So World Cup 2020 is in Richmond, and you want your national team to attend. While some national governing bodies (NGBs) have successfully navigated the ups and downs of financing intercontinental travel for quidditch tournaments for years, many NGBs will face this challenge for the first time in 2020.
Here are a few steps that you should take as soon as possible to make sure that you are all set for some major fundraising activities ahead of the next World Cup.
Make sure your NGB is incorporated
It is no coincidence that this is the very first item on the list. Incorporation can be quite the bureaucratic struggle, even if you are not the IQA themselves. However, being a legal entity is crucial for any noteworthy sponsorships – companies will often require you to be incorporated before they agree to sign contracts with you, and the incorporation protects your own NGB’s volunteers against being personally liable in case anything goes wrong.
If incorporation has not been a topic within your NGB yet, for instance, if you are a very small or young organisation, make sure to first check the requirements in your country. If you know somebody within or outside of your country’s quidditch community who has experience with the incorporation of non-profits in general or sports associations specifically, now is the time to give them a call.
Note that the incorporation process can take a significant amount of time. You do not need to be incorporated when you first reach out to sponsors, but you must complete incorporation before signing any contracts.
Get your online presence up to speed
The internet is a great thing. It is most likely also the first place a potential sponsor is going to look at for more information on your NGB and the national team. This means that you want everything to appear organised, professional and engaging.
Take a look at your NGB’s website. Is it up to date with regards to the quidditch activities in your country? Does it include a section that explains how quidditch works and why it is the coolest sport in the world? Does it offer information about your national team? Does it look good? If the answer to any of these questions is NO, you know what to do.
Next up is your social media presence. Which social media platforms is your NGB active on? Make sure you know all relevant accounts and the people in charge of them. Social media reach within the target group of young, somewhat quirky adults is one of the core services you can offer to potential sponsors and partner companies. Naturally, you need to prove that you have a reach for this to work. There are two aspects that outsiders can quickly check: the quality of and engagement with your posts and the size of your followership. Let us start with the latter. The more people follow you, the better. Easy as that. Make sure to invite as many people as possible to follow your pages, including friends, family, both the national and international quidditch community, and so on. Link to your social media accounts across platforms to ensure that everyone who liked your page on Facebook will also follow you on Instagram and vice versa.
Making quality social media posts is in fact quite easy. The fastest way to appear more professional on social media is by using well-designed, consistent visuals with your posts. Take a little bit of time to familiarise yourself with online tools like Canva that allow you to create visuals without much effort or any prior knowledge. If you are short on high-quality pictures of your domestic quidditch clubs or national team, check out the work of all the great photographers in our community. They hardly ever mind you using their pictures to promote quidditch (but please check with them beforehand, and make sure to give credit where credit is due).
Take stock of the connections you can use
Finding companies who want to give serious money to a national quidditch team is hard, but there is something that can make your life a lot easier: personal connections. Before you start looking into companies to approach as potential sponsors, talk to your community. Who is working for a company that might be interested in sponsoring? Who knows somebody who does? Make sure to collect this information for future use. You are not at the point to get in touch with these companies yet, but once you are, you can get back at these people and ask them to approach their bosses.
In addition to potential sponsors, the community can also help to find experts who can assist you. Whether it is the legal expert mentioned above to assist with the incorporation or somebody outside of the quidditch community who has experience with fundraising, external people can be a great addition to your team or source of information as they bring both expertise and a fresh perspective.
Build a team behind the team
Fundraising is serious work, and for a lot of small NGBs it will make the difference between sending a national team or watching the competition at home. That is a lot of responsibility and can get very stressful, but you should not have to face this by yourself. Reach out to the rest of your community and assemble a team of people who want to help to get your national team to Richmond next year. This can start with small tasks like making sure there is a national-team-related social media post now and then and doing a bit of research into potential sponsors.
You now have a rough idea of what needs to happen before you can get started on the actual fundraising. Make a plan for yourself (and your team and the NGB board) to outline the next steps and give the project a timeline. Ideally, you should be ready to approach sponsors in fall 2019. By that time, you should have assembled a team to help you, brought your NGB’s social media up to speed and have a sponsoring strategy and info material ready. More on that last part later, let’s take it one step at a time. (Or if you want to look into it right now, I recommend this great write-up by Amanda Dallas.)
Throughout this whole process, we are happy to assist you. Please get in touch if you want to get some feedback on your work so far or want to discuss how to tackle specific issues you encountered.
Q Consultancy considers all projects to assist groups and organisations. If you would like help or advice, please get in touch!
Juliane Schillinger is a consultant at Q Consultancy with a focus on PR and fundraising. Her most notable experiences include several years of board and PR work for Deutscher Quidditchbund and five seasons as national team manager for Team Germany.