dt Sport relief

Bringing charities to the forefront with sports

December 28, 2016Advice Standard

In the current climate, with money hard to come by and with so many worthwhile causes vying for attention, it is difficult for some charities to be seen by people who would be willing to support them. This means that there is a need for charities to increase awareness of the work that they do, and sport can help in bringing charities to the forefront of people’s minds.

The Global Sports Media Consumption Report undertaken in 2013 indicates that there are 35 million sports fans across the UK. With 44% of adults saying that they follow football, there is evidence that people in this country are hugely interested in sport, which makes it an ideal platform for companies to reach an audience. This is backed by the volume of businesses willing to pay large sums of money to advertise to this audience.

Charities and sport teams can work hand in hand

Some sports teams have their own charity foundations that capitalise on their fan base and support worthy causes. On 22nd December 2016, the charity foundation of Scottish champions Celtic announced that their Christmas Appeal raised £220,000. You also have organisations such as Unicef increasing awareness of their work through football. The charity has featured on the strips of FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC in recent years, and in the UK, Soccer Aid stages a charity football match that generates huge sums of money and interest in the cause.

Other charities that work closely with UK sports or sports teams include:

  • Prostate Cancer UK
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Coaching For Hope
  • U Support

There are a number of charities that don’t have a high level of awareness that could link with sports teams. A charity such as Penny Appeal, which provides life-saving aid to the poor and needy in more than 30 countries around the world, would greatly benefit from association with a sport. A sporting event that enjoys solid viewing figures would be a good tie-in for the organisation. A campaign with lower league football or sports such as cricket or rugby league could provide an attractive platform to promote a charitable brand.

A charity such as the Cystic Fibrosis Trust offers support to many people across the UK, from all backgrounds, and a tie-in with leading sports teams could significantly increase awareness of the work they do and support they offer.

There are many positive aspects to being associated with a particular sport or team, with the increased exposure, often on a global level, afforded to sports teams being a key factor. There is also the fact that sports teams have faithful followers, which means that the charity will be placed in front of an audience who is likely to support their cause.

Along with the advantages of being associated with a sport or a team, there are also potential downsides. Some of the cons of being associated with a particular sport or team might be:

  • Alienating fans of rival teams or sports.
  • Being associated with a team or sport that currently has a negative image.
  • Having teams or players being embroiled in a scandal that could reflect badly on a charity.

Charities need to promote themselves strongly, and associating with sports can spread the charity’s message in an effective manner.

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