HomeBasketballSouth-East Melbourne Phoenix and Starlight Foundation Go Digital In Fundraising Efforts

South-East Melbourne Phoenix and Starlight Foundation Go Digital In Fundraising Efforts

South-East Melbourne Phoenix and Starlight Foundation Go Digital In Fundraising Efforts

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outh-East Melbourne Phoenix and the Starlight Foundation spoke exclusively with Ministry of Sport on how they used digital engagement to raise funds and awareness at this season’s Starlight Game between the Phoenix and Melbourne United earlier this month.

The Phoenix raised over $10 000 on the night, with Phoenix CEO, Tommy Greer, telling Ministry of Sport he was happy with how the payers seized the opportunity to engage with the foundation.

“We are delighted with our partnership with the Starlight Foundation,” Greer said.

“It’s a charity that the players all enjoy engaging with, and once we’re allowed to have them visit kids with the Starlight captains, they’ll be doing just that.

“Starlight are also a great partner in that our teams have worked closely to deliver meaningful programs with the overlay of COVID-19.

“During the first lockdown, we had players going in with Starlight’s “stream-raiser” initiative and ran an online clinic for children in hospital with Cam Gliddon,” he said.

Current COVID-19 measures in Australia do restrict the size of crowds at sporting events, resulting in the Phoenix and the Starlight Foundation having to come up with creative solutions for fan engagement.

Greer told Ministry of Sport: “Restricted crowd sizes required us to be innovative in the digital space when it came to our starlight game, and I think both of our teams did a wonderful job making that happen.”

One of the innovations used in this season’s Starlight Game was the Phoenix Fan Pledge, raising $1 679.

Starlight national partnership manager, Matt Geraghty, said the aim of the fan pledge was to create a digital platform that would engage fans on game-day and help raise money and awareness.

“Essentially fans pledge a dollar amount per score made so in basketball we did 3-pointers,” Geraghty told Ministry of Sport.

“It’s very exciting from a live-fundraising mechanic because typically at these events people just donate or they’re buying merchandise and that is how we’ve always done things.

“This approach is trying to capture and transact digitally and because it’s based on the score, it’s just generally exciting and scary and all the adrenaline that you get from cheering on your team comes through in the fans pledge.

“The Phoenix for example came over really strong with their three-pointers so it’s quite exciting to watch and obviously the crowd get behind it and the commentators get behind it when the three-pointers are scored,” he said.

The concept was created before the COVID-19 pandemic, and while primarily targeted at engaging fans unable to attend the match in person, QR codes were placed throughout the stadium and on screens to encourage everyone to donate.

Geraghty said it was a positive to get in with these initiatives before the onset of COVID-19.

“We were lucky to have built this in advance of COVID and got lucky in the sense that we were able to activate it even if there was no crowd there,” Geraghty said.

“From a digital fundraising perspective, no one uses cash anymore, most of these venues are cashless either deliberately or because of COVID so having QR codes and digital pledges has proven to be a really successful model.

“It works in every sport and its really appealing to the clubs because it talks to their fans and creates content and engagement,” he told Ministry of Sport.

Donations to the fans pledge can be made at http://fanspledge.org.au/

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