Mitta Mitta Canoe Club
Project: Club building extensions
The Need: Mitta Mitta Canoe Club (MMCC) occupied a portion of the very basic public facilities servicing an especially popular summer recreation area at Noreuil Park, Albury located on the shores of the Murray River since the mid 1980s. The club had developed an area over some years to provide boat storage, together with limited toilet and change room facilities.
It was felt however, that club membership was being restricted due to inadequate boat storage, and the lack of separate change/shower rooms for male and female members. Another consequence of such limited facilities was that club meetings could not be held at the facility until boat racks were moved and gym gear packed away.
The Goal: In light of Albury City Council’s decision to upgrade Noreuil Park’s public facilities to meet growing community needs, MMCC’s committee decided to explore the possibility of including the extension of the club’s facilities in the Council's plans. The club was aiming to achieve separate change/shower facilities for males and females, and to extend the club's limited boat storage area.
The Approach: MMCC appointed a project officer to liaise with and develop the expansion concept with Albury City Council. Graham Ortlipp, Treasurer of the club said 'Our requirements were factored into Council's development strategy and preliminary drawings, plans and costs were issued for presentation to our members'. The club’s project officer was also responsible for keeping the MMCC Committee informed & presenting plans and costings to club members.
The Challenge: Council approval involved a contribution of $100,000 from the club. While Mitta Mitta Canoe Club members endorsed the proposal, financing the required contribution to upgrade the facilities for a small club of some 100-120 members appeared somewhat daunting. To assist the club in its endeavours to raise the necessary $100,000, a professional fundraiser was approached for guidance. Subsequent advice indicated that the majority of funds would end up being sourced from club members.
The successful strategies: The key, according to Ortlipp, was to get as many willing members involved in the fundraising process as was practicable. Fundraising was split into external and internal efforts.
External Fundraising: From the pool of ideas generated by members, the club conducted a successful art show, and sold wine branded with the club’s label. It was also able to sell a number of sponsorship packages that included among other things, access for sponsors and their functions to the Club’s new meeting room. These external fundraising strategies were kept separate from the ‘member’ fundraising strategies.
Member Fundraising: The Mitta Mitta Canoe Club was also able to raise funds by offering members discounted boat storage in return for an upfront payment of boat storage fees. The club applied the funds raised from this initiative towards the facility upgrade, but limited the offer to ensure that revenue was available to fund ongoing operating costs.
According to Ortlipp, 'The second and most successful strategy was to register the proposal with the Australian Sports Foundation'. Once the project was registered, MMCC set about educating their members on ASF processes, which included an explanation of terms such as 'unconditional donations', 'tax deductibility', 'nominated beneficiary' and 'discretionary grants'. The club made personal approaches to potential major donors and informed other members of the opportunity to support the project at regular club meetings by a special mail out that explained the whole proposal. Members were asked to consider 'a dollar a day' campaign by donating $400 to the ASF in support of the project.
In Ortlipp's' words, 'Our club is very grateful for the professional help we received from the staff at the Australian Sports Foundation during the registration process and the conduct of our fundraising campaign'.
Location: Albury is located on the Murray River approximately three hours by road from Melbourne. Together, Albury and Wodonga make up the largest rural regional centre in Australia.