October 28, 2020 @ 8:19 by Chloe Holmes
A North East Rugby League club insists an innovative new service aimed at revolutionising community sport can kick off an exciting new era in grassroots fundraising.
Gateshead Storm is working alongside Tyneside-based GiveToLocal in a bid to access thousands of pounds of additional annual funding.
And the ambitious club is aiming to become a benchmark for Rugby League teams across the UK as it seeks to maximise its potential for attracting new donors and sponsors.
“We registered with GiveToLocal as soon as the service was opened up to Rugby League,” explains the club’s treasurer, Neil Emmerson.
“It’s a brilliant opportunity for teams to tap into their local community and to showcase the work they do.
“From Storm’s point of view it’s a win-win situation. We have access to a simple web-based application that can help us generate regular and sustainable income.
“Our donors can access unique offers and the sponsors we work with are welcomed into the club with open arms.
“When I looked at the service GiveToLocal offers my first thought was ‘why has nobody done this before?’.
“I wish I’d thought of it!
“We’re incredibly proud of our fundraising efforts but the fact is we’re approaching — and relying upon — the same people time and time again.
“The support we get from the GiveToLocal team is second to none and they’re making it possible for us to broaden our reach and plan for a more secure future.”
GiveToLocal was launched last year and within 12 months the North Tyneside-based service has registered more than 55,000 teams across 15 sports nationally.
Its remit to back sport, boost business and build networks is gathering pace in spite of the challenges associated with COVID-19.
And GiveToLocal’s ability to pivot in the face of a game-changing global crisis has been further underlined by the organisation’s decision to launch its bold Focus Clubs initiative.
“We identified a group of clubs from across the UK that have the potential to be standard bearers for what we do,” explains CEO and founder Neil Gardiner.
“After reaching out to the GiveToLocal community we were inundated by clubs that had embraced our support and wanted to take the next step.
“We selected our first two groups of Focus Clubs and they’re already benefitting from an enhanced package of support.
“Working together we can ensure our service is the best it can possibly be for all of our teams.”
Gateshead was confirmed as a Focus Club earlier this month and Neil Emmerson has mobilised the Storm community to ensure players, coaches, parents and volunteers hit the ground running as it seeks to hit a series of fundraising targets.
“I was delighted when I found out we’d been selected as a Focus Club,” he adds.
“I’ve been in regular contact with the GiveToLocal staff since we registered with the service and they’re always incredibly helpful.
“When the Focus Club initiative was launched I applied immediately — I can see the potential in GiveToLocal and believe it will work 100 per cent.
“Everyone involved with the Storm knows that we’re a great club.
“Hopefully GiveToLocal will give us the chance to showcase this.
“I’d like to think that when things are ‘back to normal’ that more people might be tempted to give Rugby League a go — either playing or watching.
“If we’re financially secure and can count on regular income then we can help to make that happen.”
Newcastle Thunder’s director of rugby, Denis Betts, pledged his support to GiveToLocal earlier this year and reiterated Rugby League’s value to communities across the North East.
Neil Emmerson shares the former Great Britain international’s belief that 2021 could be a game changer for the sport in the North East.
“We already have great links with the Thunder and our members have been part of the Super League Magic Weekends at St James’s Park,” he adds.
“It’s already an exciting time for Rugby League in the region but next year could be a genuine turning point.
“The Rugby League World Cup is due to kick off in Newcastle and there’s an opportunity for everyone involved in the sport up here to grow the game.
“With the support of GiveToLocal I feel we can be in an even better position to do that.
“Gateshead Storm prides itself on being the North East’s leading community Rugby League Club but we’re always looking to evolve and improve.
“Working alongside GiveToLocal is an opportunity to do that. I’m so grateful for their support and genuinely believe their service can make a lasting difference to community sport.”
GiveToLocal works with corporate partners across the UK keen to align their businesses with grassroots sport and its power to do good.
To join the fast-growing network delivering positive social impact and tangible business benefits contact David Broom, head of corporate relations, via email@example.com or visit www.givetolocal.com/corporates