Claire Kelly is a freelance writer, media relations professional and a pro beach volleyball player. She has used social media and web campaigns to the full in a bid to fund her campaign for selection at the London Olympics. While that goal is looking unlikely, Claire is powering on, and she is now planning to create a free resource website for amateur athletes to help them raise money. In this post she gives a first hand view on Do It Yourself fund raising. Her website is here.
In early 2011 I launched a creative campaign in an attempt to fund my goal of getting to, and playing in, the London Olympics in the sport of beach volleyball.
I put up permanent logo and tattoo space on Ebay, with the promise of a PR and marketing campaign in an attempt to bring in personal sponsors to fund a bid to compete at the London Olympics. A large number of people thought my campaign was sheer madness, considering my age, the costs involved and my results (or lack of at that point). In fact the whole thing created quite a stir, namely why any athlete would go to such an extreme in a bid of having themselves permanently marked to fund playing professional sport.
Featured on over 50 different websites and blogs, as well as being selected for a double page feature in an Olympic supplement special for the Daily Telegraph in the UK, my story also attracted a number of comments around ‘Why didn’t she just go straight to a men’s magazine’?, “this isn’t a good example for kids’ and more.
In the end due to various reasons including a breach of copyright, I had to pull the campaign and I didn’t get any logo tattoos (my mum was somewhat relieved). And I was unsuccessful in raising the whole amount needed, although I did raise some of the money and manage to play a number of world tour events thanks to some great business partners. Since then I have explored and attempted various other ways to bring in money including entering random competitions, crowd sourcing and more.
Why won’t I quit? Because I have seen so many people give up and regret it the rest of their life. I want to look back on my life and say I gave it my best shot. That I gave it everything. I don’t want money, or challenges around it, stop me from doing something I believe is truly possible for me.
So many athletes never find a way to fund their dreams, and consequently give up. And I think although that is a genuine reason to quit, it also presents an opportunity to learn and grow. Succeeding in sport is about not giving up, about finding a way to win that no-one else can see.
Excuses are just a story created in an attempt to make ourselves feel better for not having the courage to follow our dreams.
Sport is an opportunity for personal growth, health and it’s also an avenue for change. Sport inspires and helps us connect (look how excited everyone is about the Olympic Games or State of Origin!).
Yet despite the rewards of a choosing a sports career, many people simply give up their aspirations because it seems too hard. I think those who would love to pursue sport as a career fail to do so because either they don’t actually believe they can really do it, or they don’t actually have the opportunity to do it.
I was particularly lucky and blessed that sponsors funded flights for me and helped me to make all of the events that I did. Despite what has happened with London, I now have an opportunity to play full time overseas from the end of June which is inspiring me to keep going in my mission. Whether or not I can make it happen is another story but where there is a will there is a way, and if there is a way I am determined to find it.
I genuinely believe sport should be available to those who have the talent and desire to do so. It is with this in mind I have launched my latest Sponsume project. My aim is to create a free resource website for amateur athletes to help them get out there to do what it is they would love to do. You can buy an official supporters t-shirt for just $40 (or you can back some of the other exciting rewards available, such as a logo space or a twitter/YouTube compliment.
Hope to see you on the site.
Image: Daily Telegraph, London