When one thinks of fundraising activities for a good cause, you might automatically think of large and fancy fundraising galas with people in dinner jackets, bow ties and dazzling dresses, accompanied by an auction or an expensive dinner. How so? Traditionally, fundraising galas are a solidified method of successfully raising large sums of money within wealthier communities. However, with the Covid-19 restrictions in Hong Kong, organising a large-scale fundraising event has become a difficult task.
"The aim of the team was to bring the legal community together and, ideally, gather as many donations as possible to raise awareness of children’s rights."
Ensuring that attendees have been vaccinated, not been classified as close contacts and having conducted rapid-antigen tests before entering the venue is a significant challenge and can create frustration for the participants. Although the government is still in the process of relaxing their social distancing measures step by step, attendees and participants are still unable to enjoy such events like in the past. But what if there was a way to conduct a fundraising activity, where individuals were not required to sit next to each other with a maximum of eight people per table and the requirement to wear a mask? Well, there is a way. A hockey match!
Saajandeep Singh (our soon-to-be associate solicitor) in action.
In December 2021, during the fourth wave of Hong Kong’s Covid-19 pandemic, I joined a mixed gender hockey team called ‘’The Legal Services Hockey Team’’. The team is a mixture of solicitors, barristers, and various other legal professionals. The aim of the team was to bring the legal community together and, ideally, gather as many donations as possible to raise awareness of children’s rights.
Prior to joining the team, I had only made the acquaintance of the team's two founders, Azan Marwah, a barrister, and Jerome McDonagh, a director at MDD Forensic Accountants. All the other players were still unknown to me, although I knew of them either through LinkedIn or through my former classmates who worked with them. Under normal circumstances, a trainee solicitor like myself would not often come across the opportunity to meet and mingle with senior associates, in-house counsels, partners or managing partners of other law firms in Hong Kong. Yet, through our shared interest of hockey, I was able to meet my team mates from different practice areas and law firms, while exchanging tactics on the pitch when the clock was ticking.
"There is a hunger in Hong Kong for innovative fundraising activities, that are a breakaway from the traditional activities."
In our debut game, we faced the 'Correctional Services Department' hockey team and made it our collective goal to raise money for the Hong Kong Committee on Children’s Rights. We raised over HK$60,000. Not a bad start.
Group photo after the hockey match at Happy Valley.
Several months later, in September 2022, we played our second charity game, which was dubbed the ‘The Shield of Justice’, as we faced the summer hockey league team of Hong Kong Football Club, the 'HKFC Kimchees'. This time, we tripled our donation goal and ended up raising over HK$200,000 for the Hong Kong Committee on Children’s Rights.
Being able to raise this sum by just showing up to play a sport which I have participated in for almost as long as I can remember was a truly special moment. The match ended in a 2-2 draw after four gruelling, fast paced quarters of hockey. To top it off and add another layer of difficulty, the game took place in the evening, right after our firm’s annual junk boat party. At the end, we were forced to go to penalties, in which we eventually came out on top.
‘The Justice League' and the 'HKFC Kimchees' before their hockey game.
It was wonderful to be part of such a fun-filled atmosphere, where everyone shared a common goal and interest, while simultaneously being able to raise money for children’s rights. The successful matches that have been carried out have been welcomed by the legal community, as there are many more games that are being prepared and are in the pipeline of the near future. This goes to show that there is a hunger in Hong Kong for innovative fundraising activities, that are a breakaway from the traditional activities. Replacing the tux for a hockey stick is just as effective.
Disclaimer: This publication is general in nature and is not intended to constitute legal advice. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this publication.
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