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Autonomy and impact vs. the importance of fundraising

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Autonomy and impact vs. the importance of fundraising

Getting your projects right first will make your fundraising easier.

We should challenge the conventional view that funding is the most important issue for sport and development organisations, whose work relies on fundraising successes. Instead, the biggest challenge lies in the conceptualisation and delivery of projects, which have real impact.

Football Beyond Borders (FBB) is a good example. It considers itself as a learning organisation that constantly tries ambitious new approaches to grow in the world of sport and development organisations.

FBB was born as a student-led initiative at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), when the university football team travelled to Syria, Turkey and Lebanon in 2009 to work with local NGOs and play against football teams to raise awareness of socioeconomic issues such as racism, human rights or lack of educational opportunities. All these trips were funded through ad-hoc crowdfunding campaigns and fundraising events.

We soon realised that we needed to shift the focus back on our local communities in the UK if we wanted to achieve sustainable impact. We therefore started to deliver a football and mentoring project and a football and tutoring programme at a secondary school in South London in 2013. With a lot of passion and the ambition to become the best organisation in the fields of football and education, we used the first year of our pilot project to excel in the methodology and design of the projects.

Crucial investments at the right time
In order to do this as accurately as possible it was important for us to invest in the right impact and evaluation software to record and measure our results. After comprehensive research and discussion with experts in the field we decided to invest in the performance management software Upshot, which was a big financial commitment for our organisation at that time. In terms of our income streams, we agreed that it would be the best next step for the organisation to invest in a corporate fundraising expert to help us secure strategic corporate partnerships. Jonathan Andrews from Remarkable Partnerships has been really helpful in identifying our organisation’s unique selling points and a top prospect list of corporate partners. This was another big investment considering our financial capacity, but we decided that it would be the right next step.

Challenges with conventional funding streams
All of the above decisions were crucial to be able to uphold our core values of autonomy, influence and impact. In fact in order to avoid the disappointment of submitting a lengthy application to become the charity of the year of a big company or to spend valuable time with writing reports to major institutional funding bodies, we set up a social enterprise in October 2015. In the long-term it will enable us to finance the projects ourselves and to provide our participants with employment opportunities. It’s been challenging, to achieve real autonomy, influence and impact, but worthwhile.


Jasper Schlump is the Head of Partnership at the UK registered Charity Football Beyond Borders. FBB uses the unique power of football to empower young people to achieve their goals and make their voices heard. Football Beyond Borders became a registered charity in July 2014 and have expanded rapidly since then. By the end of 2015, FFB was delivering programmes across London with more than 200 young people participating every week.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]

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Jasper Schlump

Published

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - 23:00