2017 Ambassador Program Vision
Team NeighborLink started off as an effort to equip and empower NeighborLink volunteers and supporters with really cool gear they needed to tackle the athletic pursuits they were after. We operated from a grassroots position of organizing and goal setting, and were happy with any effort TNL members put in to wear our gear. Over the years, the number of supporters exploded and soon athletes were organizing around different sports that required teammates as well as taking on big events like, Ironman length triathlons. This continues to be the driving force and the mentality that TNL holds and is inspired by. Anyone and everyone is welcome to buy a running shirt, cycling kit, or pair of socks and represent us in whatever sport you're into. If we you want to spread the word about NL and we can put a logo on it, we most certainly will!
As the team grew and required more operational energy, we knew we needed to start challenging our athletes to help us raise money to justify the amount of time we were spending running the team. TNL is a resource development tool of NeighborLink Fort Wayne and we were curious to know whether all the athletes that were interested in representing us would take on the challenge of helping us accomplish the mission of the organization. In 2015, we launched the first version of the Ambassador program, which was designed to incentivize and support any athletes that chose to fund raise throughout the year or for a specific event. We raised over $15,000 that first year between athlete fundraisers and athlete donations. That funding was used to fund several NL projects that volunteers were taking on and needed money for supplies.
We decided to keep the ball rolling in 2016 with ambassadors as well as launch our first traditional competitive team, which raced cyclocross all last fall. Both were successful with a combined $18,000 in fundraising efforts projects. We also welcomed a number of financial sponsors with the TNLCX efforts that helped cover some operational costs related to fundraisers and events we did.
In an effort to combine those two programs to create equal opportunities for all TNL athletes regardless of sport or level within that sport, we have created the 2017 Ambassador Program. We are looking for 20 athletes to commit to raising at least $1,000 over the course of 2017, do 5 volunteer projects, and represent us in as many events as possible. In exchange for your efforts, we will offer a $500 athlete budget good for TNL gear or entry fees, access to our best sponsor discounts, and event support at your targeted events. For complete details including how to get started, visit our Ambassadors Page.
We have a goal to raise over $35,000 from these fundraisers, the sponsor support we have, and our TNL events in 2017. Because of the dedicated sponsors we have, we are fully funded to cover the costs associated with the Ambassador program in 2017. This is exciting as it allows us to empower and support athletes, grow as a team through increase exposure, and allow our competitive teams to expand their reach. We can't wait to see what TNL athletes accomplish by the end of 2017.
If you're interested in learning more, we'd be happy to talk to you. Raising $1000 in a year seems like a lot, but our history tells us that anyone that is committed to meeting that goal, can and will. NL staff is here to help any Ambassador meet and exceed that goal. We already have close to 10 athletes committed to the program with a few that already have a head start on their goals.
Andrew - Team Director