Brand Tips for Professional Athlete Charities

Launching a charitable organization is an effective way for an athlete to grow their personal brand and give back to the greater good. If run effectively, the charity has the ability to amplify and extend an athlete’s legacy well beyond their chosen sport.

Based on my almost 20 years of working with nonprofits, I want to provide some key strategic marketing and public relations tactics to help athletes and their support staff get the most out of their charitable organization.

Have a 365 Plan – Mission-driven activities throughout the year are vital for any charitable organization to achieve long-term growth. Many athletes will host one or two events per year, leaving their mission dormant for months at a time. To avoid brand recession, athlete-led philanthropies should make sure to have a physical or virtual touchpoint for stakeholders at least once every quarter.

Be Consistent With Content – To avoid brand recession and diminishing fundraising efforts, athlete-led philanthropies should regularly develop and deploy content. Images, video, and third-party content like news articles should be deployed consistently via social media and the charity’s website and other owned assets to deepen and reinforce the organization’s mission.

Don’t Neglect Public Relations – Many times, athlete-led philanthropies will forgo earned media because they don’t have the expertise on staff or desire to take it on. Not leveraging the media throughout the year will have an adverse effect on the organization’s growth. If not doing media outreach consistently, organizations should at least make sure they’re engaging the press for their cornerstone events.

Survive Without the Star – The namesake athlete should always remain the face of their charity. That said, the charity’s brand should evolve to the point where the athlete doesn’t need to be physically present at every event or in every advertisement. Having consistent events and overall visibility—and the public support of the organization’s staff and Board of Directors—plays a crucial role in achieving this goal.

A huge misconception is that marketing and public relations has to be all or nothing. Firestarter collaborates with athlete-led philanthropies on a part-time, contract, or project basis to help them plan and execute their marketing, public relations, and events. Before your organization begins its 2021 planning, connect with me to discuss possibilities.





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