JDK & DB: Det frivillige sponsorarbejde

Rikke Sejer Berg

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis examines how small, voluntary sport organizations through communications efforts can optimize their stakeholder relations, with the purpose of improving and strengthening the image of the sport and, over time, increase the possibility of sponsorships and fundraising. The investigation is based on a comparative analysis of two Danish sports organizations within judo and wrestling. The theoretical framework in which the thesis investigates the problem statement consists of three parts. Firstly, theory concerning stakeholder relations is applied to investigate how the two sports organizations deal with their existing stakeholders using relatively few resources. This part includes the division of primary and secondary stakeholders, the role of management within stakeholder relations and the approach to stakeholder relations (normative, descriptive and instrumental approach). Secondly, theory within the area of image creation and sponsoring is applied. The purpose of this theory is to investigate image-creation in organizations, using corporate image theory, and to look at the connection between a corporate image and the possibility of sponsorships. Thirdly, corporate identity theory is applied to support the previous theories as corporate identity is the foundation of the creation of an image and, furthermore, crucial to how an organization communicates with its stakeholders. The analysis is based on 4 qualitative interviews of key figures within the two organizations, to get an insight into their thoughts and work regarding stakeholder relations and image creation. Furthermore, three external interviews have been performed with companies, categorized as possible sponsors. The external groups were chosen in order to investigate the problem statement from the perspective of the sponsor and to get more detailed and profound knowledge about the subject. Overall, the applied theories state that successful stakeholder relations require the identity of the organization, including values, mission and vision, to be deeply integrated into all corners of the organization. The better integrated the identity is, the more trustworthy the communication to stakeholders will be. When the organization is perceived as trustworthy, the possibility of a strong image increases which, in connection to the problem statement, in turn can increase the possibility of sponsorships. The empirical investigation shows that the two case organizations have relatively little focus on internal communication, causing different working patterns and goals within the organizations. Furthermore, the organizations have a gap between their actual vision, mission and values and how they communicate and promote themselves to external stakeholders. Both organizations have the goal of attracting more members and a vision to be more than just their sport. However, they both promote themselves through the elite and the “stars” of the sport, which are two controversial points. The external interviews showed that companies often look for sponsorships connected to socially responsible projects or values, in contrast to just sports and elite, as they also look for a collaboration, which can improve their image. The conclusion of the thesis is built on the argument that the organizations in question are compelled to improve their internal communication, with the purpose of making the corporate identity a more integrated part of the entire organization. Thereby, they will be able to bring the employees (the clubs) into the strategy and enable consistent communication to external stakeholders. Finally, the organizations have to close the gap between their corporate strategy and their actual communication to external stakeholders, by changing the focus point of their communications efforts. By promoting the organizations through a socially responsible or socially benefitting perspective, they will reach a wider group of people, which could be beneficial to their main goal of more members. Additionally, through a socially responsible perspective, they respond to requirements of possible sponsors.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages134