December 1, 2020
The announcement of November’s lockdown across England, and the significant tightening of restrictions in other parts of the UK, posed fresh challenges to community sport towards the end of a year that had threatened the very survival of clubs everywhere.
Once again, grassroots sport was brought to an abrupt and disruptive halt for at least four weeks.
At a few days’ notice, leagues were shut down, training was postponed, and thousands of children, coaches, parents and volunteers were faced with more uncertainty, fear and frustration.
Behind the scenes, the team at Tyneside-based GiveToLocal knew there was an even greater need to act now and act positively.
Just as they had done earlier this year, when the Government announced its first, nationwide lockdown, the national sport service planned a proactive response to a looming challenge.
“We were built to move quickly and effectively for the good of the clubs we support,” explains co-founder and chief executive Neil Gardiner.
“It wasn’t a case of waiting to see how the latest lockdown would affect our clubs.
“We wanted to do something that would enable the GiveToLocal community to face that lockdown with confidence.”
Initially, the organisation revealed it would double the value of all individual donations already committed to clubs during November.
In the short-term, at least, clubs facing a financial shortfall as a result of the latest COVID-19 restrictions could supplement some of that lost income.
However, in a move that positively disrupts the entire fundraising platforms sector, GiveToLocal revealed it would remove its flat fee on individual donations.
Community clubs can now look forward to receiving 100 per cent of donations pledged from individuals through the service’s agile platform and be in a position to better prepare for a post-lockdown future.
“Our service was always designed to be free for clubs and always has been,” explains Neil.
“That staple of our organisation’s ethos will never change.
“There have never been any subscription fees and we only leveraged a flat fee on individual donations.
“We took a small amount of the extra income that we helped to generate for clubs but that will no longer be the case.
“Thanks to the continued support of our partners, we are in a position to pivot.
“GiveToLocal will become fee free. Clubs will receive 100 per cent of any donation income generated through our platform.”
Viewed as a game-changing move within the fundraising sector, GiveToLocal’s decision to dispense with its flat fee on individual donations has the potential to impact positively on the long-term future of thousands of clubs across the country.
“We set out to have as wide-reaching an impact as possible but with an appreciation of the fact that we need to be sustainable,” adds Neil.
“The way we sought to do that as ethically as possible was by applying a flat fee.
“The better the job we did, the more value we added to the GiveToLocal network over time and the bigger the benefit to our clubs — not to us.
“What has truly changed the landscape in the last few months — and allowed us to plan for this bold move — is the exceptional level of enthusiasm and support from our corporate partners.
“They have given us the confidence and belief that we can genuinely increase our impact by becoming the ONLY zero fees platform for donations from individuals.”
GiveToLocal is poised to announce a number of major new corporate partnerships within the coming weeks as its network of like-minded businesses and organisations continues to grow in size and influence.
And Neil adds: “Our experience and proven success, coupled with the support of the business community, ensures we remain sustainable, agile and proactive at a time when traditional fundraising models are changing fast.
“Working with our corporate partners, we’re able to increase the impact each donation has at every club and press on with plans to grow the GiveToLocal team.
“That, in turn, allows us to increase our reach and resource and make more clubs aware of the service we offer and the support they can benefit from.”
James Ramsbotham: chief executive, North East England Chamber of Commerce
“The whole premise of GiveToLocal — helping to build sports communities in our region — resonates with our own work on behalf of the business community. Both of us have the aim of ensuring the North East has a chance to thrive, even in these challenging times. Their work to help finance and build grassroots sports is outstanding. We wish them every success and will support them in every possible way to build their networks.”
Tony Colquitt: managing director, Rhino Rugby League
“We’re a big believer in the role that community clubs play in terms of sport and wellbeing. Community sport is our bread and butter and we’re very keen to support clubs across the board. I like the fact that there is sustainability in the GiveToLocal solution and the organisation offers a platform for community sport to grow. There’s so much synergy between Rhino Rugby League and GiveToLocal in terms of what we want to achieve within community sport.”
Andy Grieve: director, Weatherproofing Advisors Limited
“GiveToLocal impacts far and wide and that was really attractive to us when we looked at the proposition. Sport is such a big part of so many people’s lives and makes a difference in so many ways. As an example, I’m very interested in the studies which show how playing sport can have a positive effect on academic achievement. Sport — like GiveToLocal — has the power to bring people together and it doesn’t discriminate.”