geographical Society. Vartorella is a fundraising advisor to expeditions and has field experience in the U.K., Middle East, South America, and the U.S. He lectures worldwide on the theme of "sustainable futures" and can be reached at globebiz@camden.net or 803 432 4353.

Bill Vartorella said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bill Vartorella said...

Fall Funding Round:
1 September begins the traditional Fall funding round for foundations. This is the round in which you will want to compete for grants for several reasons: 1. As the last round of the year (not to be confused with open rounds, which mean your nonprofit/expedition can apply any time), it tends to be the least competitive (fewest proposals) because 2. most of the public believes the best time to apply is January which 3. isn't the best time as the majority of competitive proposals are submitted then, thereby decreasing your chances. Traditionally, foundations require rejected applicants to wait a year or at least one round, which means 4. the fewest proposals are submitted during the Fall Round. Moreover, people get busy during the American holiday season(s) and don't apply. Advice: get your proposal ready for submission beginning 1 September. For detailed advice, see Funding Exploration.

chaindropz said...

I am short on education and funds but I am not short on my interest in science. I invested in Ultracapacitors in May 2000. I think this is a disruptive technology that will invade most electrical devices. I think this is off what your blog is about but it covers your stated interest.

Bill Vartorella said...

For a simple explanation of how to "pitch" a documentary or feature film project, see an upcoming issue of Student Filmmaker. Our article breaks down the "elevator pitch" into parts and helps alleviate the fears associated with getting it right the first time.