Sports transformation is not just a game; it’s the future for uniting and empowering South Africans. Big brands have a tremendous role in driving this through their sponsorship activities writes Danie van den Bergh, head of brand at Momentum.
The investment made in large sporting sponsorships comes with a significant dose of responsibility. Indeed, in a society where the power of sport is tangible in its contribution to nation building, we can – and should – be compelled to leverage sponsorship spend to create demonstrable benefits as a result of our investments, in what is ultimately the future of our country.
The fact remains that supporting sports transformation within South Africa not only transforms and engages sports fans, youth, families and communities but assists in changing the nation as we know it, and this is a call-to-action no sporting sponsor should ignore.
Given this, it makes sense that extracting benefits from effective sponsorship investments are considered and deliberate. At Momentum, we believe that this achieved on a sustainable basis when we embrace the power of partnerships. As the sponsor of the Protea women’s cricket team, the eKasi Challenge, the National Club Championships, and the recently launched Momentum to Excellence (M2E) sports bursary programme, we are embracing South Africa’s love for the game of cricket to reach a wider and more diverse group of people.
In building on this passion we are able to drive projects which impact communities by taking youth off the streets and engaging them in constructive behaviours. For us, this is a responsible application of our partnership with cricket, and directly encourages the development of communities by encouraging a sense of community spirit, promoting social inclusion, improving health and boosting individual confidence – all whilr reducing occurrences of anti social behaviour. With a keen focus on gender parity in our development programmes, we ensure there is equal access for young girls to these opportunities.
We have learnt through Momentum’s annual eKasi Challenge – where we take professional cricket to local disadvantaged communities, host cricket clinics, workshops, life skills courses and build the skill levels of all those wishing to engage – that sponsorship must be a sustainable action. Our aim is to use sport as a tool for initiating life-skills training and to inspire disadvantaged youth in townships. Aligning our corporate values with our sponsorship initiatives, embracing diversity and promoting inclusivity, we make certain gender parity is a key consideration in our sponsorship initiatives. Rather than supporting just a one day game, we focus on skills transfer, equal opportunities, capacity building and leaving a legacy of lasting value. Purposely, we leave behind something that these communities and institutions can build on and in turn, continue to benefit their communities, creating a notion of proactive future citizens.
In the industry of encouraging and growing the financial wellness of all South Africans countrywide, we believe that the common factor in building and maintaining a healthy financial status, comes down to education. Our values are consistent throughout Momentum, whether educating the public on financial wellness or supporting sports development initiatives, we align all our undertakings with equality and encourage participation of all. Sustainability and longevity are the main goals we pursue when choosing to assist and support sporting initiatives within South Africa. Developing skills, capacity building, producing quality sportsmanship, focusing on education of youth to become active participants of society, are all sustainable methods of positive change.
Success is achieved when the recipients receive an education. By linking sports development to education, we are nurturing people with skills. Skills they can pass on and subsequently teach others. Efforts are able to be tracked and monitored as the relationship and partnership builds over time.
As a business, you need to be clever in how you apply your funding, the how is what matters. By investing in our people, we live by one principle; you need to leave a place or situation in a better position than it was before you got there. Education is the defining cornerstone of what we endorse, for education is sustainable and all our initiatives start, continues and ends with education; it’s the golden thread of advancement.
Sponsorship of such an impactful concept, sports transformation projects must be supported by the corporate sector, both public and private. By maximising the relationship between communities and companies, we can ensure positive movement towards sustainable development and developing greater South Africans.
Fulfilling your true role in this country, as a corporate, you need to get your people’s hearts into sustainable development and active engagement. This adds meaning to your brand and purpose.
You can build a strong brand but without meaning, it’s meaningless. Sponsors need to take this to heart or their sponsorships are doomed to fail.
Follow Danie van den Bergh on Twitter @danievdbergh
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