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Having a realistic and clear understanding of the likely sustainable income your club can generate is a vital ingredient of good financial management.
A great way of ensuring your income is sustainable is to get it from a variety of sources, including:
- Membership fees
- Commercial activities
- Grant funding
Exploring membership options
Many sports clubs rely heavily on income generated from membership fees, so it’s important to get these set at the right price. Ideally your membership fees should cover the day to day financial running costs of the club. Additional income generated can then be used to improve and develop your club and to build up a sinking fund to cover unexpected events.
Below are some questions to ask yourself when thinking about your sports club's membership fees:
- Have you researched to see if your subscriptions are competitive with other local clubs or activities?
- Do your fees reflect the value of what your sports club offers? For example, the playing opportunities, coaching, facilities, social activities, etc.?
- Is there scope to increase the fees, or should they be reduced to attract more people?
Remember, raising membership fees can be an emotive issue so make sure your members know exactly what they are getting for their money and also let them know how your club is funded overall. Often a rise in membership fees is more acceptable if members are more informed about the financial position of the club.
Sponsorship can be a great way to generate income and form a partnership with a local business or organisation. Sponsorship isn’t free money however. It requires time and resources to be successful and it should be seen as a two way mutually beneficial relationship between your club and the sponsor. Think about the different types of sponsorship a company could offer your club including:
- Sponsorship fee e.g. for sponsoring the club kit, match, equipment etc.
- Provision of resources e.g. volunteers to help out at the club for the day or at an event
- Provision of products or services e.g. an electrical company providing energy efficient lighting or a local builder providing some facility maintenance work.
Find out more about sponsorship, including things to think about before engaging with sponsors, on our sponsorship page.
Raising money from fundraising and social events can be a great source of income as well being an excellent way to bring your members together. By involving members other than the committee to organise events you can give them the opportunity to feel they are doing their bit to support the club. The list of events you could run is endless and often the more imaginative the better.
Commercial activities, for example selling products (e.g. kit or refreshments) or services (e.g. facility hire) can be a great way to generate income from both inside and outside your club to support it financially.
Look within your club
Think about what your players, parents and social members want. If you’re not sure, ask them. How can you get them to willingly spend more money at your club? For example, could you encourage more people to visit by making the club more family friendly, or can you encourage parents to stay throughout kids’ sessions by offering free wifi and selling refreshments?
Look to your local community
Outside your club think about what else is in your community. What else is on offer that you can provide as good or better? What doesn’t your community have that it needs? Can you meet this? Also, think about whether you can work in partnership with a local organisation to send potential customers to you (and vice versa).
Look at your facilities
If your club has its own facility, then consider whether you can generate additional income from these by hiring them out to the local community e.g. businesses for meetings or conferences, families for birthday parties and social events or community groups. With more people using your facilities, promotion and awareness of your club will also increase. If you are generating commercial income, depending upon the activities you may need to think about a number of different areas including tax, club structure and insurance.
If your club needs financial support for something more than day to day expenses, for example help to improve your facilities, buy equipment to make your sport more accessible or to develop a new sports programme in your local area then grant funding may be available. There are a number of different national and local funding programmes that your club may be able to access. The links below give you a great place to find funds that may be able to support your sports club including:
- Sport England has a number of different funds open at any one time, ranging from small grants of a few hundred pounds to significant support for facility improvements.
- National Governing Body. Your governing body may have funding available (cash and in kind donations) to support the development of your sport locally. Each sport is different so make sure you know what yours offers
- Active Parnterships. These are a great for finding out about local funding available, including coaching bursaries, facility improvements and other community grants.
In addition there are other, subscription based sites that provide information on a vast array of funding opportunities. A quick internet search will list the most popular. To find out more, access our funding guidance.
Community shares is a unique form of share capital that offer shares to members, supporters and members of the community that can be withdrawn and can pay a small amount of interest on investment at the discretion of the management committee. The sale of shares is a good way to raise capital and to encourage participation in the running and management of the club. You will need to make sure your club is structured correctly to offer community shares.