Athletics Fiji pays for all its expenses

​SHOP N SAVE Athletics Fiji is perhaps the best sporting federation when it comes to ensuring that their athletes do not have to pay any money.

According to the national federation, they do not want their athletes to worry about raising money but concentrate on performance only.

Each athlete was levied $1650 and sports such as touch rugby did not make the cut while volleyball was rescued in the last minute.

Athletics Fiji development officer Joseph Rodan Junior explained was hey did it.

“In the era or amateurism that most minor sports fall under, the biggest challenge for any federation is financial support.

“The main avenue of finances available to most amateur sporting federations is generated through fundraising drive, donations and small piece mill support from corporates that's short- term focused.

“But to even achieve this requires proper planning all the way from setting in place the strategic plan of the NF (national federation), determining the calendar of activities for the season, and costing these activities out to understand the scope of cost involved.

“Once this is known, then as an example for the Pacific Games, the NF executives have the responsibility of selecting the committee or team that will be responsible for executing the objectives of the activity or event.

“The selected team sets a plan in place and presents their proposal back to the NF executives for endorsement in order for both parties to take ownership and support each other respectively in campaigning towards on-boarding the greater stakeholders of the sport internally and externally of the sport.

“This is done by having a strong public relations campaign plan and knowing who and how to approach certain groups with the proper message that will drive home your message in a manner that your various groups can resonate and connect to your cause.

“Note that a message presented to the parents and community will be unique and different to one presented to a corporate entity for sponsorship.

“At the end of the day, the NF reps need to be able to understand their targeted support group, understand their objectives and align your proposal to communicate how what you are doing supports their cause.

“What this does positions your proposal well of being accepted for funding and when that happens you achieve your objective of gaining financial support to carry out your planned activity.

“Once you start getting good PR through the media, and start shaping a positive perception of the sport and all that's happening, it makes it easier for the development officers as they go out to run community-based programs and set in place strategic partnerships that build networks which in turn expands the NF's followings.

“So when you run fundraising activities, you have a bigger network to reach out to for support, and people are likely to turn up because of the fact that they can connect with the sport simply because the NF and its people have made the focus known and engaged with a wider array of people who know what's happening.

“People feel engaged and involved and are familiar with what's happening.

“In marketing it's called getting your brand "insight top of mind" which is insight regularly to be top of mind always.

“When you reach this point, fundraising becomes a lot easier and setting in plans and executing them becomes more realistic and not just nice words and numbers sitting on paper that never live to see the light of day.

“It's a lot of challenge, and requires having the right people in place to spearhead, drive these initiatives to instill in the followers of the sport that it can be done and when it is done people get confident and it no longer appears as an obstacle.

“Some of these require people to have the capabilities set that's developed over years of training and exposure, and it is for this reason that most NFs fail as they have people who simple do not have the skill set to execute this important part of any organisation. Coaches are experts in coaching,

“Leaders are experts in leading, operational minded people are experts in turning long-term strategic plans into daily operational job lists that achieves the operationalisation of the strategic plan.

“If NFs can get their people to develop in these areas that a shortage within NFs they would have already taken a step towards improvement.

“In AF we are involving our vast array of expertise that exists within our member clubs such as those with expertise in banking and finance, marketing, legal advisory, policy writing, strategic and operational planning, networking, coaching, administrative procedural set-up, etc.

“That has seen our sport turnaround overnight.

“Our members run the sport, the executives lead and represent the sport in the face of external stakeholders such as Government, FASANOC, ONOC, OAA, IAAF, and other NFs and Athletics Federations.

“There is a famous saying that goes which AF has followed and adopted in its strategic plan that says; "At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done, then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago” — Frances Burnett.

“In a nutshell fundraising in amateur sports requires a lot of planning, teamwork and co-ordination and passion from everyone.”