Philanthropy, Professional Athletes, Tips and Advice

Why Collaborations Can Be a Game Changer for Athletes

Athletes often ask us why they should align themselves with a nonprofit organization instead of creating their own. While it’s great to see athletes getting involved in the community regardless of how they do it, it’s clear that collaborations with existing nonprofits are a much more efficient and strategic way to make social impact. 

Why? Collaborations are key in the nonprofit world. Organizations are constantly looking for strategic partners, sponsors, ambassadors, and more to further expand their brand and help them reach donors, community members and other stakeholders. Instead of navigating the nonprofit world on your own, forming collaborations with nonprofits already active in the community can be a game changer for your own philanthropic impact. 

Nonprofits are Already Doing the Work

One of the most important benefits of aligning your brand as an athlete with a nonprofit organization is that 9 times out of 10 they already have incredible working relationships in the community, and they are already doing the hard work of setting up the programming, putting out the marketing, and handling the administrative work. 

Do you know the legal and tax ramifications of setting up a nonprofit? Do you have a specific nonprofit attorney or accountant? What percentage of money needs to go to programming versus overhead and expenses? Who will be on your board? What will your strategic plan look like? These are just a small sample of the questions you’d need to clear up before even going to register for your nonprofit organization. 

Instead of creating your own team and hiring a staff to do all that work, it is arguably much more beneficial for your time and your brand to align with an existing organization that already has the infrastructure in place. Many nonprofits are looking for partners to support their work in the community in creative ways, and understand that athletes can be great drivers for awareness among donors and community members. All you need to do is ask how you can help! 

Working Together Goes Further Than Working Alone

Many nonprofit organizations harp on the word collaboration. Partnerships are huge for charitable organizations because they have come to realize that they can get more accomplished in the community by working with their fellow organizations rather than working against them. As an athlete, it’s important to think about how your potential namesake foundation would fit in with those nonprofits that already exist. 

Would it bring something truly different and unique to the table that could benefit similar organizations? If not, it’s usually best to chat with those two or three organizations that support the cause you care about and see what their challenges and biggest needs are. You may find out that they are looking for a corporate sponsor and you know a company that would be a great fit, or they are looking for more social media exposure and you can help them achieve that. 

Remember, you can always say no or offer your own ways to support. It should be a mutually beneficial partnership, a collaboration that benefits not only the nonprofit’s mission but also your own brand and goals. 

Nonprofits Have Brands Too

Every company has a brand and nonprofits are no different. They are very protective of their brands and understand the importance of having a trustworthy and reliable reputation so that donors feel comfortable giving to them. As an athlete, you can take advantage of that reputation as well. A strategic partnership with a reputable nonprofit can add relevance and credibility to your own brand. 

Imagine you are hoping to secure an endorsement from a big corporate sponsor or create some interesting financial opportunities for yourself outside of sports. When those companies see you have already successfully collaborated with a reputable business (the nonprofit!), it goes a long way to making them feel more comfortable engaging with you in their businesses as well. Additionally, a lot of businesses are looking for cause marketing opportunities and ways to get involved in the community – if you can offer them a way to do that through your existing relationships, now you are providing added value! 

Don’t discount the opportunity to develop your brand outside of sports with a respected nonprofit organization. They have the community connects, the goodwill and the positive impact to take your philanthropy goals to the next level. Collaborations truly are key!

Want to learn more about creating partnerships with reputable nonprofit organizations? Check out how we help athletes create their philanthropic game plan and contact us today for a free assessment.

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