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Upping our game to become more attractive to new members and investors

Posted: December 28, 2017

Like it or not funding in sport is a changing world.   Such is the pull on resources today that sports clubs and governing bodies need to make a stronger case than ever for why others should consider investing in them.  

To explain how we can adapt to make our clubs more attractive to potential funders, Linda MacDonald from Scotland’s largest independent trust, The Robertson Trust, will be joining us at our Changing the Future weekend at the sportscotland Inverclyde National Sports Training Centre, Largs (20-21 January 2018).

As most who have filled in a funding application will know, the traditional yard stick of a club’s case for funding has been its membership numbers and participation rates.

The difference now is that the trusts and foundations place a far higher worth on how applicants are delivering benefits into their local communities.

“If a club’s approach is to say we need bricks and mortar for our members, but can’t talk about how its members are representative of the wider community, then most funders will turn them down,” says Linda.  

“Whereas, if for instance they explain how they are working with a hard to reach group, delivering skills training, then it starts to become a conversation that funders are interested in.”

Perhaps that point should be no surprise given The Robertson Trust’s vision is to improve the quality of life and realise the potential of people and communities in Scotland.  But clubs do still seem to be missing it.

“This approach flips things around and says that you should start thinking about who your community is, what their needs are and what role your club can play in that,” continues Linda.

“Sports often miss out in that funding because they don’t consider the benefits they could be bringing to the wider community beyond their members.  

“So it’s about saying, as a club in your community, how you can better think about what you can do to support your community.”

Other sports in Scotland are already beginning to adopt this approach.  As examples, some clubs are working with hard-to-reach youngsters by developing relationships with youth groups, whilst others have started breakfast clubs and homework clubs.

And, in the process of becoming embedded within their communities, clubs are broadening their range of members and in turn are more likely to get more people on the performance pathway.

“In the current climate, as more community centres get stripped away, sports clubs are one of the last pins of the community and they have such a gift to offer,” added Linda.

“So this is about making sure clubs are accessible to all and seen as being accessible to all and making sure they are supported in doing that.”

“For clubs it’s more about what can you do to broaden your appeal, your membership and bring about more impact in your community through your sport.” 

Linda will join Dame Katherine Grainger and a host of exciting speakers and workshop leaders at our Changing the Future weekend.  For more information please visit: