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Crowdfunding and the future of Gymnastics Australia

Lauren Mitchell finished 5th at the London OlympicsAt a time where individuals and businesses are increasingly interconnected through the internet, crowdfunding – the ability to share ideas and support projects which appeal to each individual – is fast becoming a powerful and effective way of promoting and marketing ideas.

With their National Championships taking place at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre from 7 – 18 July, Gymnastics Australia (GA) has turned to crowdfunding to support this event and raise awareness about their sport.

In an interview with SBI, Mark Rendell, the CEO of GA, offered his insights into not only this latest crowdfunding initiative, but the current and future goals of GA, as well as the need to balance funding between participation and elite levels with the Commonwealth and Olympic Games coming up in the near future.


While crowdfunding has traditionally been known for its use in the arts/music industries, GA is one of the few national sporting bodies to utilise this unique funding tool. With many sporting bodies struggling for funding, Mr. Rendell believes that this could be the start of an emerging trend in Australian sport.

LaunchPad. Image: Gymnastics Australia“A sport like gymnastics doesn’t have the profile of the major football codes, so we need to always look at innovative and creative ways to help raise revenue and support our national championships.”

Mr. Rendell said that the “Sportaroo crowdfunding model was something that I kept an eye on, with Jana Pittman through her bobsled activities for next year’s Winter Olympics.”

The creation of a video to promote their crowdfunding campaign, as well as incentives for those who donate, GA hope to “offer people unique opportunities to be involved at the National Championships at a different level than would normally be experienced”.

As part of the crowdfunding initiative, companies and individuals who provide support will gain insights into gymnastics from Australia’s past Olympians – including Lauren Mitchell, Josh Jeffries, Blake Gaudry (trampoline) and Janine Murray (rhythmic gymnastics) – access to the warm up floor, and will be able to watch Australia’s future gymnastic representatives up close as they warm up at the National Championships.

The sponsorship packages also includes VIP seating to watch the National Championships, signage in the Competition Hall, listing on the event website, publication in an e-news article and one announcer promotion.

Mr. Rendell said that the video was all about trying to create something different for GA, and to get a point of difference from other sports; “It’s a crowded sponsorship and funding market so we tried to create something a little bit different and catch people’s attention.”

Mr. Rendell stated that the “feedback so far has been really positive”, but “the success will obviously be measured through the sale of the packages, and their ability to engage people in the sport.”

Current and future goals for GA

In March of this year, GA launched the 2013 – 2016 Strategic Plan for the future of gymnastics, which has two main aims; firstly, GA aims to generate medal winning routines in world class events such as the Commonwealth and Olympic Games, and secondly GA hope to grow the number of registered gymnastics participants in Australia from 144, 542 to 175, 000 by 2016.

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