About the Project
Disabled people achieve unimaginable goals. Yet they are not equally integrated or recognized in society, be it as competitive athlete or deprived child. Sport is a wonderful means to achieve this. SOCIAL FRIENDS support young disabled people in competitive and in popular sports. Our mission, as community of honorary members, is to promote their inclusion and fulfillment of their full potential. SOCIAL FRIENDS for example, takes care of individual disabled athletes PR activities through comprehensive event coverage and/or setting up and maintaining their homepage as well as by providing financial support to sponsor for example race fees.
This is how we work
# 1 WE INFORM:
SOCIAL FRIENDS enables young people with disabilities to discover their athletic enthusiasm, among others, to manage their destiny better. Through event reporting as well as various SOCIAL FRIENDS activities (charity events), we keep our SOCIAL FRIENDS community (disabled and non-disabled athletes) and the public informed. Currently we count 27 voluntary supporters in the field of event coverage of our handicapped athletes, publishing news in various channels and event promotions.
# 2 WE CONNECT:
Disabled athletes get integrated into the community and take part in various events - together with other disabled and non-disabled people. In addition, through various platforms, disabled athletes can network and support each other. Furthermore, our celebrity supporters such as Marcel Hirscher, Claudia Riegler, Valentin Pfeil, Toni Polster, Benjamin Karl, Nicole Trimmel, Bernd Zangerl, Lukas Mueller and many more are helping us to connect with a wide audience and to get more visibility.
# 3 WE SUPPORT:
We are supporting our athletes through a great variety of means: Various PR activities, the creation of professional websites, Facebook appearances, autograph cards, sponsors portfolios, press releases; editorial event coverage; search and management of state subsidies, sponsors , cooperation partners; web, graphic arts, photography, print and video
Moreover, we help them to:
- Draft articles to be published in newspapers and/or on websites
- Draft/create papers/profiles to be shared with potential sponsors
- Reach out to government institutions for grant applications
- Organise meetings and reach out to potential donors, organizations and supports.
Finding the right running partner can be challenging for visually impaired runners. Our goal is to make this easier. In order to do so, we arrange guides for sports events (guide runner for blind athletes); helping visually impaired runners and sighted guides to unite.
# 4 WE EMPOWER:
SOCIAL FRIENDS supports aspiring and existing athletes in advertising themselves/clever self-marketing. This allows our handicapped athletes to gain more visibility and focus/concentrate on the execution of their professional sporting activity.
Event cooperation in popular sports
Event cooperation’s help us to promote SOCIAL FRIENDS and our supported athletes within big sport events. Media coverage in print, online and TV resulted from being present at the events and gives more visibility to our disabled athletes and disabled sport as a hole. At the events we drive information desks to inform people about SOCIAL FRIENDS and support visual impaired people through SOCIAL FRIENDS guide runner.
SOCIAL FRIENDS guide runner participates at various running and triathlon events as well as championships where they crossed the finish line with a blind and/or visually impaired athlete.
Guiding is the ultimate team effort. There is nothing better than knowing that you helped another person accomplish their goal. Guides not only donate their time and effort to assist and/or visually impaired athlete at any event, but they also pace and motivate them to compete at a high level. Every direction choice, slight adjustment, and verbal warning are essential for handicapped athletes. Guide running however is also a chance to make new friends, to race, to be a part of a great community, and to show a wider audience what one can achieve with and/or without disabilities.
Last year’s Wachau Marathon, which has a global reach of more than 10,000 runners worldwide, is a good example of SOCIAL FRIENDS engagement in organizing integrations relays and guide runners where our blind athlete Patrick Bitzinger as well as the blind runner Hans Ewald Grill participated in the famous run in Krems, Austria.
In the last years we worked together with the following austrian sport events with international participants:
- Wings for Life World Run 2017
- Official charity partner at the Wachau 20 year’s jubilees run 2017
- Austrian Women’s Run 2017
- Hilton Manager Run 2017
- Vienna Night Run-Cooperation with “Light for the World” 2017
- Vienna Business Run 2017, 2016, 2015
- Ironman Austria 2016, 2015
- Vienna City Marathon 2016
- Wachau Marathon 2016
- Wings for Life World Run 2016
SOCIAL FRIENDS is present at other events and works together with different cooperation partners. E.g:
- Vienna University of Economics and Business
- Private Modul University Vienna
- Gras-ski event Burgenland
- Austrian Paralympic Committee
- Social Impact Award
Best practices in the field of giving wings to young talented disabled athletes:
- SOCIAL FRIENDS developed and administers the website’s of Patrick Bitzinger , a blind double state champion in tandem driving, Martin Würz, handicapped skier and paralympic participant, Janina Falk, mental handicapped swimmer and Team Aigner with visual impaired skier Veronika Aigner and her sister Irmgard (guide).
- Through SOCIAL FRIENDS commitment, Katrin Neudolt, a successful deaf badminton player, was granted a government support by the office of the government of lower Austria, Land NOE.
- SOCIAL FRIENDS event reports and social media updates covered numerous national and international triumphs of our disabled athletes as well as supporters such as the Thomas Frühwirth, who, despite being paralyzed in a wheelchair, became the Ironman World Champion.
- Veronika Aigner, SOCIAL FRIENDS young ski alpine star, was elected junior athlete of the year, by Austria’s Disabled Sports in 2016.
Please see one example of SOCIAL FRIENDS work for Janina Falk below:
How is SOCIAL FRIENDS funded?
SOCIAL FRIENDS is financially independent from governmental support and is exclusively financed by the SOCIAL FRIENDS Community through sponsoring, fundraising, donations and small earnings:
support the public relations work for specific disabled athletes.
People and companies raise funds with partly our online fundraising tool. E.g.
- Race Around Austria 2016- racing team for SOCIAL FRIENDS
- Offline fundraising: Top Physio Golfball
Foundations, private persons, companies and event organizers support the work and different projects through donations.
Moreover, a small part of earnings is generated by starting fees at events and by selling SOCIAL FRIENDS Goodies.
Suggest a contribution
Do you have skills that could benefit this project? Get in touch and see how you can lend a hand.