In the lead up to the Rio2016 Paralympic Games, World ParaVolley will be sharing the stories of some of the athletes and teams that will be competing at the Games. The following tells the story of the German Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team’s amazing fundraising scheme.
German Men’s team crowdfunding miracle on road to Rio medal
It is the semi-final match between Germany and Russia in the 2015 European sitting volleyball Championship:
“Alexander Schiffler passes the ball in to Heiko Wiesenthal. Heiko briefly considers whether to attack directly, but then sees the much better positioned Jürgen Schrapp. Soft as butter and with beautiful precision, the captain sets his roommate with this unspeakably important ball on a silver platter. For a brief moment and with around 500 enthusiastic fans watching in amazement, you can hear the drop of a pin. Schrapp, in his incomparable style, buries the ball mercilessly in the Russian half of the field. It is 15:13. Germany has just qualified for the Paralympic Summer Games in 2016 in Rio!
What follows is pure boundless joy! The German players run to their traveling fans or are weeping in each other’s arms.”
Thus the German sitting volleyball national team had successfully mastered the first great step towards Rio in 2016. But then there was the next step to train, train and train! It was only with the best training that Germany would reach for the stars and achieve a medal again like they did in London 2012. The approved annual budget from the German Disabled Sports Association was already very generous, but in order to achieve the various extra wishes for training, the German team needed to seek additional financing. The two main objectives was to host the five times Paralympics Gold Medalists, Iran, for an intensive training camp in July and then, similarly, to host Brazil in August for another camp near Stuttgart.
To raise the funds, we launched our large-scale crowd-funding campaign on the 10th of February 2016 with the title “Our medal dream for Rio”. Our aim was to raise a total of €7,916 within 60 days.
We believed it was easier to find 100 small donors, for example of € 5 each, rather than a single donor of € 500. So, here is what we offered our supporters for their generous donations:
€ 10 = autograph from favorite player
€ 20 = Poster of National team with all signatures
€ 50 = Poster of National team + Autograph card set
€ 100 = attending a training day
€ 250 = jersey of the national team with all signatures
€ 500 = jersey with all signatures + Tracksuit + sports bag
We had advertised our campaign several times in advance through our press partners and so the crowdfunding ran very well. We were able to break the threshold of €1,000 within a week.
But then the project began to lose momentum. We came up with the creative idea of encouraging the German volleyball fans with a unique reward. After reaching the mark of €2,222, we would produce a Facebook Video of our “ass shot punishment”. “Ass shot” punishment occurs when someone doesn’t live up to the team’s training objectives. Each team member then gets a chance to hit the ball as hard as they can at the person who deserved punishment. This not only gave our recent supporters great joy, but drew attention to our project from many others in Germany. This reward worked well and we raised a lot more funds. Just one week before the expiry of the 60-day period the account balance had grown to almost € 7,200.
Once again, our team proclaimed that, in the event the required sum of € 7,916 was reached another “ass shot punishment” would be given. This time the punishment would be executed with naked asses! This was hugely successful and the donations grew to more than € 9,000 at the end.
Of course the German team kept to its promise and released on 10 April 2016, the promised “ass shot punishment” video. The players wore trousers with holes for their exposed naked asses.
The training camp with the Iranians in Germany was successfully completed in July.
Unfortunately, however, the Brazilians had their visit to Germany cancelled at short notice. But the German team instead invited several very good state volleyball player of the 1st and 2nd Bundesliga for the training camp near Stuttgart. With these players, the German team was able to prepare optimally for the Paralympics in Rio.
At this point we would like once again thank our fans most sincerely for their strong support!
We are looking forward to the Games at Sugarloaf and will give everything to come home again with a medal…