“A Purpose for Ping Pong”

By Kim Gilbert | Oct. 27, 2015, 12 a.m. (ET)


When the stage for a celebrity fundraiser is on a baseball field, you simply cannot go wrong!  What’s even more amazing is the fact that ping pong can raise so much money and awareness for charities like the 3rd Annual Ping Pong 4 Purpose bbenefiting Kershaw’s Challenge at Dodger Stadium, which raises over $250,000 each year.  The key to success each year is a complete corporate cooperative rather than the executive competition that takes place around big events.  When generosity is the ultimate goal, supporters are encouraged to share their passion and talents to give back and make a difference, and so much good can be accomplished by all, especially with the help of celebrities and corporate sponsors.

Some people have a stigma towards corporate sponsors and charities claiming that big businesses only have their own interests at stake, but these groups are only as “good” or “bad” as the individuals governing them.  For example, each year some charities raise millions of dollars in donations in the name of those in need, yet spend less than 3% of donation proceeds directly on their causes.  In reality, most of their funds are diverted to the portfolios of the operators as well as the ‘for-profit” companies they hire to promote their donations.  Then, the small amount of proceeds that make it to those in real need are further diminished by overhead costs.

At Ping Pong 4 Purpose, the corporate sponsors donate to have their teams on tables, their families and friends in the ball park, and then invite their clients and prospects to donate and participate in the event as well.  Their sponsorship is similar to becoming an advertiser with the difference being that rather than paying for an ad, the sponsor has an opportunity to align its brand with Kershaw’s Challenge, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and celebrities.  With this affiliation, each sponsor has the opportunity to promote itself as being philanthropic while getting a boost of credibility by showing it has the support of large and influential companies.  Corporate sponsorships have become an integral component of marketing strategies, especially when you see that U.S. corporate spending on sports sponsorships grew an estimated $20 billion in 2013 – which amounted equally to one-third of total US advertising and one-half of all US digital advertising costs.

This year several corporations like PongStarz, Uberpong, Cornilleau, Acura, Dodgers, Subway, Under Armour, Budweiser, and T-Mobile literally “rallied” together to support the continued success of this event.  Our hope is that future business leaders run their operations with as much honor and care for humanity, while upholding their fiduciary responsibility to their own businesses.  With this strategy and “hands-on” approach in place, Kershaw’s Challenge has been able to bring in significantly more revenue than it spends in order to help build schools, hospitals, and programs in the United States and Africa – directly aiding those in need.