The What and Why of Sponsorships
The National Publicity Committee, under the Board of General Purposes, is charged with lifting the public awareness and profile of Freemasons New Zealand (that’s all of us!). As a vehicle for that purpose, sponsorship has been chosen as an appropriate and effective means of making an impression amongst those who may appreciate our values and principles.
On being invested as Fellow Crafts we are expected to make the Liberal Arts and Sciences our future study. Little wonder then that our two national sponsorships are with The Royal Society of New Zealand and the Arts Foundation of New Zealand. One, the pre-eminent organisation in the country for the advancement and promotion of science, the other, honouring excellence in creativity and investing in the cultural heritage of the nation. Both highly eminent organisations with whom we feel very comfortable being associated and in whose activities and membership the message of Freemasonry, we feel, will be recognised and respected.
The Freemasons Big Science Adventures video competition and the New Generation Awards are the means of building the associations and because they are youth oriented they enlarge the circle of people we touch.
So how do sponsorships work for us? There are a number of important factors which, briefly, include:
The ‘fit’ – matching us with organisations that espouse some of the same principles and philosophies; using the value of our partners’ good reputation and image in helping our own through association;
Similar target audiences – in demographics and style;
Using their substantial publicity mechanisms to our advantage (when we have few of those resources ourselves);
The similarity of objective – in so far that we are in similar positions – each looking to gain more recognition and lifting our public profile;
Their resources and in-built ability to arrange and manage events.
It is important to note that we are the sponsors of the event in total. We do not sponsor the individual schools that enter the Freemasons Big Science Adventures competition. Neither do we sponsor the individual artist recipients of the New Generation Awards. The strategy is hands-off, leaving the determination of awardees in the hands of the experts in their fields.
We don’t expect to get headlines in the daily newspapers for these efforts. They don’t rank as ‘news’ alongside fires, riots and revolutions. They do get their share of media space, particularly among their own circles of interest. And they do get enormous recognition within the process of conducting the events at meetings, in invitations, at assemblies, at presentations and ‘word of mouth’ effect to a very, very large public audience (think of all those awardees, their families, their relations, their teachers, their peers and others from their area of endeavour or community).
It is always difficult to make judgements about the ‘results’ being achieved in our publicity activity but the Committee and the Board are totally convinced that these sponsorships are proving ever more valuable in putting us into a very visible role in the community. And like all good sponsorships they get better known and receive more recognition the longer they go on. As some measure of their worth The Royal Society have advised us that they have had several offers from other organisations willing to take up the sponsorship of Big Science Adventures should it ever become available.
It should be noted that both of these sponsorships are funded by Freemasons New Zealand through the Publicity Committee.
There should be no misunderstanding of the place in our publicity activity of the very worthy programme of annual University Scholarships. Funded by the Board of Benevolence, the promotion arrangements are planned and managed by the Publicity Committee under The Freemasons Charity banner. This cannot be classed as a sponsorship but is a stand-alone, separate national benevolence project of our own. It has for some years been seen as an opportunity for Freemasons publicity and has received quite some support in the past.
However, the programme this year with the move to a single national presentation, particularly by the Governor General at Government House in Wellington, was a planned upgrade to the recognition of the scholarships. All have agreed that it was a spectacularly successful event with a huge and long-overdue hike in the image we present.
We should all be proud to stand up and say that we are Freemasons and our sponsorships and other programmes give us ample material with which we can make conversation about the work of Freemasonry. Add the excellent university research work in the areas of gerontology and paediatrics by The Freemasons Charity, the Freemasons Homes, the Freemasons Charitable Trusts and the wonderful charitable work done by Lodges, Districts and Divisions and we should all be able to hold the floor for hours!
Brethren can be assured that the worth of all our sponsorships are closely monitored and regularly reviewed by the Publicity Committee and the Board of General Purposes. We are convinced that our efforts are correctly directed and beginning to bear fruit!
● The Freemasons University Scholarships are funded through The Freemasons Charity, where we are rewarding academic excellence and community involvement. Students make application through University Scholarship Offices or the Freemasons New Zealand website or Lodges. Students are shortlisted and interviews conducted by panels of Freemasons with extensive Masonic, academic or commercial backgrounds. However, these are not charitable grants and any students ‘in need’ are funded through the usual charitable mechanisms. We are building up our relationship with the eight universities and we are also developing an alumni made up of the 850 students who have received these scholarships over the last 30 years totalling nearly three million dollars.
● The Freemasons Big Science Adventures, through The Royal Society of New Zealand, is a video competition for Year 11-13 secondary school students with a different scientific theme each year. This year’s topic was Darwin’s theory of evolution. Entries are viewed by a panel of eminent persons selected by the RSNZ and the winners get fantastic travel prizes for the three students and the teacher involved. Nearly 70 Secondary Schools are now involved in the programme which is aimed at older age students. Latest winners are Nelson Boys College and Tauranga Girls College who are going, respectively, to the United Kingdom and, thanks to the New Zealand Navy, to New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic Islands.
● The New Generation Awards, through the Arts Foundation of New Zealand, are ‘presented by’ Freemasons New Zealand. They reward five promising artists every two years, with $25,000 prizes each, to enable them to continue their careers. Many have gone on to be outstanding in their field of artistic endeavour. The selection of these artists is made by the Arts Foundation of New Zealand, which is the most qualified to make the selections. Each artist must have developed an individual identity that demonstrates richness, range and depth, and stand for the strength and quality of their particular art form in New Zealand, at their level. They will be at an early stage of their career, but will have already demonstrated excellence and innovation through an output of artistic work at high levels. The inaugural New Generation Awards recipients in 2006 were Eve Armstrong – Visual Arts, Warren Maxwell – Musician, Tze Ming Mok – Writer, Joe Sheehan – Jeweller, and Taika Waititi – Film & Theatre. The second awards in the series will be announced later in 2008.