April 6, 2023
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

More Than a Game: How Sports Organizations are Driving Positive Change

Sports organizations have recognized the power of social impact to connect with their communities and drive purpose beyond the game. It is becoming more common for players and teams to be as involved off the court as they are on the court. By leveraging their influence, resources, and platforms, sports organizations are partnering with nonprofits and social impact organizations to become a force for positive change. 

Here are some of the many ways that sports organizations are using social impact to connect with their communities and drive purpose.


Community Engagement Programs


The most common type of social impact initiative that sports organizations participate in is community engagement programs. These programs often focus on health, education, and youth development issues. For example, the National Football League (NFL) and all 32 NFL teams participate in NFL’s Inspire Change program to fight systemic racism and create a more equal and just future. Since the inception of Inspire Change in 2018, more than 650 nonprofits have been supported with grants and player-led community appearances.


Philanthropy and Charity Work


Professional sports teams and owners often invest their personal time and financial resources into the causes they believe in. New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft recently invested $25 million in launching the “Stand Up To Jewish Hate” campaign to combat the rising number of incidents of anti-semitism. Many teams will give not only monetary donations, but in-kind donations as well, such as autographed memorabilia. If you are a registered 501(c)3, you may be eligible to receive an in-kind donation from your local sports team, which can be an exciting raffle prize or other incentive for donors!

Many athletes support charities by lending their celebrity status and time to special causes! For example, WWE Wrestler John Cena has granted over 650 wishes for Make-A-Wish Foundation and Professional Tennis Player Serena Williams has been an ambassador for youth initiatives across the globe.


Athlete Foundations and Charities


As professional athletes grow their platforms, many of them choose to start their own foundation or charity as well. For instance, Los Angeles Lakers Forward Lebron James opened up his own school (I Promise School) for more than 1,300 Akron Public School students. Now, not every athlete has the platform and resources that superstars like Lebron James do, but many still support charities and have their own foundations supporting a cause that is important to them.


Winning Off the Field


Through social impact initiatives, a sports organization can not only further develop its fanbase, but also create a valuable and long-lasting impact by connecting with its community and driving purpose beyond the game. By leveraging their influence, resources, and platforms, they can make a positive change in society and inspire others to do the same. As a nonprofit organization, it may be worth your time to see how you can partner with a local sports team or athlete to further your mission. 

If your team or organization is looking for experts to help craft strategies that connect with your audience in a way that they haven’t before, we would love to take the next steps toward your social impact initiatives. Connect with us today to learn more!

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