Swimathon - it's local, but on a national scaleWith Swimathon closing in on £50m of charitable fundraising in its 30+ year history, I am often asked the question as to why the campaign is so successful and as I was reviewing the campaign Twitter feed on Sunday evening following another incredible weekend of swimming achievement up and down the country, it dawned on me that one key word can sum up Swimathon and its longevity over the years; community.
Swimathon has managed to achieve that incredibly unique position within the world of mass participation sport, a truly mass event but delivered on a local scale.
With more than 1,000 sessions delivered across the weekend, I am always heartened by the stories of Swimathon Directors going above and beyond to deliver amazing experiences for their swimmers. From Town Mayors starting events to home baked cakes being distributed with medals, this is local community in action at its traditional best. And that, in essence, has not changed since 1986 when the idea for Swimathon was first formed.
What has changed exponentially, however, is how this community has grown and thrived beyond the confines of the local pool and its nearby inhabitants. When we talk about the Swimathon community now, we refer to it not only on a local level but spreading far and wide across multiple social media platforms on a nationwide scale. A swimmer in Cornwall celebrating their achievement through Facebook receives a message of congratulations from a fellow swimmer in Northern Ireland, all brought about through the central common denominator that is Swimathon.
And it’s this level of engagement that I genuinely believe is where the success of Swimathon lies. A conversation stimulated by Swimathon which engages swimmers on a personal level. And the brilliant thing that we see is the value that is then added to this conversation through our core partners.
Over the event weekend, I saw proud swimmers being congratulated not only by Swimathon but by their local pool, Zoggs, Cancer Research UK, Marie Curie and our ambassadors (to name but a few!). The opportunity this then provides to add value to partners, whilst elevating engagement levels for swimmers, helps to further create the compelling Swimathon proposition to all involved. Brands talking directly to a highly enthused audience of thousands, far reaching into communities across the UK, is not a platform that is easily afforded.
So, whilst I look on in awe at the £50m fundraising generated through Swimathon to support nationwide charities, dig a little deeper and you will see that central to its success is community. It may just take a slightly different form to what swimmers were used to back in 1986!
For more information about Swimathon and for commerical opportunities, please click here.