Thoughts on the role of a funder
Thoughts on the role of a funder
"A reminder to everyone working in sport for development of the crucial and impactful role that a funder – and especially an intermediary funder – can play with programmes beyond just handing out cash."
By Adam Fraser, Global Development Director, Laureus Sport for Good
I was forwarded an email today by my boss, Andy Griffiths, the Global Director of Laureus Sport for Good. Someone had asked him what we mean in our Mission, when we talk about 'supporting' programmes rather than just funding them. He only had chance to write a quick reply on his phone on the London Underground, and flicked it on to me as an FYI that it had been sent.
That may be the least inspiring scene-setting that you have ever read, but I wanted to share his reply verbatim not just as a view to what Laureus Sport for Good does, but as a reminder to everyone working in sport for development of the crucial and impactful role that a funder – and especially an intermediary funder – can play with programmes beyond just handing out cash. If you do similar work, take out our name and read it with your own in its place, and see if it rings true to you.
Laureus Sport for Good works closely alongside its partners. As well as providing funding, we help the organisations we are working with to identify the areas where they need training and development and then we work with them to ensure they get what they need. Whether that is better support in financial controls – keeping the chequebook safe – or stronger child protection policies – keeping the kids safe.
We help organisations to develop tools to measure the impact of what they are doing. This is not as simple as monitoring how good the kids become at sport, because of course sport is not the point. Sport is simply the tool. We are interested in the social impact of the programme, so that is what we help to monitor. Have children attended school regularly, how are they performing, have they managed to keep out of petty crime, did they get a job interview? Those are the important things, some universal and some unique to a particular project or location, and we help to understand how to track them.
We bring organisations together across the globe so that they can learn from each other. A football programme in Nairobi will have experience which could be useful with marginalised youth doing athletics in New Orleans, or kids doing judo in Naples. But if no-one connects these organisations and helps them to identify the areas they have in common and how they can usefully share their knowledge, those conversations simply would not happen. That means each organisation would have to invent everything for itself from scratch time and again, taking the long route. We share knowledge so that organisations can take effective shortcuts to successful programmes.
We commission research, using the data and information we get from individual programmes, to help to build stronger programme curricula; helping to identify the DNA of successful programmes so that they can be scaled and replicated. In the end, what we are after is more children and young people’s lives being transformed through sport. Laureus Sport for Good will do whatever it takes to support our family of programmes in this common goal.