Practice authenticity: Be honest about building your expedition around a cause. "If you want to be the first to pogo the length of the Nile, do that. But don't bolt on that you're doing it to solve hunger, unless you really are," says David de Rothschild, who's funding his Plastiki voyage entirely through sponsorship.
Target accurately: Research companies to make sure you fit with the kind of projects they're looking for. Then send proposals to the right person (marketing directors, communications managers, PR reps) before they plan their fiscal yearit's different at every company. Get contact info and fiscal schedules at Hoovers.com (from $75 per month).
Baby steps: Develop relationships with companies by being realistic. Unless you're Ed Viesturs, don't ask Eddie Bauer for $30,000 to climb K2.
Present concisely: "We want to see the idea and its output in one simple page," says Neil Fiske, CEO of Eddie Bauer. "Is the expedition original and meaningful? Will there be dispatches, articles, video? What's the proposed budget?"
Golden rule: Over deliver. It guarantees future funding.