Traditional revenue solutions such as sales (memberships, canteen/bar, merchandise), sponsorship (club, player, signage) & fundraising (functions, raffles, Bunnings BBQ) continue to play a vital part of any local footy club. The clubs that can also tap into grants, donations & on-line revenue solutions will be the clubs that are best set up for sustainable success.
Watch a recently recorded 45 minute webinar on Grants. A simple and free one time only registration is required to watch all webinars within the AFL ClubHelp Webinar Series - click here.
Successful grants provide the club with an opportunity to bring in funds to complement funding through events, functions, raffles etc. Pending the level of the grants available (& time that volunteers can provide to fundraising efforts), it might be more advantageous to focus a greater portion of volunteer time to acquiring grants compared to other revenue generating ideas.
Grants often open without any warning and can sometimes have very short deadlines.
Creating a “wish-list” of different valued projects that would apply to a variety of grant programs will help you apply for grants as they pop up rather than scrambling for ideas.
Start a document tracking all the potential projects and answer the below questions to help build your application when the right grant pops up.
- Who are you?
- What do you want to do?
- Why do you want to do it?
- What do you expect to achieve?
- How much will it cost?
- How much do you want from whom?
- How much (and what) will you contribute yourself?
- How long will it take and when will you need to start?
Winning grants will take time to pull together – do not underestimate this!
This person will be responsible for finding, applying for, and acquitting grants. Ideally, they will have the following skills:
- Proficient with MS Office Word and Excel
- Ability to meet deadlines
- Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
- Knowledge of the club history and future goals
- Organised and the ability to work autonomously
See a sample Position Description for this role as a template to consider.
It is important to find out where your local council advertises grants. This may be via the website &/or promoted through their social media / eDMs, local media etc. Sign up or subscribe to not miss out on any opportunities.
Click on the below links to access grants through your State or Territory Government, or some other relevant sport specific organisations.
AFL State / Territory body
Your local league and/or state AFL body may also have regular communications and/or webpages with information about available grants. Ask your league for any guidance that they can provide and check out your AFL State / Territory website to see if they are promoting any current grants for facilities or more.
You may like to consider regular reviewing websites &/or subscribing to organisations that regularly promote grant opportunities. Some suggestions to consider include:
Whilst each grant will be unique in what you need to provide and the depth of the information required, the following checklist is a handy guide to work through when completing the grant application
Grants programs are getting more and more competitive with grant application often exceeding the amount available.
Before you start writing your grant application, it’s important to understand why grants are unsuccessful (so you can avoid making the same mistakes!).
Some of the most common reasons grants are not successful include:
The project didn’t satisfy the purpose of the grant
The application didn’t include all the necessary information
The application lacked proof of support from key stakeholders
The project wasn’t viable/wasn’t enough financial support
Generally, the first thing a grant provider will do is review each grant to determine if all the information is complete and that the applicant is eligible to apply. Grant providers will not call you if the grant application is incomplete, missing information or is incorrect. Your application will be rejected.
Make sure your project is eligible and your application is complete before submission, so you don’t waste your time applying for a grant that never had a chance.
Sponsors are a vital component of every footy club. It is vital to remember that we have moved a long way past sponsors being happy to hand over large sums of money to a club and expecting little in return. Sustainable sponsorships meet the objectives of the sponsor as well as the objectives of the club. Constant communication and ‘servicing’ the sponsorship are vital. Read on for some valuable tips.
Watch the 4-minute “Finding Sponsors” introductory video then read on.
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.
- Club Assets
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.
Sponsorship Database Template
- 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.
- Sponsorship proposal
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.
Sponsorship Proposal Template
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.
Watch this 4-minute video about the importance of servicing sponsorships.
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.