The head of Surfing Taranaki has launched a website he believes could change the face of sport fundraising worldwide.
Surfing Taranaki executive officer and Taranaki regional councillor Craig Williamson has spent the past eight months developing Sportfunder - a website designed to help athletes reach their sporting goals by attracting sponsors through social media.
Williamson believes Sportfunder, has the potential to be as successful as Taranaki founded website Tenderlink, which creator Philip Brown sold for $21.6 million in 2010.
From September 1 Sportfunder will begin promoting projects which so far include ultra marathon runner Lisa Tamati, international surfer Paige Hareb and rising tennis star Ajeet Rai.
The concept of crowd funding websites has been around for a while with websites such as Kickstarter and PledgeMe helping people attract funding for creative projects.
But there were no market leaders in crowd funding specifically for sport, Williamson said.
"There's no-one really focused on sport so there's a huge gap there," Williamson said.
Sportfunder allows athletes, sports teams, clubs and events to set up projects to raise funds for a goal by a specific date.
They attract "sponsors" by sharing projects through social media.
Sponsors decide how much they want to contribute to the cause depending on what packages are offered by the project creators.
Taranaki ultra marathoner Tamati is using Sportfunder in an attempt to raise $15,000 for an upcoming 220 kilometre race in Nepal in November.
People have the choice of donating sums ranging from $10 to $4000 for her cause with a range of packages on offer.
For example, if someone donates $4000 to Tamati's cause she will speak at a conference of their choice.
For $50 they receive email updates, a signed photo and DVD.
Williamson said Sportfunder would first focus on Taranaki, then go New Zealand-wide by September, Australia by October and have a global focus by the end of the year.
"I can see this being huge.
"From every angle I think about it I can see huge demand."
New Plymouth design agency Little Rocket created the Sportfunder website and Taranaki businesses were employed at every opportunity throughout the development phase, Williamson said.
Unlike other crowd funding websites, which only see projects get money if they reach their target, Sportfunder lets sponsors decide if they want to support a project regardless of whether it reaches its goal or not.
"If a project doesn't reach its goal not all hope is lost."
Williamson said he would make profit through a 5 per cent commission on every donation made.
"But for the foreseeable future every cent of that will be put into developing and promoting the site."
The website would be advertisement free. "At the end of the day I want to create something which helps sport.
"I know how hard it is to raise funds for an event," he said.
Williamson used the ASP Women's World Surf Tour as an example.
The tour features the top 10 women surfers in the world, some of which have no commercial sponsors yet thousands of fans, he said.
"What this will enable them to do is connect with their fans directly."
- Taranaki Daily News