Building fundraising capacity in sport for good.

Community sport organisations all over the world — whether grassroots clubs, national associations or sport for development NGOs — are chronically underfunded. They lack resources. They lack fundraising and business development skills. And they lack capacity and time.

If you have landed here and are reading this, you probably need no convincing about the importance and value of sport and its ability to do good. The use of sport for good is no new phenomenon. All over the world, thousands of organisations intentionally use sport as a tool to improve the lives of vulnerable people, build communities, and bridge connections between different groups of society. Recognised by the United Nations, the World Health Organisation, the World Bank, the European Union and many more of the world’s leading institutions and financiers, sport is, and has been for some time, one of the most powerful interventions available to us in collective efforts to change the world. 

So why, then, do community sport organisations not receive the levels of investment and support seen elsewhere in international development, education, culture or the arts? Why are there so few global trusts and institutions dedicated to or explicitly interested in the use of sport for sustainable development purposes? Why do the vast majority of leagues, sponsors and athletes themselves consider investments and CSR commitments outside of sport first? Why are governments all over the world overinvesting in elite sport and underinvesting in community sport?

Of course, myriad reasons for this exist — from historic perception to foreign policy objectives — but it’s clear to us that there is a real and genuine dearth of fundraising and business development expertise, capacity and leadership within the sector. The vast majority of community sport organisations all over the world simply do not take fundraising seriously. More than a third of organisations have no fundraising strategy, with many citing “not having the skills or experience” as the main barrier to development. More often than not, fundraising is the responsibility of the founder, CEO or a sole member of the team. Trust fundraising is considered a quick-win, copy and paste process. There are few, if any, dedicated corporate or major donor fundraising teams in the sector. Investment in fundraising expertise is considered a luxury, rather than a necessity. Compare this to the approach of organisations elsewhere in international development, be it in arts, culture or education; and you’ll quickly realise that there are comparatively so few people in our sector with the skills, time, resources or commitment to make the case for investment in community sport, whether locally, nationally or collectively. 

As a result, more than half of organisations using sport for good do not meet their relatively modest annual fundraising targets. Few, if any, organisations in the sector generate more than $10m USD per year. In the UK, more than 99% of the sector generate less than £1m per year. The majority of community sport organisations around the world rely heavily on grants as their primary income source, and nearly a quarter of organisations rely on a single donor for more than 50% of their income. Adding to this financial strain is the intense and growing competition for funds with other charitable areas, making the fight for every dollar or pound even more challenging. Ultimately, a lack of investment, infrastructure support and capacity is leaving dedicated practitioners and leaders short of the vital skills and resources required to continue delivering and scaling life-changing impact through sport. 

Introducing: Remedy

In response, we introduce you today to Remedy, a unique start-up entirely focused on building the capacity of community sport organisations to generate sustainable revenues through more effective fundraising. Together, we have spent 15+ years working within sport and the surrounding industries, with a particular focus on strategic planning, fundraising, business development and marketing. In this time, we have each held roles from intern and manager to director and board member at various leading organisations in the sector, both here in the UK and internationally, including at Oaks Consultancy, Yunus Sports Hub, Magic Bus, the Football Foundation, The Change Foundation and more. In these roles, we have seen and experienced the widespread fundraising needs facing organisations in the sector. And at Remedy, we will address these challenges head-on, ensuring grassroots clubs, community groups, charities, NGOs and other associations can access the critical business support services they need to realise their full potential, build crucial internal capacity and develop long-term financial resilience. 

In this challenging environment, the importance of fundraising cannot be overstated. Effective fundraising enables organisations to mobilise resources more efficiently, diversifying their funding sources and reducing dependence on unreliable income streams. This diversification is crucial for enhancing financial stability. Moreover, appropriate fundraising expertise contributes to more strategic planning and resource allocation, ensuring that funds are utilised in the most efficient manner to maximise impact. Investment in fundraising has a proven and direct return; annual surveys of the sport for development sector consistently indicate that organisations who increase fundraising spend are most likely to achieve their annual income targets, are more sustainable, and most likely to experience growth.

Remedy will work to democratise fundraising expertise and strategy in sport by providing a suite of digital resources, tools and hands-on capacity building services. We will build and gather bespoke tools, resources, online courses and guides to support fundraising activity and professional development. We will provide dedicated fundraising skills and capacity to help effectively mobilise revenue streams. 

Our services include:

  • Readiness assessment: Together with sector leaders, donors and partners, we have built a comprehensive fundraising readiness rating tool and supporting framework that will help you to identify exactly where and how you can improve your organisation’s chances of fundraising success.

  • Opportunity prospecting: Via a dedicated newsletter and database, we can help you to identify and access fundraising and income opportunities from a growing portfolio of grantmakers, funds, competitions and investors curated specifically for organisations using sport for good. 

  • Capacity building and training: We curate and develop bespoke tools, resources and guides to support your fundraising activity. We can provide training or direct support to help you build new fundraising skills or address identified weaknesses in your fundraising readiness assessment. 

  • Fundraising strategy and implementation: Our team can work with you to shape a new fundraising strategy, develop supporting materials and ultimately go-to-market. We can provide dedicated, specialist fundraising capacity and freelance support to action your short-term or long-term fundraising activity

The effectiveness of these services will be measured through:

  • Readiness/capacity of community sports organisations to attract new income/improve fundraising performance

  • Fundraising skill competence and confidence of participating individuals

  • Value of additional funding directly and indirectly secured for community sport organisations/ the wider sector

These outcomes will work to improve the overall financial sustainability of the community sport sector, enabling organisations to better serve the needs of vulnerable young people and communities around the world.

To secure the necessary resources and achieve our collective mission of using sport as a catalyst for social change, we believe that community sport organisations must prioritise and develop robust fundraising skills. These skills are not a luxury; they are essential for the survival and growth of organisations in this sector. And at Remedy, we will do all we can to help.


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