A staple of every club is fundraising. Each club is different (number of teams / members, demographics of the area, number of volunteers etc.) The guidance provided here is designed to either reinforce what clubs are already doing or provide some new ideas.
Tax deduction status allows for an attractive way for clubs to receive donations from members, supporters and local community groups to put towards worthwhile projects. Many local footy clubs have signed up to receive donations through this program and it may suit your local club.
This site explains difference of tax deductibility, benefits of fundraising with the ASF and how you can sign up – along with contact information to get in touch with them for more information.
Successful clubs have in place the following:
A clear plan – answering what & why (& why it will help the club attract ‘new’ people to attend). The plan should include the budget, who does what and by when and be reviewed regularly. Check out this template to assist.
A Social Events Coordinator to help focus adequate time to planning & execution. See a sample PD as a template to consider.
A marketing & communications plan. This is critical to maximise the hard work of those running the event. Think about how your players / audience engage and can share event details within their network – e.g. Instagram, Facebook etc.
An evaluation process (including encouraging honest feedback for all attendees). This step should also assess whether the net profit realised was actually worth the effort. If many people were required to give significant hours to generate a small profit, would the club be better served by spending this time focusing on other revenue generating options.
An often-overlooked opportunity is to tap into past players through fostering a Past Players group. Past players are far more likely than other members of the community to want to stay connected through the club and support through attending events – even providing donations.
It is critical to constantly check-in to make sure that Members are receiving what they expected to receive (& ideally a little bit more). Good news travels fast, however bad news travels faster!
Consider appointing a Memberships Coordinator
All clubs will have merchandise available for sale, however some clubs restrict sales to people attending home matches only – and some still only accept cash as payment. With a growing list of people who are prepared to buy items online, clubs must seek to capitalise on this. An on-line shop with on-line payments, increases sales, saves time from volunteers ‘selling’ at match day & minimises cash-handling - which brings a range of benefits.
Ask widely through the club (players, parents, supporters, past players) what items people would like to see in club colours … shop around to find a suitable solution then stock them, promote them & sell them!
Raffles can generate important revenue for the club. Clubs need to assess whether the net profit (total income received less expenses to cover raffle prizes, permits etc.) is worth the effort for the volunteers overseeing the raffle. The answer may always be yes, however should be considered as an important factor for each raffle.
For any raffles that the club runs, you need to be conscious of whether any permit may be required. This will typically depend on which State / Territory you are conducting the raffle in and the total value of the prizes. The club will also need to draw up a Terms and Conditions document that is available for people who buy a ticket and can easily view. Check out the links below to help provide you with guidance based on your state.
Links for State / Territory specific guidance on raffle permits:
Thankfully the Toyota Good for Footy Raffle takes the hassle out of any permit process and the development of Terms and Conditions as this has already been done for you. Clubs do not need to spend any time or money chasing up prizes and retain 100% of the proceeds from all sales – therefore maximizing profits for the club. The AFL strongly encourages clubs to get on board with the annual raffle that typically opens in May and runs through to September allowing ample time to generate significant funds for the club.
Watch here: Long-serving local footy club Treasurer, Tony Boyce, on why the Toyota Raffle is such a great solution for local footy clubs.
Consider a Sponsorship Coordinator
Given the importance of the role, it is strongly recommended to have a Sponsorship Coordinator appointed to take pressure off the balance of the Club Exec / Committee.
See a sample Position Description for this role as a template to consider.
Be clear on what assets the club has available to ‘sell’ to a sponsor. This can be many & varied – including on-field & off-field apparel, at ground signage (on-field, boundary, scoreboard), player sponsorships, event sponsorships, promotion / speaking at a club function, using a local business as a supplier, promotion of the business on club websites, social media etc. Brainstorm what is possible and be creative.
Having a database of the items available for sale, who that partner is, the value of this and when it is due for renewal are important to track the existing sponsors to look after and to be aware of opportunities when talking to prospective sponsors.
Know your reach
A sponsor will want to see a return on their investment and will therefore want to know some facts / figures (or at worst some estimates) about the number of people attending matches, function, reading social media posts, accessing the newsletter, watching livestreams etc. The more that you can tell a sponsor about your audience (players, members, supporters) & how well that your audience supports sponsors, the better you will be placed to secure sustainable sponsorships.
