Essendon CEO Xavier Campbell says a tax-deductible donation is among several flexible options available to members to help protect the future of the club.
The Bombers this week announced a series of options for access members, with a number of benefits to be offered to members who maintain their support in 2020, including a complimentary upgrade for 2021 or an Essendon guernsey signed by a player.
Alternatively, members can maintain their membership by converting their membership to a tax-deductible donation, which the club will facilitate through the Australian Sports Foundation on their behalf.
The club will invite members to choose an option next week, with communication to be staggered by product over multiple days.
Campbell said the option of maintaining your membership by converting it to a tax-deductible donation had several benefits.
“We want our members to maintain their support of the footy club this year, and realistically we need them to because financially for our football club it becomes a real challenge if we don’t have that support,” Campbell said on Working Through It.
“We are not privately owned and we are essentially owned by our members and it becomes really challenging if we don’t have that support.
“By maintaining your membership with the club, you will be helping to protect our future and keep us independent from the AFL as an unassisted club.
“Alternatively, you will have the option to convert your membership to a tax-deductible donation, which we will facilitate through the Australian Sports Foundation on your behalf.
“This impacts people differently depending on their personal circumstances, but you could receive anywhere between 15 and 45 per cent that you can claim back on your tax.
“There is a ruling now that will help support this and the club can act on behalf of members and then the member would benefit from that tax relief, and I think that is a really attractive benefit.
“We are committed to continuing to connect and engage with our members through this period and this season more broadly, and we’ve spent a lot of time working through member options at the club.”
Essendon members can also donate to the Back a Bomber campaign, which will aid fellow members in financial difficulty.
Former Bombers vice-captain Andrew Welsh was the first to donate to the campaign, pledging $5000, while defender Michael Hurley recently helped a long-time Bombers fan retain her membership and seats which belonged to her late grandmother.
Welsh, who played 162 games for Essendon, said the red and black faithful was close to his heart.
“They are part of the great club it is. The club is nothing without the players, but the players and club are nothing without the supporters,” Welsh said on Working Through It.
“It (Hurley’s donation) was something that resonated with me. If there’s support there that I can help provide in a small way to help the club but also those people to continue to feel like they are part of the membership and contributing during this tough time, it was something I wanted to do.”