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FUNDING FOR SPORT


the investment of time and skills needed for a funding bid. Lewis has found that crowdfunding has some drawbacks. “There’s a lot of community support for the club, but that doesn’t automatically convert into giving money,” he says. “People seem to have a ‘what’s in it for me’ attitude about giving money, so if we were going to do another bid we would raise the stakes on the rewards.” Twickenham Alive, the organiser of


the Strawberry Hill House ice rink in Twickenham, also found that translating public support into cash is not as easy as it might appear. “People might like the projects, but they don’t just give you their money,” says Teresa Read, who ran the crowdfunding campaign. This first experience of crowdfunding has put Read off running future


Portsmouth FC (above) completed the largest football crowdfunding project in the UK, raising £270,000 towards a new training academy building


CASE STUDY - BRITISH NORDIC SKI TEAM


Andrew Musgrave, a member of the cross country team which raised £7,700


Snowboard (the national governing body for skiing and snowboarding) distributing a record £4.9m of National Lottery funding in 2014, the ski team receives very little direct funding and has had to raise most of its own funding. Crowdfunding gave the team the


T


chance to raise the additional funds for more coaching camps at altitude, in the run up to the Sochi Olympics. “Being a small team, fundraising tends


to come directly from parents and families and the support team is principally made up of volunteers,” says spokesperson Bruce Murray. “Access to commercial lending doesn’t exist and being a minority sport can be a challenge to ensure any sponsors maximize their ROI. Crowdfunding gave us the opportunity to both raise funds and the profile of the sport.”


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he British Nordic Ski Team is now ranked in the top 20 in the world. Despite the British Ski and


A range of British Nordic products were


created as rewards. Fans were encouraged to take selfies in their gear, which were posted on social media. With donations from all over the world, it took just 10 days to reach the target and they ended up with 147 per cent of the initial target. “Social media was key to the success,”


says Murray. “Prior to 2013 our media presence had been poor, but after the London 2012 Olympics we realised we needed to capture that spirit and had a limited window of opportunity to raise funds, as well as the profile of the team and the sport of cross country skiing.” The next goal is a top 10 position at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. “We would definitely use crowdfunding again, but only when it fits with our objectives. It’s an option we intend to use sparingly,” he says. “We’re confident crowdfunding will play an important part in British Nordic achieving gold for Team GB.”


campaigns: “To start with the campaign was fun, but then it became hard going. “We just about managed to hit our £5,000 target, but we had to work very hard to make this happen. That said, the money raised was crucial and although it was a small percentage of the £200,000 we needed in total, we couldn’t have opened the rink without it.” Other clubs have had a smoother experience of fundraising. Community- owned football team Portsmouth Football Club completed the largest football crowdfunding project in the UK last year when it raised £270,000 on the Tifosy website to build a new academy building. The club went down the crowdfunding route in response to feedback from fans for a fan-funded project. Colin Farmery, who project managed the campaign said they tried to make it a textbook campaign: “We got the backing of a sports personality, kept fans up to date all the way along and made sure the interest never lulled. The project suited the model perfectly because it was a clearly defined, concrete project.” Although he says the club would


consider using crowdfunding again, he says it’s important not to over use it: “Crowdfunding isn’t a tap which can be turned on and off.” Hertfordshire company, WallJAM,


completed an equity crowdfunding campaign last year to get £100,000 to complete the funding needed to build its prototype interactive rebound wall. They went over the target by £30,000. Again, founder, Tim Worboys stressed the need to work the network. Looking ahead, it is clear that


crowdfunding offers an option worth exploring, but it’s not a case of sit back and let the money roll in. If you take this route be prepared to work your network, max out on social media and take every media opportunity offered. l


sportsmanagement.co.uk issue 2 2015 © Cybertrek 2015


PIC: ©FLICKR/ SHUTTERCHIMP


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