Why the BMC needs Commercial Partnerships

With recent changes to Sport England funding, the BMC has been exploring alternative funding options, including turning to our friends in the outdoor industry for help. Read on if you want to know more about our plans for partnerships.

BMC work is financed primarily by membership subscriptions, travel insurance and Sport England funding. Typically 20% of our revenue – for work such as youth, development and competitions – comes from Sport England funding. With the goals and requirements of Sport England changing some or all of this funding may be cut.

Consequently, the BMC has been exploring alternative funding options, one of which is to turn to our friends in the outdoor industry. Outdoor industry companies are usually started, and run, by passionate outdoor enthusiasts who understand our purpose and would like to support our good work. Our members and the wider walking and climbing communities that we represent are also their customers, so there is a natural alignment of interest. Historically the BMC has worked with a large number of Outdoor industry companies through our retail discount scheme, Summit magazine advertising and Event sponsorship. More recently, we have explored a more structured and higher-value approach to commercial partnerships incorporating explicit endorsement of Outdoor industry organisations.

As endorsement is a new aspect of partnership working for the BMC we have undertaken a process of consultation with the membership, starting with an informal workshop on a National Council weekend in February and an online opinion poll. A discussion paper (which included the poll results) was explored at the local area meetings in April. The membership feedback we received from the Area Meetings was invaluable in establishing the guidelines of how we should engage and manage commercial partnerships. The issue was then debated at National Council on 23 May and the principle of commercial endorsement was approved unanimously. 

Where do we go from here?

Over the next few months, Simon Lee, the Commercial Partnerships Manager, will seek to enter into affinity partnerships, ideally with four key partners: a BMC-recommended Retail Partner, Climbing Equipment Partner, Clothing Brand Partner and Mapping Partner. Any arrangement will be put forward to the Executive Committee for approval. We will not enter into any partnership lightly and it will be with a very long-term view in mind with the aim of developing the relationship over many years as a true partnership where each of us benefits in an equivalent way. A key feature of any partnership will be that smaller independent retailers, equipment suppliers, clothing brands and mapping companies who we currently work with, will continue to be able to offer discounts to BMC members and promote themselves through advertising in Summit and Event Sponsorship.

Finally, if you work for, or know, any large business which would have an interest in being a headline partner to either support our environmental agenda, or provide long-term sponsorship to our world leading GB competition climbing team, then we would love to have a discussion.

How will this affect me as a BMC member?

You will probably receive emails from us with discounts, offers and product information from our Partners which we hope you will support. The logos of any partners may feature on the BMC website and printed literature.

This is a new venture for us and we will review how our partnerships work on an ongoing basis. If you have specific feedback or concerns with marketing and communications then send an email to alex@thebmc.co.uk. Alternatively if it is a bigger issue requiring debate then add it as an agenda item to your next local area meeting. We are at an early stage, and there maybe hiccups, but do bear in mind the good reasons we are doing this and be as supportive of our commercial partners as they will be supportive of the BMC.

Interested in supporting the BMC?

Are you interested in being a commercial partner, corporate partner or event or competition sponsor? Contact simon@thebmc.co.uk / 0777 378 2763. 

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