2into3 have published a report entitled ‘Funding Irish Sport- Can Philanthropy Play a Role’, in collaboration with the Federation of Irish Sport. The Federation, along with a number of other bodies, has called for sport to granted charitable status given that sport meets many of the purposes outlined as charitable in the Charities Act, 2009 including the advancement of community welfare, the promotion of voluntary work, the promotion of health and the integration of those that are disadvantaged. Such a development would also follow similar moves in the United Kingdom where amateur sport now enjoys charitable status.
The existing status quo places sport at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to fundraising and indeed, the sourcing of philanthropic funding when compared to the rest of the not for profit community. The forthcoming National Giving Campaign should provide ample opportunity for sporting organisation to boost their philanthropic income – an opportunity that would be enhanced by the granting of charitable status for sport.
The report details the recent fall off in government investment in sport, makes comparisons with other countries where a tradition of philanthropic support for sport has been established and sets out a number of key recommendations that are detailed below. These include:
1) Fundraising, in particular from philanthropic sources, needs to be increasingly incorporated into funding models. State support and funding for sport should not be relied year on year – in 2011 the ISC received an investment package of €46.87, this decreased to €44.49m in 2012 yet has once again dropped to €43.2m for 2013. Organisations should develop fundraising strategies, in alignment with the needs and nature of their organisation.
2) All sporting organisations should collaborate and argue for the inclusion of sports in the 2009 Charities Act. The “charitable purposes” mentioned in the Act clearly relate to sport, and the potential benefits inclusion could have should be clearly illustrated.
3) There should be some consideration towards setting up a National Sports Foundation. Both the UK and US, among others, have found success in such organisations.
4) Sporting organisations need to play on and utilise national initiatives such as the National Giving Campaign. A clear message needs to be developed as to why sport is a charitable cause, and this message needs to be widely portrayed.