Tasked with advising football clubs on how to become financially self-sustaining and less grant or donation reliant over the years; that’s a burning question I’ve been asking myself more of late.
Whilst traditionally I’d be very confident of a club achieving success in raising enough money through subscriptions, match tickets, catering+hospitality, merchandise and sponsorship– that’s certainly not the case as much nowadays. I’ve also come to realise it takes an awful lot of hard work & hand holding to change a culture and capacity build within a club, so they are in a position to take on board the advice given and implement innovative approaches towards income generation E.g. social prescribing through a football reminiscence match day cafe. With results, and methods varying from club to club in all honesty.
Therefore, having recently met with the Community Shares Wales team at the Wales Cooperative centre; done the research; and read the numerous success stories on the likes of Wrexham FC and FC United with great interest and a touch of ‘proceed with caution’. Link here:
I do think community shares are a perfect match for football clubs large or small and a welcome addition to the traditional and new methods of raising capital finance. Especially, if a club wants to both survive and grow in the future (on and off the pitch)!
My reasons mainly include:
1. You won’t lose control of your club
2. It can help attract other money
3. Less risk involved - loans are debt, shares are equity
4. It’s really cost effective
5. Appears to be the fairest way to raise money for the club and its supporters
6. You increase community attachment to the club, so people are willing to do more i.e. volunteer
Having said all of that, 7 days is a long time in football…
I’d therefore strongly advise a club to take advantage of the readily available support out there on this one.
I’m led to believe Supporters Direct can help across UK+ Europe, and here in Wales the Community Shares team are on hand. Aside from the bonus of being free (as funded by Big Lottery Wales), what’s particularly great about them is that they know every project is different, and will tailor support to your club and your offer. Remaining with you on your journey from start to finish.
Which frankly is extremely important if you want to put the ball in the back of the net on this one.
If you think community shares could be the the right way forward for your club, please get in touch with:
Carly McCreesh, Project Manager
t. 029 2080 7149 / 07393 148 632