Know your value
This is a difficult one and often will be based on what the club achieved in the past. With new ideas, it is often better to work on what you have available for a sponsor, look at opportunities to engage prospective sponsors and assess what they consider the value to be. If both parties are happy to proceed, that is a good outcome to find the right value.
Whilst you should tailor your solutions to suit the sponsor, having a professional proposal will showcase your club in the best light. The Sponsorship Proposal should include the background of your club, club values and expectations and provide a snapshot of your club including the demographics, audience and club successes. The club’s Strategic Plan should provide most of this information.
Once you have promoted the club, you need to list the benefits of the partnership to the sponsor. Include what assets the sponsor will receive and how success will be measured. The document should also include the length of the term, the value of the sponsorship and the best contact for more details.
Be active, engage your network for ideas for sponsorships can offer & think laterally about businesses that the opportunity might connect well with.
Important! Know what the sponsor wants (not just what the club wants)
A business may have multiple reasons to support a sponsorship partnership. It’s imperative to understand the motives of the business to ensure both the club and sponsor gets the most from the partnership.
Get to know your sponsors and figure out what drives their motivations for a potential sponsorship deal. This will help you pull together a more tailored sponsorship package. Some examples of why a business may consider sponsorship is provided below.
This refers to the extent in which customers can recall or recognise a brand. A sponsor may want their brand to be more familiar.
This is how a brand is different from its competitors and where, or how, it sits in customers’ minds. Sponsoring your club may make the sponsor look more engaged with the community or more family friendly
The sponsor may want to sell products directly to your audience. This can mean selling their products during specific events or home games.
Build an audience
The sponsor may want to reach a wider audience and develop more leads. This could be through direct communication to your membership database.
Networking opportunities and build relationships
The sponsor may want to engage other club sponsors or stakeholders through networking opportunities or strengthen relationships with club members and other stakeholders.
It is often thought that the most important part is to recruit a sponsor. Whilst this is important, it is far better to keep a sponsor happy than always be looking to recruit a sponsor. Making sure you understand what the sponsor wants, being clear on what you will offer and actively deliver what they want (as a minimum) is more important.
The worst thing you can say to a sponsor is “see you next year!”. This statement is an acknowledgement that the sponsor’s contribution is as a donation and they will get little if anything in return. The sponsor may see there is no value for them and is unlikely to sponsor the following year.
Once a partnership is agreed to, it’s essential that you continue to work with the sponsor to ensure deliverables are met. This can be an extension of the Sponsorship Spreadsheet which should include information about each deal and key deliverables. This document needs to be referred to frequently. It’s also very important to call or touch base with sponsors throughout the season to ensure they are happy and ask for any feedback.
The more engaged a sponsor is in your club, the more likely they will come back the following year. It’s important you make the sponsor feel part of your club. The following examples can help achieve this:
- Provide club apparel to wear when they come to game days
- Invite the sponsor and their family to key club events
- Offer reduced player registration fees for the sponsor
- Host events especially for sponsors – during the season and asap after the end of the season
- Send a personalised message from the players thanking sponsors
- Provide a signed jumper or football for them to display in their business
- Invite the sponsor to provide any club specific deals at key events
- Provide an extra they didn’t expect e.g. extra ad in the e-newsletter, mention on the scoreboard, recognition over the PA, provide an extra apparel item etc.
When you establish the objectives of the sponsorship deal, you need to agree with the sponsor how success will be measured. This is likely to be different for each sponsor depending on what they need to receive as a return for their investment in to the club
The success of any sponsorship is usually measured in two ways:
Quantitatively – tangible results you can count:
- Website analytics to track how many people are clicking through to sponsor sites
- Social media analytics to see the traction of the post e.g. interactions, shares, likes etc
- Broadcast exposure including onscreen/livestream logos, signage and mentions
- Business metrics including sales, leads and new accounts and business
Qualitatively – less tangible results that improve the sponsor’s position or circumstance:
- Customer/Audience satisfaction surveys
- Customer loyalty
- Brand perception
- Nature of comments on social media posts
Tracking how successful the sponsorship deal is will play a key role in the renewing partnerships and retaining existing sponsors.