26 September 2012

When Sporting Ambitions Deliver Social Benefits

The challenge was simple: find a way to leverage my push for the 2012 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, to generate funds for indigenous education.

The solution was equally simple: use my entrepreneurial skills base to attach a fundraising component to my qualifying event and the actual World Championship race itself, while nominating the Indigenous Marathon Project and the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) as designated recipients. It was a plan designed to hinge on the following marketing fundamentals.

1 - Become more than just another individual Seeking support in the form of sponsorship, I attached my project to sponsors and brands, thus immediately increasing my credibility and exposure. By leapfrogging off the back of their media channels and other outlets, I effectively increased my own audience.

2 - Develop a brand I gave each project a title that acted as a personal brand for that journey. (For example, my first initiative was dubbed the ‘Marathon Effort’). I also created a personal website (www.jamesgoswell.com) to update my audience on my progress.

3 - Personalise the message I linked my platform (charities) to my personal history. For example, I related the story of my three-year-plus involvement with AIME, and how an AIME staff member actually served as my inspiration to strive for the World Championships.

4 – Utilise social media This comprehensive strategy saw me:
 • Turn my project brand/titles into hashtags (eg: #AIMEfor Kona).
 • Include my sponsors as ‘@’ mentions in my tweets.
• Ask my sponsors to retweet my tweets.
• Link my Twitter and Facebook accounts.
• Develop an audience outside social media and then asking them to connect with me through social media.

I’m happy to report that my fundraising projects have proven highly successful. Having raised $2000 at Ironman Australia in May, I’m also on target to raise a further $3000 at this October’s World Championships. In the process I’ve discovered a strong interest in marketing and the use of social media for advancing not-for-profit causes. Maybe this is where my future career direction lies.

Author: James GoswellBachelor of Commerce graduate, University of Sydney Business School.

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