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Diverse sports funding wins post-Covid19

It has been great to see the Government support local sporting organisations with interim funding, however many of these grassroots clubs and teams will need to take the opportunity to look at how they access and achieve sustainable funding and income streams.

Play in the whole field of funding

There has been a strong reliance on the gaming trust sector, and for many it has been the sole focus of funding precluding a diverse approach. Going forward sport organisations will need to have a wide range of funders, and the tools to plan for this diversity, be strategic, and sustainable. It’s time to start to develop a long term plan.

This post-Covid19 environment is an opportunity for sports clubs to look at how they can rebuild themselves into more efficient organisations and how they can diversify their income stream. It might be time to get a group of supporters, team coaches and committee members together and explore why a funder should invest in your team or club.

Rally your team by talking about what counts in sports funding

Organisations will also need to change the conversation they have with businesses, corporates, and philanthropic funders and be really clear on what they are asking for in order to support their community. You’ll need to focus on the outcomes you deliver back to your community and be prepared to measure them. Then you’ll need to show funders how their investment has helped deliver the outcomes.

Collaboration for the win

It’s also time to look at how different clubs and organisations can collaborate with each other. Despite the usual competitive nature of the game how can different groups come together within a community to build a sustainable future for their club or sporting code. There will be partnership opportunities that can be developed, however the way organisations look to these partnerships for support could be quite different.

I am a big believer in grassroots sports; with five children I’ve travelled the length of the country supporting them across many codes. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s a little bit competitive but more than that it is a gateway for connecting people in the communities, and ensuring we continue to build vibrant communities.

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Three things Boards should expect from fundraisers

The most successful organisations have a team approach to fundraising. As a trustee or board member, it’s vital you are involved in fundraising. Your fundraiser should make sure everyone knows how they can help the organisation succeed. 

Expectations for your fundraiser should centre around three things.

  • A clear and compelling case for why funders should invest in your organisation or programme
  • A plan to attract and retain funding from a diverse range of sources
  • Empowerment for you to play a role in fundraising that includes the use of your networks

You need a compelling case for why funders should support you

The case for funders to support your organisation is the basis for every piece of work your fundraiser does. All trustees and members of the board  should be familiar with your organisation’s ‘case for support’. You should feel comfortable talking about it. A good case for support will capture your imagination and passion so much that it compels you to give something yourself!

Your case for support gives clarity on your values, objectives and purpose and how your work meets a need in the community. It should show how your intentions align and how you’ll make a difference with their help. Funding HQ takes you through the process of building your case for investment which uses Giblin Group’s deep expertise.

Fundraisers must have a strategy to attract and retain a range of funders 

Diversification in funding sources has never been as crucial as it is right now. 

Your fundraiser should share a strategy that: 

  • explores a broad range of funders
  • identifies funders who are most suitable because they share similar objectives and values
  • plans for funding applications 
  • sets out how you will retain and steward your funders. 

This fundraising plan will outline key milestones so you can monitor progress. It should also lay out how funders will be looked after by your organisation. It’s likely to include some tasks for you, such as writing personal letters to very generous donors or hosting sponsors at events. 

Funding HQ provides a pack of templates so your organisation can build their own first-class funding plan and retention strategy.  

You should have a clear role that includes using your networks

Good fundraisers will empower board members to play a role in engaging and looking after funders. They’ll also recognise that you have much more to offer than time. 

Influence and networks are one of the biggest assets you can offer a not-for-profit organisation. Your fundraiser should ask you to help open doors to potential donors and funders. They might set a time with you do discuss this every couple of months, or before key events. If you know the organisation’s donors, you may be able to share insights to help build existing relationships.

Helping look after donors can be one of the most enjoyable parts of being a board member for a not-for-profit. Expect to be asked to help, thank or host important donors. 

A good fundraiser will understand trustees or board members can be effective role models for philanthropy by making contributions themselves. Let’s face it; no one really likes asking for money. But, it’s going to be hard for a fundraiser to ask people to give if the organisation’s own board won’t. You can help by making a donation, even if it’s a modest one.

We’re in a period of rapid change, and those who adapt quickly and thoughtfully will succeed. A good fundraiser will understand this and be ready to make the most of the team around them – especially the board. You should be given a clear understanding of how you can help with their plans and what support they need.