In less than two months the Special Olympics will kick-off in the iconic city of Los Angeles. The largest sport and humanitarian event in the world provides happiness to 3 million athletes in more than 180 countries around the world. Special Olympics Ireland has existed since 1978 and now boasts almost 10,000 athletes participating in 15 sports, supported by over 25,000 volunteers. For most of us, it was the staging of the 2003 World Summer Games that will live long in the memory. So much about that event was a success for everyone involved. None more so than Eircom which, this year, celebrates 30 years of partnership with Special Olympics Ireland. Indeed, it is the longest corporate partnership of its kind in this country.

In an interview last year about the relationship, Carolan Lennon, Managing Director of Eircom, said: “There are many reasons this relationship has endured and grown over the course of three decades. Our employees have embraced and supported this partnership from the very beginning and like Special Olympics Ireland we are local, we have roots in every community in Ireland so supporting local community is very important to us and most importantly the overarching goals of our organisations are aligned.”

As demonstrated by Eircom, sponsors that strategically leverage cause-related sponsorships can address a multitude of business needs, moving beyond awareness to address other objectives, such as employee engagement and customer affinity. Leveraging cause sponsorship does come with risk; consumers are highly critical of associations they feel are insincere or hypocritical. Clearly, long-term associations such as that of Eircom, confirm the authenticity of these partnerships.

Recently, both Gala and Aer Lingus have announced their involvement ahead of the Summer Games. It is clear that the benefits of this wornderful event can be felt, not only by the millions of participants and volunteers involved but also by those corporate sponsors committed to the cause.

This video, narrated by Liam Neeson, was created to celebrate Team Ireland’s involvement at the upcoming games:

Infographic

If you would like to support Team Ireland visit  this link.

Credits

InBusiness Editors Choice Awards 2014, Interview with Carolan Lennon.