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Return to Play: Active Together

A £2.5 million fund, with up to £10,000 in match funding, as part of a support package to help clubs and organisations set up and run crowdfunding campaigns related to Covid-19, such as for a loss of income due to the pandemic.

About crowdfunding

Since May 2020, we’ve been running a successful crowdfunding initiative called Active Together, helping sports clubs and other organisations to set up and run their own crowdfunding campaigns to help sustain themselves through the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis. 

Initially with a £1 million budget from the National Lottery, Active Together was designed to help with the immediate financial impact of coronavirus and in the longer-term, the return to play.

To date, we’ve supported campaigns with a financial pledge towards their target fundraising amount, but in addition to this, we've been providing:

  • free 1-2-1 coaching by experts
  • advice and guidance on campaign improvements
  • access to free online courses
  • free 30-minute webinars, monthly.

Teenagers try Nordic skiing on roller skis

As part of our return to play offer, an additional £1.5m of National Lottery funding has been made available to continue supporting clubs and local organisations to set up and run their own crowdfunding campaign, with a potential financial pledge from us to help them towards their crowdfunding target.

Crowdfunding is a great alternative if you don’t meet any of the priority groups on our Return to Play: Small Grants or Community Asset Fund funding options, or if you’re seeking to raise funds because of a loss of income due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

It was a really good experience from start to finish. The support we got from Crowdfunder, Sport England and the community was fantastic and has enabled us to make a real difference to our community and visitors. Thank you!

Successfully supported campaign owner

Why consider crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a great way to raise essential funds during a critical time. The common misconception is that during this crisis, donations and charitable giving has suffered, but this is not what we’ve seen with Active Together. 

As of 1 October 2020, we've invested £750,000, with a further £1.3m raised from supporters from the local community.

There have been more than 21,000 supporters, pledging to 164 campaigns, with the average pledge being £59.

See below for some of the successful campaigns we've already supported. 

Boroughbridge Bowls Club

They ran a campaign to help them survive the immediate financial implications on their club, due to coronavirus measures.

Find out more

City of Leicester Swimming Club

They ran a campaign to help them safely begin training again.

Find out more

Knutsford Netball Club

With their indoor venue closed due to the crisis, they urgently needed to raise funds to pay for floodlights, allowing them to play outside.

Find out more

Craven Judo Club

They needed to rethink their approach when it came to a return to play, so they raised funds to put towards a permanent dojo.

Find out more

London Corinthian Sailing Club

They needed to purchase some smaller boats to allow them to return to play while still adhering to the regulations around group numbers.

Find out more

Stockport Rugby Club

They ran a campaign to help plug the critical funding gap and ensure they could maintain their facilities and welcome players back, once restrictions eased.

Find out more

Grant application vs. crowdfunding

Crowdfunding’s not the same as traditional grant funding. It does require work to set up and successfully run a campaign, but the sense of achievement you get once a campaign is successfully delivered creates ‘added value’ beyond what’s achieved from a competitive grant application. 

There are also many additional benefits of running a campaign, as well as what you achieve financially.

Feedback so far from other campaigns has seen these benefits include an increased number of new members, sponsorships from local businesses, a great sense of place within the community, as well as new skills and experiences like social media, marketing and communications.

This is proving to be such a learning experience; from being in a state of doom and gloom a month ago, there is now such a buzz around the club. We’ve had 14 new members join in just over a week – unprecedented for us!

Successfully supported campaign owner

Application process

What will you support?

This funding option is about supporting local clubs and organisations through the coronavirus crisis and with the return to play. 

This may be the implementation of changes needed to ensure you’re adhering to the latest government guidelines around social distancing, it may be the need for additional coaching, facility hire or the purchasing of personal protective equipment to make sure everyone who takes part in activity at your venue is safe.

It could be that a loss of income has severely impacted your ability to survive, or the need to undertake essential maintenance of your facilities that are now not possible due to the crisis.

How long will it take?

Campaigns typically run for 28 days but take a few weeks to create – so about six weeks in total.

Applications to Active Together are done through the Crowdfunder site and will take minutes to complete and submit.

Once received, our decision on whether we support your campaign or not will be made within a couple of days, leaving you to focus on running your campaign. 

Whilst we can’t fund every campaign we see, those that make a good case, include a video and have engaging rewards that’ll incentivise a crowd wider than just an existing membership, will usually succeed.

We’ll support you throughout, to help you deliver the best possible campaign you can.

Crowdfunding can be a great way to achieve a fundraise in a relatively short period of time, so why not give it a try?

The research you need

  • Target audiences

    We carry out a lot of research to help you with your application – the information below outlines some of the findings relating to the target audiences for this fund.

    People who feel worried or anxious about contracting coronavirus for a prolonged period

    • Concerns about contracting coronavirus and worries about the safety of family members, including those still shielding, can undermine good intentions to be active. We know from previous Active Lives data that people with medium-high levels of anxiety are already less active.
    • 7-in-10 adults remain worried about exercising with others and report they’d feel safer exercising at home rather than public spaces. Many people are not returning to their pre-coronavirus activity choices and may never return.
    • This demonstrates the importance of working with providers to find simple ways to manage this worry and anxiety as they reopen and restart, e.g. ongoing reassurance around key issues like hygiene, proximity to others and policing behaviour.
    • The longer people don't return to the activities they were doing before in the places and spaces they once did, the more challenging it’ll be for us to change their behaviours back.

    People disproportionately affected financially as a result of coronavirus

    • The financial uncertainty as a result of coronavirus has had a profound impact on people’s ability to be active.
    • For many people, a reduction in disposable income is leading to a reduction in sport or leisure spend, e.g. memberships and subscriptions, and this is likely to be further impacted by the ending of the furlough scheme.
    • In addition to this, we know people on lower incomes have less mental bandwidth to think about doing other things (such as being active). The chaos which can be caused by financial difficulties means people are less likely to be thinking about being fit and healthy.
    • Activities that are easy to do (reduce friction for this group)/free/low cost/provide good value for money, are likely to become more and more appealing and providers need to consider hybrid models to maintain their audiences in the short term. 

    People experiencing a greater burden of care because of coronavirus

    • A wide range of research suggests women have taken on greater amounts of caring responsibilities and 72% of parent carers of disabled children provided more care during lockdown than before.
    • For many, this means less available time and significantly reduced mental bandwidth to think about being active. Many continue to worry about the impacts of coronavirus on those they care for.
    • The gradual return to workplaces and children returning to school, education and childcare may create an increase in time, for some, and the bandwidth to think about being active again.
    Read less

Apply now

Start your crowdfunding campaign.

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