Goodbody Stockbrokers stepped into sports sponsorship for the first time last week with a new bursary scheme to be applied through Rugby Players Ireland.
The scheme will create the Goodbody Rugby Players Ireland Personal Development Bursary, which is aiding the development and progression of 12 players’ off-field careers and academic studies.
We sat with the firms Head of Brand Marketing, Sarah Moriarty to go a little deeper in how it works and the motivation for getting involved.
Where did the first spark to get involved come about from?
There are huge connections between our client base and rugby. We wanted to do something but the challenge was a crowded marketplace and our desire to do something more than just a badging exercise.
We sat down with Rugby Players Ireland and began to explore a few possibilities around transition.There was an alignment with what we do and what players need.
Having an education element was important in terms of giving something that will be of real and lasting value.
Is the bursary something to fund existing education courses or to embark on new ones?
It is both. there were a very large number of applications. We wanted a spread across each of the provinces and we wanted a mix between those who were starting out in eduaction and those who might have been struggling with time, money or travel to stay in college.
The other element was to help those who might be starting to consider ‘what next?’ and to help them find a path that would potentially lead to a post playing career.
And it was an open application process?
We designed a form which asked a number of questions around what the bursary would mean for them.
We got over 60 applications which we were pleased with in a first year and it has created interest around the players as to have the first year will work in reality.
We had originally planned for 12 bursaries but the quality was so strong, and particularly from the Women’s game, we decided to expand to 12, four of which are going to Women.
The whole process was anonymised so the four of us who did the screening and scoring did not know who we were considering.
Was there a main theme running through the applications?
It was very interesting and there was a real spread. Some were based on financial need while others were very clear in their ambition around a career and going as far as they could in rugby.
Is it a cash amount or with additional support?
The bursary itself is in cash, and quite proscriptive in how it can be spent. We will be getting to know the players throughout though and we will be building a relationship with them using the services we have.
We are looking at developing a work placement programme and maybe an internship as well. That helps to make it real internally as well as providing additional benefit to those we are helping.
Is it an annual bursary?
This is done on an annual basis. One of the criteria was to exclude those who were already on a scholarship but this cohort would be able to apply again in a years time when we will do it again, with a few tweaks as we go through learnings from the process.
Is this a first for Goodbody in sport?
We did have a relationship with Graeme McDowell in golf a few years ago but our focus has really been on the arts.
We ran something similar to this with the Museum of Modern Art in Kilmainham whioch has been great and we will take some learnings from that as well.
Image Credit: Brendan Moran, Sportsfile