The Australian Sports Foundation was established simply to help “Raise funds for the development of sport”. Therefore, Fundraising for your sport through the Australian Sports Foundation can be undertaken to benefit a wide range of projects or causes.

By registering with the Australian Sports Foundation, you are registering your organisation to fundraise, and your donors will be eligible to claim a tax deduction for their donation. Specific fundraising projects can be for anything which helps you develop your sport or your sporting organisation.

Some common examples include fundraising for:

  • Sporting equipment – including training equipment or playing/competition equipment and attire
  • Sports participation or development programs, including staffing of those programs
  • Facilities – administration buildings, high performance centres or stadiums/playing facilities
  • Sports science or sports medicine programs
  • Team travel

However, the scope is very broad and can incorporate anything that helps you develop your sport or sporting organisation.


There are 5 core areas that sporting organisations can use to fundraise for their sport or sporting organisation:


Traditionally most sports have engaged with corporates for funding in the form of sponsorship. However sponsorship in Australian sport is dominated by the top 5 mainstream sports and it can be really difficult for grassroots clubs or non-mainstream bodies to find sponsorships which are both meaningful to the sponsor and also the sporting organisation. One tax-efficient way for sports to access philanthropic funds through corporate fundraising is via corporate giving, whereby companies and organisations donate to a project registered with the Australian Sports Foundation and receive a tax deduction for that donation. Their return on investment is then measured through impact and change due to their donation rather than any material benefit or an increase in business revenue. Corporate giving can involve:

  • CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), which is a pool of funds reserved by many businesses to support community or charitable initiatives. This is generally a separate pool of funds to Marketing/Sponsorship and given that the Australian Sports Foundation is a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR), funds to support sporting projects can legitimately come from this source;
  • WORKPLACE GIVING. This is an opportunity to have the employers staff make pre-tax donations to their chosen cause through their payroll and is a really good way of creating a cultural bond between the staff and their employer, which may already be sponsoring the sport or sporting organisation concerned.


Sporting organisations have traditionally run events to raise money for their sport. Options available for a fundraising event include:

  • Gala dinners – which are generally an award night or special event whereby fundraising is undertaken via an auction or raffle. These events can incorporate a voluntary donation element at the time of ticket purchase, where the donation portion is tax deductible, or a specific call for tax deductible donations can be made on the night;
  • Corporate lunches – specifically business lunches, for corporates or intimate opportunities for organisations to gather well connected or highly valued contacts together with the aim of raising money for a specific purpose; or
  • Community Events – these come in many forms, including specific fundraising initiatives such as a fun run or an open day, or can be incorporated into pre-existing events such as a benefit day within your competition fixture program etc.


Traditionally this has been the most common form of fundraising, but is also the most labour intensive and increasingly the least effective. This is not a tax deductible stream of fundraising, however it still plays an important role within the fundraising mix of a large number of sporting organisations. Examples of social enterprise fundraising include:

  • sausage sizzles
  • raffles
  • sale of chocolate boxes
  • other retail based giving, with profits being retained by the organisation as their fundraising mechanism

A very common fundraising approach by many organisations is to seek a grant from the government or their governing body to help them achieve a specific outcome. More and more, we are seeing that successful applicants to grant programs are also undertaking other fundraising initiatives to support a matched giving grant from the government or a governing body. This is viewed really positively by grant-issuers, as it shows them that this is a project with community support and one which has significant meaning for the sporting organisation. We are increasingly seeing some grant-issuers refer applicants to the ASF to ensure that community fundraising is also undertaken.


5. INDIVIDUAL GIVING This is by far the most untapped area of fundraising in sport, but also the area which has the most potential through tax deductible fundraising.

There are 3 key areas of individual giving:

  • Major Gifts – these are donations of significant amounts from individuals to support a fundraising project. A major gift is defined as a gift of significant value to that sporting organisation and as such there is no specific amount to make it significant, rather a measure of relativity against other donations. Donors who make major gifts are generally supporting facility developments, high performance programs, next generation/youth programs or initiatives which have a social purpose.
  • Direct Response – this is mostly seen as a fundraising campaign focusing on members, supporters, family or the wider community. Donations in this space are normally smaller in size and are often made as an add-on to another transaction such as membership or registration, or are made towards a very specific purpose as a result of a specific appeal. Options available to fundraise within the direct response space for sports are:
    • Direct mail – via either hard copy or via email
    • Face to Face fundraising – at events, sporting fixtures or at registration days
    • Advertising – through newsletters or other advertising opportunities
  • Bequests – this is an increasingly common occurrence within sport, whereby the creation of a tailored bequest programs can lead to really attached and engaged members or supporters leaving a lasting legacy gift to their beloved sporting organisation in their wills.

Within fundraising circles, such as charity, the cycle to fundraising includes running a campaign to get people to care, then attaching a mechanism to encourage these people to donate to that cause because they care.
Sport is different and has a really distinct advantage over other fundraising bodies, in that sport already has a really rusted-on and engaged stakeholder group who care passionately about their chosen sport and especially their chosen club. These people come in the form of:

  • members
  • players or participants
  • alumni
  • fans and spectators

These people will forever be fans of and associate themselves with your sport and club. It is highly unusual for a sports fan to walk away and start to support another club or sport with the same passion as they do yours. Sport “owns” this audience, as these people have all made a conscious decision to engage with your organisation. This engagement comes in the form of registration, membership subscription or the purchase of merchandise. All of these engagements involve a financial commitment and these financial commitments are made simply because these people want to be involved and they want to see your organisation succeed and prosper.

Fundraising provides an impact and enacts change in a way that few other avenues are able to do, and fundraising through the Australian Sports Foundation enables those who care enough to donate to claim a tax deduction for their contributions.

Remember, Fundraising is not begging, Fundraising is about providing an opportunity for those who really care to make a contribution that will make a difference.

Fundraising gives these highly passionate and engaged stakeholders an avenue in which they can contribute to your organisation in a really meaningful way towards a project or cause which has significant importance to the future of the sport or sporting organisation that they are so passionately connected to.

Happy Fundraising

Mark Thompson Director of Fundraising

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