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DANiEL WiLLiS, blog


Artists make art look easy. That is part of the fascination that holds our gaze and our attention. Through the medium, we are spoken to and sometimes we understand deeply.

Sometimes we are fooled into thinking that it is, in fact, easy and when coupled with the wealth and status bestowed upon great artists, we want desperately to partake. When young Courtney Cox was hauled up on stage in Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 video, Dancing in the Dark’ she fulfilled a fantasy in many a women’s heart. Evidently, “it could have been any one”, wishfully, “it could have been me”, and actually, it was an act.

Our inclination to illustrate that we too, are capable of creating fascinating work is so strong that sometimes we go to great lengths to prove it. The thing is, most people do not have innate talent, and most people do not invest the 5,000 to 10,000 hours it takes to become proficient. When we do try to prove it we end up proving something entirely unintended.

Creativity by committee, when individuals are so intent on putting their mark on the creative process that they are willing to subvert the message for their own personal notoriety, is an example of the strength of our inclination to be on stage with the band.

The philosophy of the award winning advertising firm TAXI directly addresses the need for a highly scrupled and tightly knit group of creatives. That is that the group should be small enough to fit into a taxicab and all headed in the same direction.

Every seat taken up by a client member is at the expense of the artistic talent and the potential expression of the agency. Of course the client should be driving the cab, but when they are also riding “shotgun”, the results may suffer.

It is sometimes a message that clients need to hear and even though it may sound like, “get off the stage,” it really speaks to the integrity of the artist/agency and should be interpreted as, “there’s a bus coming in 15 minutes, we’ll meet you there.”

Applause lowers the threshold of thoughtful analysis, and renders the mind more susceptible to concepts and emotions it would otherwise guard against. When we applaud someone, we are giving him or her carte blanche—an open door to our mind. We are saying, "Whatever you say, whatever you do, I want it!"

There are over 85,000 registered charities in Canada plus at least as many local not for profits that will raise money for important, if not life saving activities. To some, it is important to give for personal reasons, such as I am afflicted, or I played that sport as a child. Sometimes giving is based on a thorough moral examination of values and over-arching belief systems or we sometimes give because we are put on the spot and it is easier to dig into our pockets and pocketbooks than to say, "no, not today, thanks".

It is a good caution to ensure your "contribution is used for charitable purposes, not fundraising and administration", as Francis Woolley, professor of economics at Carleton University points out in his article "How to make an informed choice for charity". But when you are in business, it is important to think about your charity of choice for these other reasons.

If you are a local business, support local initiatives, match your charity of choice to your customer's

interests. Limit your monetary support to fewer rather than more charities and donate your time as well as your money. Don't get involved because it will boost business, but understand that it will boost business. Turn away all competing requests for donations. All. Competing. Requests.

If you are a larger national or international organization, develop a "Cares" program through which all efforts will be funneled. Encourage team oriented activities and let the staff lead the program and enjoy getting involved - the company just cuts a check. Keep your engagement off your corporate website. Allow the selection of the charity of choice be made at a local level.

In either case, your charity of choice should resonate with you and your staff, should be one that you are comfortable sticking with for a number of years and should make you happy knowing that your efforts are helping others. Your charity of choice is a reflection of your company values and personalizes your organization. Don't be afraid to say, "Sorry, but that is not our company's charity of choice", because at the end of the day your charity dollars are too important to hand out on impulse or because of a slick fundraising campaign.

  • Special blog for Futbol Niagara by: Dan Willis

Anyone that loved to play sports as a kid knows how important those experiences are and how they shape who we become as adults.

You play as a kid, you coach your kid as a parent, and if you have the means, you sponsor the kids as a business owner.

It was a short distance for me to go from learning about the newly sanctioned Futbol Niagara league to becoming a sponsor and I’d like to outline my top ten reasons for signing on.

10) This newly sanctioned league actually has spots open.

Simply, established leagues do not have space for new sponsors. Businesses sign on and they renew year after year. Open spots are quickly snatched up from a waiting list. Call any Sports League that has been around for a number of years and they’ll tell you, “Thanks, but we don’ have any sponsorships available.

9) The location of the Haig Bowl Arena and its proximity to kids and young families.

The Haig Bowl Arena has a long history in central St. Catharines. Saved from being demolished by the community groups that now call it home, this important facility no longer features any ice, but activities like Fustal, Roller Derby and Pickle Ball are attracting people to this great post-war neighbourhood.

8) Ivan’s love of the game.

Anyone that has met Ivan has no difficulty seeing the passion he has for this great sport. As a player, coach and administrator, Ivan’s love of the game, his appreciation for the value it has for kids and his energy to make it all happen reassures me that this league is here for the long haul.

7) A fundamental belief in community development.

Anyone that has met me knows of my passion for community involvement. I have sat on boards for different theatre companies, business organizations and councils. I coached my daughter’s soccer team for 4 years and have volunteered for other organizations that I feel are important to our community. I really only do my small part as I see it, and sponsoring a team, a matter of writing a check, takes up barely any time at all.

6) Promotional opportunities for my business.

I want my business to be associated with good things in Niagara and a sponsorship for Futbol Niagara accomplishes that. I don’t expect my phone to ring off the hook because I put my name on a jersey, but 1000’s of people will see my banner at the arena and that is just good branding.

5) Ongoing invitations to watch the kids play.

Although I am not the cigar-chomping, fat-cat team owner in the boxed seats that we might envision at the hallowed arenas of major league sports, I do share one thing with them and that is a love of the game. Now that I am engaged, I can come out to cheer my team on once in a while and my inbox includes invitations to watch the traveling men’s team play too.

4) Encouragement to get in shape and play in the men’s division.

I did play soccer as a kid, and in men’s leagues. I thought I hung up my cleats for good, but I know of some old timers my age that are still kicking a ball around. Watching Futsal, with its smaller pitch, emphasis on technique and high-scoring results makes me reminisce about my glory days and I believe that if I really wanted to I could strap on the shin pads and play again. I can, if I believe I can.

3) Introducing others to this great sport.

It is new, it is exciting and it is inclusive. As a sponsor in this time of new development for the league, I get to share the passion with others in my networks and turn them on to something they may not know about.

2) Showing leadership to other businesses.

My business is as a marketing consultant. This is a good decision for my business and for me. If I believe that, I should show my clients and my prospects by walking the walk.

1) Knowing that we are teaching the kids to be part of something bigger than themselves.

Team sports are great for building character and for giving families something they can do together. Friendships are forged and the highs and lows of competition are shared as a group. Being responsible to a kick-of time and staying in position for the duration of the game is exactly what it means to “show-up”, and as any life coach will tell you, 90% of life is showing up.

Here is your chance:

Get involved, Sponsor a team.

For more information you can download a sponsor package here.

And when you are ready to reserve your team sponsorship, you can do that here.

About Futbol Niagara

Futbol Niagara is a new organization specializing in the sport of 5 on 5 Futsal.

All teams are sanctioned under the banner of the Niagara Soccer Association, a non-profit organization that operates programs for the region’s youth.

Our teams (U8, U10, U12, U14, U16, U18 & our Men’s futsal teams) are composed of players from all areas of the Niagara Region. For the 2016 winter season we have planned 3 tournaments that will allow our teams to participate in competitions across Southern Ontario, a showcase tournament in USA, as well as one of the largest tournaments in Canada called Ontario Futsal Cup and The Umbro Futsal Cup in May 2016.

Futbol Niagara Futsal Club offers local businesses and service clubs the opportunity to become associated with the organization by way of sponsorship.

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