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Surf champs get in on crowd-funding act

Surf champs get in on crowd-funding act
Forget sausage sizzles and raffles – sports teams and clubs can now use a crowd-funding website.

After three years of organising Taranaki's Women's World Surfing Tour, Craig Williamson has learnt a thing or two about fundraising.

He's putting his experience to good use with Sportfunder, an online platform for sporting groups and individuals to raise funds through connecting with sport enthusiasts and fans.

As executive officer for Surfing Taranaki Incorporated, Williamson brought in $500,000 each year for the annual event.

“This experience made me realise that sport in general was in dire need of a better and more efficient way for sport to truly connect with sports fans and raise funds,” Williamson says. 

“Crowd-funding is the ideal model so I decided to build Sportfunder from scratch, creating the world's first global crowd-funding platform with an absolute focus on all things sport.”

Elite surfer Paige Hareb is using the website to fundraise for her fifth ASP Women’s Tour next year.

“Times are tough out there – and if I don’t get more funds in it will actually cost me to be on the tour next year,” says Hareb.

“The sponsorship funds I raised and prize money I have won in 2012 were really only just getting me from event to event around the world. The website’s launch is perfect timing for me as it will make it easier for people to get behind me and help cover my airfares and accommodation costs.”

She's already raised more than $1,500, since going live on the site on September 21.

Williams says seeking funds and sponsorship via "the crowd" will help sportspeople and organisations "reach their true potential, by chasing and capturing their sporting dreams". Sportfund is available for amateurs and professionals alike.

A project description along with a funding target and deadline are listed on the website. Photos and images can also be uploaded. 

Potential sponsors and supporters can browse by sporting discipline or keywords and can make a pledge or donation via PayPal. All donations are processed immediately and pledges registered against the project.

Sportfunder reinvests any commissions back into running the website.  

“In the midst of a global recession, with many brands suffering and most marketing budgets slashed, sponsorship and funding for sport can be incredibly hard to come by, and even when some is secured, it is often not quite enough,” says Williamson. 

“From junior teams needing new uniforms to athletes competing in international events, Sportfunder’s aim is to connect them with people who are willing and able to support them.”