Donations and fundraising

Nearly every sports club or community organisation will have been fundraising at some point in time

For many, it’s a critical, ongoing element of how they keep their heads above water.

That said, it’s well worth spending time researching how it can be done more effectively to ensure your club isn’t ploughing the same furrow year after year when a change to how you do things might yield better results - that’s especially true if you haven’t thought about how to use online payment mechanisms in recent years and are still reliant on cash donations.

Free guidance

There is lots of good information out there about what might work and how best to plan a fundraising campaign to look at before you start. A few general points, though, can be applied to all types of fundraising:

  • Have a clear vision of what it is you are raising funds for and why. Be able to communicate both simply and clearly to people who might not have a clue what your club is all about.
  • Are funds going to be raised from one big event or lots of small ones?
  • Think about different events that you can organise over a period of time and space them out over a 3-6 month period
  • Be realistic about what each event can raise – a car wash or cake sale is not going to raise thousands of pounds
  • It’s a difficult financial climate at the moment so try and make it possible to give as little or as much as people are able to
  • Don’t go to the same people every time to both help and give money – fatigue can set in.

Free guidance on fundraising can be found via Club Matters.

There are many ways to raise funds, from cash bucket collections to ‘buy-a-brick’ campaigns for capital projects to one-off fundraising events and sponsorship. Some methods work better than others.

Be realistic about what each event can raise – a car wash or cake sale is not going to raise thousands of pounds

For example, buy-a-brick schemes are good when the money is one-off to build or develop a facility, but given that, it would be a waste to use up your wallspace on something that might need to be done again the next year.

Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) and charities are able to attract additional benefits when fundraising by being able to reclaim gift aid from the Government on all donations from UK taxpayers, which is worth an additional 25p on every £1 donation.

Keep it legal

Follow the Code of Fundraising Practice as set by the Fundraising Regulator.

Some things to think about:

  • It’s important that you take time to say thank you and communicate what difference someone’s donation will make – people are much more likely to donate again to a subsequent campaign you run when they know how much they’re appreciated and what impact their money has had in making things better. Done well, a donation is the start of a relationship with someone who supports what you do, and with a little effort, you can work over time to strengthen that relationship and increase the amount donated.
  • Be careful when fundraising to appreciate the effort involved in getting the funds and use methods which get the biggest impact for the effort you’re expending. Are there better ways to use the volunteers who are fundraising which for the same amount of effort would get you more? For example, a sale of cakes baked by club members can be a lot of fun (which can be a good outcome on its own, obviously) but might yield only a small amount compared to the hours and hours of volunteer effort compared to something which has a much higher return for precious voluntary time.
  • Also, be mindful of what fundraising suggests to people outside your club. For some, regular fundraising is how they keep the club afloat year after year, and it’s a way to get support for a wider group beyond the sports clubs participants who appreciate the place it has in the community more generally.
  • If you’re looking to expand your club, or reach out to a new audience, too much regular fundraising can lead to donor fatigue or, even worse, suggest your club is fundamentally unsustainable, which might impact on your bigger plans.