Article 2 – It’s not about the MONEY MONEY MONEY!!

…IT’S ABOUT a whole lot more! AND the MONEY! Read on for more detailed advice on Lesson 1  from my first article ‘Funding for sport: An expert’s guide to the funding galaxy’.

As I said before, there is ALOT of money out there, but getting it can be a tricky business. And getting it can actually mean more work – that needs careful management…Remember:

Lesson 1: Every funding need is unique – and not just the funding need is unique,  but every sports club has its unique characteristics and ‘feel’. At first glance this may not seem important or related to accessing funding but it is! My research and experience with clubs over the past 15 years has demonstrated that sports clubs are not all the same – far from it. Yes they have some things in common –

  • officers usually do most of the work!,
  • pressures from government to adopt national policy (e.g. child protection, Swim21…) makes clubs more ‘professional’ and less informal/social,
  • facilities and finances can often be a challenge.
  • recruiting volunteers/committee members can be difficult
  • getting volunteers who know what to do or providing training for volunteers is difficult
  • there is often a fair amount of conflict within the committee (personal and role related) and at meetings…

Sound familiar? Well for all clubs have in common, they are also unique in what they offer and how they operate. It is useful for clubs to think about how they are different to other clubs (and particular how you are different from other clubs in your immediate area). There are two reasons for this:

  1. Differentiate yourself –  think of a ‘brand’ for your club and use this as a unique selling point to increase membership, attract sponsors, initiate partnerships. What are the key values around that brand and how do you encourage members and the committee to reinforce the brand?
  • WARNING: you don’t have to be more professional! Some clubs aim to remain informal, social clubs and if this is your goal then you don’t need to feel pressured to differently!
  1. You need to know WHO YOU ARE, what your club is about before you decide on WHAT YOU WANT….. this helps keep you club on track, not chasing every opportunity that comes along and therefore you waste less time, become more effective.
  • WARNING: The WHO YOU ARE doesn’t have to written in stone! Of course clubs are founded on strong values but sometimes you need to question those values just to make sure you are committed (or, want to modify them in some way)

The second point above is important because in the next lesson, we start to explore FUNDING NEEDS and then why you want funding… these things are difficult to do if your club hasn’t got a good sense of what exactly you are AND are working towards. If you have a clear sense of direction, this make identifying sources of funds much easier because you can immediately discount some that don’t fit with your objectives – important to narrow down the list of possible funders because some applications take time and doing 10 when you only need to do 3 good ones….. well I think you can see the point?!

Funding issues aside, it is good management and governance to ‘know your club’…. have a good look at how the club is structured, what are its Strengths, Weaknesses, what Opportunities exist for the club, what Threats currently face the club? Knowing / discussing these four basic things can really help your club determine WHO THEY ARE, and where they want the club to be in the future. So ask yourself, your committee and YOUR MEMBERS… Are we a competitive club, develop talent, provide physical activity opportunities for all of the community, or what? Of course not everyone will agree but you can get a feel for the consensus and be prepared!…the consensus may be different to your own views!

More to think about? – Is WHO YOU ARE ‘WHO YOU WANT TO BE’?? In other words… is a change needed or do you just want to continue being the type of club you are? This will also help you move towards next lesson….