H&R Block Expands Its ‘A Fair Shot’ NIL Campaign With Female Student Athletes

Last Updated on April 3, 2022

H&R Block has announced new name, image and likeness deals with six additional female student athletes as part of its commitment to provide $1 million in sponsorships and support for female college athletes.

The campaign kicked off with University of Iowa sophomore guard Caitlin Clark and University of South Carolina junior guard Zia Cooke on March 1, and now Jaiden Fields (University of Georgia, softball), Lauren Burke (University of Texas, softball), Emily Cole (Duke University, track and field), Trinity Thomas (University of Florida, gymnastics), and twins Audrey Nourse and Nicole Nourse (University of Southern California, beach volleyball) have joined.

“Teaming up with H&R Block and the extraordinary female athletes in this campaign is a way that I can lend my voice to the mission of equity for female athletes and a bigger and brighter future for the gymnasts and female athletes that come after me,” said Thomas. “As a competitor, I am all about action, and H&R Block is taking real action to help female athletes through financial support and preparation for the future during or after our athletic careers.”

Cole also emphasized how important it is to her that her NIL activities support opportunities for female athletes.

“My hope is to help pave a path that inspires more girls to stay in sport longer because they’re able to see a life as an athlete as some thing realistic for their future, both societally and financially.”

“I am already getting to live in a world that women would have dreamed of just 50 years ago, and am so excited that I can be at the present day vanguard for female athlete equality through this campaign with H&R Block,” said Cole.

Agent Michael Raymond represents both Cole and Thomas, and he says the deal felt like an instant fit to him for the ladies.

“I couldn’t be more excited and grateful that two Raymond Representation clients got this opportunity with H&R Block. It was a unique collaboration for exceptional student athletes to utilize NIL in a way that can both empower women and encourage athletes to be smart when filing their taxes this year,” said Michael Raymond who represents both Cole and Thomas.

“We always look for something unique, innovative, and inspiring when searching for opportunities, and when this crossed my desk, I knew it was a phenomenal fit for Trinity and Emily. All they do is inspire others and become leaders in everything they do.”

The athletes are receiving cash and free tax preparation services as part of the deal. There’s also a community service aspect to the deals, which will involve the athletes engaging in things such as coaching a youth female sports team, mentoring or tutoring young women or volunteering for organizations that support equity in women’s sports.

How the athletes evaluate potential partners

Asked what sort of questions she asks a brand like H&R Block before she agrees to be part of the campaign, Thomas had a lengthy list. She said it’s easier to work with a brand she’s familiar with, but she also wants to make sure they align with her values, goals and beliefs.

Beyond that, Thomas says she wants to know more about the type of content she needs to create and whether the brand wants creative control over the deliverables. She also asks herself if she’s the right person to help the brand tell its story.

Cole said when she reviewed the proposal, it was an easy decision for her.

“When they sent me the different outlines of content they wanted me to produce, it was easy for me to accept. In the content brief, they asked me to post a few TikToks and Instagrams where I speak about this discrepancy between genders in NIL, and they gave me a lot of creative freedom with the media I would create. I appreciate that immensely as someone who creates contact daily and really knows how to tie in a new story to my current brand.”

“For example, they asked me to do a response to their TikTok challenge and gave me an audio to put some clips of me behind,” said Cole. “The lyrics read, ‘Imagine a world a lot like this one. Except in the New World, every woman gets a fair shot. The opportunities you get, will match the effort you give. Can you imagine that? I can.’”

“I ended up putting together shots of me running from my altitude training this summer in Colorado, and was genuinely surprised at how beautifully the audio helped turn my simple running videos into an empowering message for all women. I am already getting to live in a world that women would have dreamed of just 50 years ago, and am so excited that I can be at the present day vanguard for female athlete equality through this campaign with H&R Block.”

Burke said it was important to her that H&R Block was investing in women, but she also liked that she could speak to a problem she was facing herself.

“I can speak from personal experience, taxes were a foreign concept to me prior to NIL. I’ll be able to share my experiences working with H&R Block and provide resources to anyone else navigating their way through taxes.”

More information on H&R Block’s commitment to equity in women’s college sports is available at hrblock.com/afairshot. The brand has also created an online resource hub of information for all college athletes navigating NIL tax implications.

This piece originally appeared on Forbes

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