Townsville Fire’s Darker Days
Four years ago, the Townsville Fire Basketball Club owners had turned in their licenses and were closing their doors. Funding had run out and the financial backers were not interested in risking more money. Community members came together and decided the community may not need another basketball team, however, there was a desperate need for positive female role models. Thus, the team was re-launched, focusing on creating positive female role models. Their initial efforts were successful, however, two years into the re-launch two major corporate sponsors pulled out and the Club was once again on the verge of closing their doors. It was at this time the club realised the need to diversify their revenue streams and find a way to minimise the risk of a one-channel revenue source. Their answer was us.
Brighter Days with the Australian Sports Foundation
Upon deciding to partner with us, Fire’s Board sat down and developed a plan to execute this venture. They aimed to gain the community support to further their Foundation’s mission, which was to:
- provide positive female role models
- encourage the Townsville youth to take a more proactive approach to achieve their goals
Once this objective was developed, the Club approached club supporters and community leaders to request a three-year commitment to the Foundation. This effort was successful in covering the lost funds finding new corporate partners. In a short time, the Club realised this Foundation was having a greater impact on the Club than they expected.
The Power of Community Support:
Soon after launching the Foundation, the Club found that the community response was overwhelming. The community was extremely grateful for the work that was being done and continued to increase their support of not only the Foundation but also the team. As the team deepened their intrinsic relationship with the community, through the Foundation’s work; the corporate and financial support appeared at the Club level.
The Club not only successfully replaced the prior sponsors but they also increased ticket sales by 25%, membership by 75%, and merchandise sales by 150%. Thus, by partnering with us, not only did the Club de-risking their business but it also created a more meaningful relationship with the community which in turn increased the overall sales of the Club.
Managing and Growing the Foundation:
As a result of the Foundation’s success, the Club has retained a full time community manager to oversee the local request and projects under taken by the Club’s Foundation. Over the course of a year, the Club and its service providers facilitated over 80 local events and/or appearances. These included partner banks teaching girls how to set up an account, the Club’s nutritionist taking girls shopping and teaching them how to cook healthy meals on a budget, and finally, the players make endless appearances on leadership, goal setting, and the importance of making positive decisions.
While these efforts are doing well, the Club only feels like they have scratched the surface. We are currently working with the Club to achieve a high performance plan and other projects that can help the club build on their current Foundation.
Advice to other Organisations:
Have a Plan: It is so important to know the objective of your fundraising efforts and how you are going to achieve these efforts. You must have this plan in place before you go to market or you are behind the eight ball before you even get off the ground.