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Sport in development is a good investment


Sport in development is a good investment

With donors wanting to know what the return is on their investment, sport and development fundraisers can make the case that investing in sport has immediate and long-term returns.

This is the fifth in a series of articles focused on funding in S&D.

Sport is often quoted as being a cost-effective tool in development. The image of kids playing on a dirt field with a beaten-up ball shooting into a goal made out of sticks reinforces this idea; however, what is the actual economic return on the investment? 

Immediate returns on crime reduction 
Youth involvement in sport and development (S&D) reduces crime and results in economic savings for society. A recent Laureus Sport for Good Foundation publication, ‘Sport Scores: The Cost and Benefits of Sport in Crime Reduction,' reveals that sport "provides a return of 5.02 Euros for every 1 Euro invested through savings related to reductions in crime, truancy, and ill health."

This research was conducted across four S&D projects in the UK, Italy and Germany and estimates the average social cost of a youth crime to be 6,400 GBP. These include costs:

  • To young offenders
  • To victims
  • To public services
  • In anticipation of crime
  • In lost output

Related document: Sport Scores - The Cost and Benefits of Sport in Crime Reduction

Long-term returns on youth development

Youth involvement in S&D is also a good investment in tomorrow’s workforce. This case is particularly strong in countries where youth comprise a large part of the population, such as in India where more than half the population is below the age of 25.

Dasra’s publication 'The Power to Play' argues that S&D can help reap a demographic dividend: "The key to transforming this demographic advantage into economic growth lies not only in having more people, but having greater numbers of healthier, higher educated and more productive people."

The report reveals that in India, "Less than 1 per cent of the population under 35 years of age has any access to organised sport and less than 10 per cent of all children have access to a playground." Providing young people with access to sport is essential for the development of a healthier and more productive workforce.

Moving beyond the idea that S&D is cost-effective to making a strong case that it results in immediate and long-term economic returns will assist fundraising efforts.

What works and what doesn't? Part six, the final article in this series, will look into lessons learned and best practices of fundraising in the S&D sector.



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Stephen Reynard


Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - 23:00