With sports, we all know it’s all about winning (and I don’t mean in the 2011 crazy-Charlie Sheen-kind-of-way). By integrating cause marketing activities into year-round major league sports platforms and sponsor activation, everyone can win big – including local communities and families.
In recent years, there has been increased scrutiny around corporate investments in big-ticket sports sponsorships. One way to counteract this Main Street vs. Wall Street mentality is the savvy streamlining of sponsorship portfolios. Another approach is to combine high-profile, often-expensive sponsorships with activation elements designed to engage employees and improve local communities. It is encouraging to see this is not an episodic ‘blip’ in response to tough economic times, but rather an extended effort that continues to bring a number of causes front and center year after year.
One recent example is, Rebuilding Together*, the national safe and healthy housing organization that believes community starts at home by providing critical home repairs and renovations to low-income homeowners free of charge. Serving seniors and supporting veterans housing are two focus areas of their mission. During the first couple months of 2013, Rebuilding Together participated in community revitalization events in collaboration with two major league sports organizations.
NFL & REBUILDING TOGETHER: “KICKOFF TO REBUILD”
First was the 18th annual Kickoff to Rebuild, the only NFL Super Bowl-sanctioned community service event, which took place in the West Bank of the Super Bowl host city, New Orleans. Sponsored by Lowe’s and supported by several former and current NFL players, 10 low-income homeowners’ homes were renovated. As an added benefit to the local community, Carter Oosterhouse, HGTV celebrity carpenter and host of Million Dollar Rooms, and his charity, Carter’s Kids built a new community playground in the Algiers neighborhood.
Many hands make light work, but well-fed hands can do even better, right? Continuing the food-centric spirit of New Orleans, this year’s Kick off to Rebuild also featured the inaugural Toolbelts+Tailgates. Professional and amateur tailgate chefs grilled up their best “NOLA inspired” tailgate recipes to feed hundreds of hungry volunteers. Mmmmm mmmm good!
Looking ahead, Super Bowl 2014 will be hosted by the proud people of New York and New Jersey. As the first outdoor, cold weather Super Bowl, the 19th Annual Kickoff to Rebuild is shaping up to be a real show-stopper.
NBA & REBUILDING TOGETHER: NBA CARES ALL STAR WEEKEND
NBA players and All-stars joined Rebuilding Together to celebrate the star-studded 2013 NBA All Star Weekend with a community revitalization in the host city of Houston. NBA Cares, the philanthropic community outreach arm of the NBA, works to positively impact lives by addressing a variety of social issues globally and in team hometowns.
Taking place in the Foster Place community, corporate sponsors Kia and Reliant were joined by players from the WNBA, rising stars and legendary players alike, to work alongside NBA coaches and hundreds of community volunteers to rebuild five homes, repair an elementary school basketball court and upgrade landscaping in the school’s common areas.
To date, more than 1,000 volunteers have donated more than 5,000 hours of service to Rebuilding Together NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service projects. And, although East All-star super-stars LeBron James and Dwayne Wade didn’t take home the winning trophy in 2013, their volunteer commitment definitely won our hearts!
Combining cause with sports can lead to greater impact, especially if you keep in mind these 3 simple tips:
1. Be sincere in your efforts
2. Participate in a meaningful way
3. Celebrate your accomplishments