Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron
Project: To purchase an inflatable Rescue Boat
The Need: Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron has 1700 members which includes 120 children enrolled in its Sail Training School. Its sailing fleet covers the range from the smallest 8 foot Minnows to 60 foot keel boats. There is no Coastguard in the area and several hundred boats are likely to be on the water on Saturday afternoons. While the Squadron has both hard boats and some small inflatable craft used for rescue, in the interests of safety and manoeuvrability and assessing how many rescue calls the Squadron receives, it was decided to purchase an inflatable rescue boat capable of carrying eight people and an operator.
The Goal: To raise $40,000 from members to purchase the inflatable rescue boat, Patrol 9. The decision to purchase a large inflatable rescue vessel is in line with world trends which are moving away from hard rescue boats. The Patrol 9 has a soft surface, ideal for rescue operations in craft of all sizes and particularly those dealing with small yachts. It is also the most suitable craft for rescuing children without injury.
The Approach: Club Manager Allan Cayzer says that Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron is very family oriented with a strong awareness among members of the importance of safety. ‘Raising funds for the safety issue is not difficult. Members are concerned for their own safety and that of their children.’ The Squadron now in its fiftieth year, began as a club for small boats and now has a mix of sail and power boats. Its new 170 berth marina houses 50% power boats. The Squadron also assists with the rescue of fishing boats in distress and is called on at various times to give assistance to the Water Police.
When it decided to raise funds for the inflatable rescue boat under the guidelines of the Australian Sports Foundation, enabling donations to be tax deductible, Allan Cayzer said that members were very willing to contribute. The Appeal was launched at the Squadron’s Annual General Meeting, followed by an individually addressed letter giving full information about the Appeal and sent to every member. Many members gave donations immediately and others were generous with pledges. When $33,000 had been raised within nine months, it was decided to purchase the Patrol 9. The remaining $7,000 came from general funds.
The Challenge: Making sure initially that the goals and needs of the Squadron are understood by members and that the reasons behind major purchases such as Patrol 9 are recognized as beneficial to all those in the Squadron, as well as the wider boating public.
The successful strategies
- Making a case for the safety of members, their families and others likely to need an efficient rescue boat;
- Ensuring members are aware of the tax deductibility opportunities offered by the project meeting the guidelines of the Australian Sports Foundation;
- Providing opportunities for immediate donations or accepting pledges;
- Giving donors the choice of remaining anonymous.
Footnote: Since the completion of this case study, and following the success of the first campaign, the Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron has re-registered their project with the ASF to raise funds for a second rescue boat.
Location: Blairgowrie is on the Mornington Peninsula on Port Phillip Bay, approximately one and a half hours by road from Melbourne.