Jan Christensen, Danish Handball Association
From January 1, Denmark’s popular national women’s handball team, who won their third successive Olympic title in Athens this year, will wear shirts emblazoned with a Red Cross logo and the text ”We fight for life”.
That’s the first result from newly signed agreement between the Danish Handball Association, the Danish Red Cross and the Bikuben Foundation, which is a leading player in humanitarian sponsorships in Denmark.
Although the Bikuben Foundation is paying for the sponsorship, the Danish Red Cross gets the same rights and visibility as a traditional sports sponsorship.
“This is breaking new ground. I have never before heard of an agreement at this level, where a private sponsor gives both money to a sports partner and exposure to a humanitarian organisation,” says Danish Red Cross general secretary, Jorgen Poulsen.
He is very happy that the popular Danish ”handball girls” will be ambassadors for the Red Cross message. In addition the agreement will allow the Danish Red Cross to engage in activities involving the Danish Handball Association’s network, not least among young people both in Denmark and abroad.
“It's a very forward-looking gift that the Bikuben Foundation has given us. And as I said to the girls from the national team: ‘You are going to save lives with this sponsorship’,” Poulsen adds.
The deal has gained a lot of attention in the Danish media. Bikuben Foundation director, Kay Dam Steffensen, says the agreement as a chance for his non-profit making foundation to support a very popular sport with a broad popular participation, and at the same time promote the Danish Red Cross.
“We see our gift to the Danish Red Cross as an opportunity for it to gain visibility, especially with regard to those Danes interested in sport. What we have given them is a tool, that they can use both to raise awareness about different topics and for fundraising,” says Steffensen.
The deal was also welcomed by the new Red Cross ambassadors, the ‘girls from the national team’. “I have always considered the Red Cross to be an organisation that one should support. With all the reports of what is going on in the world today, I think our new sponsorship is perfect,” says Rikke Horlykke, a key member of the team.
Danish Red Cross plans to use its new “ambassadors” both within Denmark and to create awareness about international topics.