Step 4: Pre game chat – Motivating your team to perform

The most efficient sporting teams have good leadership from their coaching staff and their captains to keep their team on track and sticking to the game plan. Their roles involve establishing a plan and providing the guidance and execution to deliver results utilising the resources at hand and distilling a culture of teamwork, accountability and engagement to succeed.

Fundraising like most initiatives uses the same model within an organisation whether it be a well-resourced professional sporting team or a volunteer based committee, strong leadership and fundraising champions are essential.

Organisation buy in

All great things start with an idea, a cause and an action. However, like on the field, to truly succeed the whole team needs to be on the same page and contributing for maximum output. For best results, it is important to get buy in from the leaders of your organisation and in particular your board members who can help influence the organisation’s position on fundraising as an alternative revenue stream and also support your projects through their individual networks and skillsets.


Changing or creating people’s behaviour towards certain activities such as fundraising will not happen overnight however with the right drivers and leadership your organisation can promote a fundraising culture that offers a sustainable revenue stream. To start with, people need to understand how important fundraising is to carry out your work and fulfil your mission. In an industry where sponsorships are getting harder to solicit, government funding is variable and memberships are finite, sport needs fundraising now more than ever to sustain its place as a part of Australian DNA. Sport is passion, and that emotion is infectious when linked to a worthy cause. As the best coaches do every weekend, get your team to believe in you and your fundraising story and trust the process to deliver results. If you are still having trouble convincing your team, download our 2017 Sport Fundraising Snapshot to share the cold hard facts that fundraising for sport is growing every year.


Think about what you already have in your stocks and processes to begin integrating with fundraising. Alongside your donors, your people are your biggest assets to fundraising and each has the capacity to inject energy and encouragement on the field or off the bench. Stay in touch with all your stakeholders and share the journey as one.

Board: Leadership starts at the top and your board of directors (BOD) will all have a vested interest in your organisation and what you are trying to achieve. It is vitally important that your board be involved in the fundraising process. Without the help of a supportive, active and energetic board, you are fundraising with one hand tied behind your back. Their input is extremely important and at the very least every board member should be giving something to your project each year. Whether they contribute $2 or $2,000, their actions will go a long way to putting their money where their mouth is and leading from the front.

However, the biggest resource to foster from your BOD is their influence. With their buy in to your fundraising needs every board member should be introducing people to your project, facilitating connections with potential donors and supporting your fundraising campaigns and events to their best capacity.

Staff: Your staff members will most likely be the engine that powers your project forwards. Each department will have skills that can contribute to a successful campaign from finance to marketing and everything in between. The most efficient campaigns will have a champion (captain) who acts as a personal contact to foster donor relationships, keep your plan on track and provide a human element to respond to donor queries and work with their Sport Partnership Manger from the Foundation. Make this person responsible, give them access to resources and empower them to succeed.

Volunteers: Organised sport would not exist without passionate people giving their time to help out. A good way to enhance your story is by providing a human face to your cause and this group can give you a unique angle for soliciting donations. Profile your volunteers, either as a group or individuals and tell their stories of why they got involved, what the organisation means to them and why they see you as a worthy cause. Depending on the size of your organisation and number of volunteers a coordinating this group should keep their time spent with you seamless and maximise the energy to support you.

Committees: Even the best worker can not do everything on their own and to make sure that your fundraising gets the attention it deserves establishing a focused committee is a great option to give your project the love it needs to succeed. If you already have a committee assembled for your organisation, then setting aside time each week/fortnight to discuss your fundraising progress and measure against your plan will go a long way to your success.

Donors: Have you received gifts previously or had people pledge support at an event but you never followed up? This group is ideal to be a part of your reinvigorated fundraising journey. Fostering current or past donors for continued giving is textbook however this group might also be a good stick in the mud to discuss new ideas and provide advice on which projects they would like to contribute to.

Ambassadors: Having a high profile or inspirational supporter for your cause can rapidly extend your reach, credibility and donor prospects. Consider who would be best placed to represent your cause and make them feel like part of the family by recognising their contributions where possible. If you are seeking to approach a high profile ambassador not currently associated with your org figure out who is best to approach them, consider different ways to reach them, craft an appealing pitch, get their buy in to what you are trying to achieve and show how their support will make a difference.

Game Plan 101

You hit home runs not by chance but by preparation.” – Roger Maris

Planning is essential for your fundraising to succeed, however this might be easier than you first thought. As a starting point, there are 9 steps to think about when preparing to leave the sheds for kick off.

  • Research: How have you previously raised money? How many donors do you have? Do you have the capacity to start a project? Who are your target audience? Where can you find more prospects?
  • Projects: Identify which of your needs are the most pressing and relevant as potential fundraising projects. What has worked in the past or what would be most appetising to your prospective donors?
  • Story: This is one of the most important aspects to tax-deductible fundraising. Flesh out your need, cause, impact, outcomes and ask, and tailor your story to your various prospective donor groups.
  • Integrate: Make an effort to involve your whole organisation in your fundraising endeavours. Sell the story and cause internally before going to market to strengthen your chances and secure additional funds from referrals and networks.
  • Mechanisms: What methods are you going to use to raise the funds? Email, social media, events, grants, workplace giving, major gifts, community fundraising, seasonal appeal, donation of goods, bequests, corporate giving?
  • Timeline: Put together a calendar of your planned activities for the year working back from major events or fundraising asks. This might be as simple as a fundraising story in your monthly May newsletter and a targeted EOFY ask in early June via an EDM.
  • Action: Accountability is key. Incorporate action items into your plan and list who is responsible for each fundraising activity each month.
  • Donor engagement: Once you receive a donation it is extremely important to thank your donors. Put together a plan on how you are going to recognise your donors whether it be a simple email from you, a phone call or a visit to name a few.
  • Evaluation: How are you going to measure your fundraising activities against your target? What is working and what isn’t? What will you change next year?

June is just around the corner and I can already feel the heat with an increase of sports registering to fundraise with the Foundation to capitalise on EOFY donations. If you haven’t started thinking about your 2018 fundraising yet now is the time to take action and contact your Sports Partnership Manager directly

  • Chris Bond OAM, Sports Partnership Manager

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