Australian Underwater Federation
Project: Team travel for Australian Underwater Hockey Team to compete at the World Championships in 2002 and 2004 and in the Southern Hemisphere Championships in 2001, 2003 and 2005.
The Need: Underwater hockey is a completely amateur sport that receives no funding from government. Coaches and managers are all volunteers and players come from all states and territories in Australia. Costs to send players to represent the country are high. A squad consists of twelve players, with ten playing at any one time with players rotated to ensure a mix between experienced and less experienced players. At National Championships the multiple divisions include juniors, men’s and women’s elite and mixed masters. To take part in National Championships depending on location, costs are generally between $1,000 and $2,000 for each player. To participate in an International Tournament players can expect costs of between $3,000 and $6,000 per player.
The Goal: To raise $753,000 between June 2001 and June 2005 to enable teams to compete at both the World and Southern Hemisphere Championships.
The Approach: Players take on the responsibility of finding funds for the team travel and accommodation. They choose their own way of raising money: some by holding raffles, selling chocolates, finding sponsors and holding events where local businesses may have donated electrical items as prizes for raffles. Fundraising ideas are shared between team members. Team Manager Jillian Thomson says that since its association with the Australian Sports Foundation, where donors gain a tax benefit, fundraising has been made easier because the person donating can receive a tax receipt for their contribution, as well as contributing to achieving the broader goal of assisting the Team. Donor support comes from many areas, including former players, parents of former players and others closely connected with the game.
Some additional support can come for players from country areas who may receive a junior sports grant from state government and some state governments also pay 25% of the air fare to enable players’ attendance at national events. Occasional corporate support is received ‘in kind’ for example, donation of equipment, bags and bathers, and is put in place by players who approach corporations directly.
The Southern Hemisphere Championships alternate between being played in New Zealand, South Africa and Australia and have a focus on junior players with categories in both Under 18 and Under 21. Jillian Thomson says that these Championships give an opportunity for players to take part in a ‘development year’ where they have coaching which focuses on their particular playing needs and they also benefit from exposure to the experience of travel and playing against teams from other countries.
The Challenge: Fundraising is an ongoing issue and because the team management, refereeing and coaching relies on volunteers, the risk of burnout is high. Players not only fundraise for the team but also a portion of the cost of support people. Because of their dedication to and love of the sport, many give years of volunteer work some in more than one role.
The successful strategies
- Donors actively seeing the benefits of tax deductible donations through the ASF;
- Sharing fundraising ideas among team members;
- Team members taking responsibility for raising funds spreads the word about sporting excellence throughout the community.
Location: The Australian Underwater Federation Inc is based in Leederville, Western Australia.