Yes, it's expensive to climb the tallest of them all. A large piece of the cost is the permit fee: US 10.000 from the South side (normal route).
Add to that the costs for sherpas, gear, transportations, oxygen and such.
A low budget expedition will still require a good US 25.000 of you.
Some climbers save up and pay the lot by themselves. Most climbers try to find sponsorship for parts of- (or better yet) the total cost.
To climb the mountain is sometimes nothing compared to what climbers are facing in order to find financing for their dream. If you are a first of some kind, it will be easier since your sponsors can expect media.
That's why we so often witness record attempts of all kinds on Everest. Spanning over everything from being the first from your country to summit, to climbing the mountain blindfolded and backwards - or whatever it takes to get the money (and/or fame).
Another way is to make a film for a production company.
The trouble is that film-making requires skill, quite large costs are involved and it takes tremendous effort to roll a camera while climbing.
In addition, climbing films - much like other documentaries - doesn't sell easily. Better then is to get a contract with a broadcast network before the climb. They can cover the climb while it's ongoing and produce a film after the expedition. This is of value to money sponsors in terms of airtime.
Even better is to build a certain image for a company, brand or line of products. The adventure and dangers of alpine climbing are fascinating and attractive.
Everest really changed peoples outlook on us (much to our own surprise actually) and could do just the same for products and/or "sleeping" company brands.
Yet another way - and our favorite - is to "join a company" and make your climb a part of its happenings (fairs, promotions, sales pushes and the like). To attend an expedition, even if arm-chair only, can really boost the performance of the employees in the duration of the adventure. It brakes the routine bore, the staff gets into the fight and perform better themselves in the going.
A wild adventure with the company's name attached to it brings the staff closer together, promoting a feeling of pushing a joint aim. This feeling is otherwise hard to create, since it requires stepping outside the usual work environment and face something completely different.
Thus, the expedition helps the staff to view their usual problems with new approaches. Also, the workers realize that they're not so bad of after all ' compared to that sucker in the pitch-black tent with his beard frozen to his teeth - YOU are doing much worse!
Large companies spend a whole deal of funds on staff motivations. Your expedition won't even cut a major part of that budget.
You need to prepare your case, pick up the phone and call everyone. Don't get discouraged by a hundred No's and don't give up until you find a company that's in the market for you. Focus on what you could do for them, check their homepages, and talk to their people about upcoming happenings. Figure out a way that your expedition could be valuable to them in return for financing.
Combine one, two or all of the above stated sponsor give backs (media/film/image/happenings).
There are not so many of us doing these things out there (even if you are likely to get the impression in your initial approaches) - so you DO have value! Just keep changing your strategies - never the goal - and don't give up. This is the same approach that you will need later for your climb anyway, so start to get used to it!
The last and most important part is to give back to your sponsors. Underpromise and overdeliver. Too many failed expeditions also fail their sponsors.
Return gear for lend fast and neat, prepare some speeches, take nice sponsor pictures. It is not necessarily a fact that your sponsor will consider the expedition a failure just because you didn't make the summit . And on the other end - making the summit doesn't allow sponsor negligence.
Be loyal, don't double play with competing brands, build a good and lasting reputation. Being a good guy pays in the long run - just as in marriage!
Finally, should you fail to get the funds (and that happens to the best, so don't eat yourself) you could shoot some sponsor pictures anyway. Sell them after the expedition to return some of your own investments, savings and/or loans.
The sponsor will experience a serious emotional impact upon viewing the company's logos and products on Everest summit. If you couldn't sell them the dream, you might very well be able to sell them the fact!