2019 was another year of great progress, with some significant achievements and developments that together will enable us to deliver on the pledge to grow our funding contribution to sport to over $100m a year.
We’re particularly proud to report that our digital strategy is starting to bear fruit; at its core is our desire to make it easier, simpler and quicker for sport to sign up to fundraise with us, and for supporters and community members to make a tax-deductible donation. The first series of enhancements were rolled out during 2019 and the results were hugely encouraging: a 40% increase in the volume of donations, with around 25,000 individual transactions being recorded. Equally gratifying was a 20% increase in the number of clubs, schools and athletes signing up to fundraise with us. Taken together, this means that more Australians made a tax-deductible donation to support sport than ever before, and more clubs, organisations and athletes benefitted from that support than ever before.
In 2020 and beyond, we will build on these developments with further digital enhancements in train that are designed both to grow the amount of money raised, and to increase our reach and engagement so that we can work to increase funding for thousands more clubs, schools and athletes in the years ahead.
We are conscious, as well, that our role is about far more than simply raising funds. As the Peak Body for Philanthropy in Sport, we have a duty to promote the social and community benefits that sport brings to our society, and to raise awareness among the philanthropic community – both private and corporate – of the benefits of investing in sport to achieve positive social outcomes. We will use the establishment of our new Charitable Fund to promote these messages, with a high-profile launch planned during FY20. The Charitable Fund will also play a key role in raising philanthropic funds to invest in programs designed to increase participation among groups that currently have lower levels of healthy activity than most Australians. These include women and girls, older Australians, and those from minority social or other backgrounds. You will read more about these developments – and see some examples of the positive impact we achieved in 2019 – in the following sections of this report.
Of course, 2020 is an Olympic and Paralympic year and I’m sure we’ll all be watching events unfold in Tokyo with great excitement and interest. At the heart of it all will be the athletes themselves. Many athletes even at this elite level earn little or nothing from their sport, and often struggle to make ends meet or pay for necessary equipment, coaching, travel and nutrition. Knowing this, we were delighted to see our Athlete Fundraising Program more than double in 2019, with around 750 athletes raising over $2.4m to help fund their sporting journeys. 2020 will see this grow even further to help provide our Olympians and Paralympians with the best preparation and support possible.
My thanks go to our Chair, Mark Stockwell, and fellow Board members Josh Liberman, Samantha Pearce, Kim Brennan, Andrew Baildon and Gail Miller. I’ve greatly appreciated your support, wisdom, challenge and guidance! My thanks and sincere appreciation also to our small and dedicated team at the Sports Foundation, each of whom believes passionately in the importance of what we do. And finally, my thanks and congratulations go to all of our fundraising partners, donors and supporters, who have together contributed so much to enabling a thriving sporting nation.