Interview with the CEO of Australian Sports Foundation, Patrick Walker
In the first interview of our Annual Conference speaker series, we talk with Patrick Walker, CEO of the Australian Sports Foundation.
looking at everything that has and hasn’t worked in the sports marketing industry in the past year, whilst also showcasing major players, innovators and game changers disrupting the sports industry – these interviews will offer a preview to the kind of insights on display to administrators in November.
Since being appointed CEO in June 2014, the Australian Sports Foundation has raised almost $150 million for sport through philanthropic and community giving.
Before joining the Sports Foundation, Patrick was a Former partner and senior member of the leadership team at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in both the UK and Australia where his roles included CEO and Board positions.
1.What will you be covering during your presentation at the Ministry of Sports Annual Conference?
I will be highlighting how tax-deductible donations via the Australian Sports Foundation can be an important revenue stream for any sport organisation at any level – grassroots, juniors, district through to elite sports. Fundraising has largely been overlooked as a revenue stream by sport, and the Sports Foundation is the only body that can offer tax deductions to donors.
Sports organisations often raise funds for equipment, facility upgrades and travel via sausage sizzles and chocolate drives, but they don’t offer any tax-deductible benefit. Increasingly, more sports organisations are realising the benefits of fundraising via the Sports Foundation. Five years ago, around $17 million was raised for sport via the Sports Foundation. Over the past two years, we have raised over $44 million per year and nearly $150 million over the last four years. This sounds impressive, but it falls well short of the estimated $300 million donated to arts and culture every year.
While arts and culture have an important role, we believe sport is at the heart of every Australian community and has a unique ability to bring people from different cultures and backgrounds together. At a time of alarming rises in levels of obesity and its associated health issues, more funding for sport will improve physical and mental health outcomes for disadvantaged Australians, get more kids and adults active and provide significant community benefits
2. What are the 2-3 key learnings that attendees will take away?
Firstly, the Sports Foundation can assist any club in any area of the country – no matter how big or small. We have a team of skilled and knowledgeable Sports Partnership Managers who can work with your club to show you how fundraising targets can be achieved and the strategies that are involved to reach them.
Behind every fundraising campaign is the narrative about the project. And for any campaign to be successful, the story must be clearly communicated to your target audience – your potential donors.
When preparing your campaign, there are four key areas that need to be addressed to maximise your fundraising potential. They are The Need, The Cause, The Impact and The Ask.
Lastly, donations are not limited to money. Donations of sports goods, equipment, memorabilia and historical items are all accepted. The Sports Foundation has previously received a donated yacht for sailing training, a car to be auctioned at a fundraising night, and memorabilia donated to an AFL museum.
3. Why is this presentation important for sports administrators right now?
Funding for sport via government grants is being cut back and sport needs to find new streams of revenue.
Concerningly, we are becoming increasingly inactive and sports participation rates are falling. Alarmingly, Australia is the fifth most obese nation in the world. One in four children are considered overweight or obese and their expanding waistlines is costing taxpayers $43.2 million each year. We need to get more Australians, more active, more often.
We need to reverse this trend of inactivity to increase the talent pool for sport and to ensure our love of sport is reflected by high levels of consumption whether it be via club memberships, match ticket sales, merchandise or watching on TV. Australia’s are passionate about sport and we want that passion to remain.