Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Nonprofit Roundtable interacts with local sports teams and athletic activities

On March 20, 2012, the Oakland Chamber Nonprofit Roundtable continued its rich discussion of how all businesses in the Oakland Metropolitan can interact in positive and mutually beneficial ways. This monthly meeting specifically focused on the many possibilities for community benefits organizations (commonly known as nonprofits) to interact with sports and athletic events and activities.

After a fascinating time of introductions where each attendee divulged her/his favorite athletic activity as a child (such as roller-skating, running, hiking, sledding and playing tetherball), Gene Brtilak, the coordinator of the Oakland Running Festival, shared the many options for organizations to interface with the Festival. These included staffing the water-stops, sponsoring a booth at the all-day Expo before the Festival, forming a cheering section and even participating in the “Run for a Cause” option. In this option, the Festival facilitates the opportunity for participants to utilize their running to raise funds for an organization or cause. All of the five different races in the Festival can be used in this way – not only the Marathon, but also the half-marathon, 5K, relay and even the kids’ run. The organization pays a discounted entry fee per runner, and then the runner accepts pledges and donations on behalf of the organization. Brtilak further noted that the Festival and its primary sponsor, Corrigan Sports, anticipated giving back nearly $500,000 to community organizations this year. While the 2012 Festival has already taken place, groups can start planning for 2013. For more information, go to www.oaklandmarathon.com.

Valisa Maki of the Oakland Athletics shared that the region’s baseball team works with a variety of organizations on promotions and events. The primary opportunity is its “50/50” program in which organizations and the team split the ticket sales in half. Maki further noted that the A’s would also support single organizations and groups of organizations to develop special events in conjunction with a particular game. A current focus for the ball club is to raise awareness of baseball as entertainment, and several heritage nights and other theme events are already on this year’s schedule. This year, the Oakland Chamber is hosting two A’s days: Friday, May 25 (vs. Yankees) and Friday, June 22 (vs. Giants). Contact Amanda Medina at the Chamber at (510) 874-4800, ext. 319 or at amedina@oaklandchamber.com for tickets. To plan such an event, Maki recommends that organizations give themselves at least three months. The team also donates auction items to fundraisers.

Golden Gate Fields has a variety of options for organizations to hold events. According to Group Sales Manager Michael Roberts, the racetrack can host fundraising events for groups ranging from 12 to 600 either in its Turf Club or Outdoor Trackside Court. These events would feature discounted tickets (to be sold at full value), priority seating, buffet meals, race programs and a race named in the hosting organization’s honor. Another option for friends of community benefits organizations is to hold a birthday party or other event in collaboration with Golden Gate Fields as a personal fundraiser. Roberts can be reached at Michael.Roberts@goldengatefields.com.

While representatives from the Golden State Warriors and the Oakland Raiders were unable to attend, information on collaborative opportunities for each can be found on the sports teams’ respective websites. The Golden Gate Warriors, for example, sponsor two ticket donation programs – “Share Your Seats” and the “Player Ticket Program.” Through this program, participants can receive blocks of game tickets for constituents when available. The team also makes donations of tickets, autographed memorabilia and promotional items for community benefits organizations. For more information, go to www.nba.com/warriors.

For those interested in more information on fundraising collaborations with the Oakland Raiders, the team is hosting a fundraising informational meeting on April 4 at 6:00p.m. at its headquarters, 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway in Alameda. To RSVP for this event, contact Dimitrous Chattman at dchattman@raiders.com.

Before concluding the meeting, a plan was launched to collaborate with Golden Gate Fields on a Non-Profit Day at the Races. This event would include a trade show, silent auctions, low rates per person, tremendous marketing opportunities and a potential cash donation from the racetrack. Those interested in participating in a task force to organize this event should contact Nonprofit Roundtable Co-Chair Âna-Marie Jones at amj@cardcanhelp.org.

Jerry Metzker
Co-Chair, Oakland Chamber Nonprofit Roundtable
Development & Marketing Manager, Biotech Partners

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