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Financing the vision

Posted in NatWest CricketForce 2011

Financing NatWest CricketForce events is seldom mentioned in articles and discussions, yet it is an issue every organising group needs to monitor. Perhaps it is the emphasis on ‘in kind’ contributions that prevents it being mentioned – with clubs reluctant to admit how difficult it is to obtain such support.

It is a particularly important issue because NatWest CricketForce activities tend to be at a time when clubs have poor cash flow and are not generating too much cash.

Financial support can arrive in number of ways for a NatWest CricketForce event – ‘in kind’ contributions, grants, discounts and simply donations from event sponsors. At Sawley & Long Eaton Park we needed to fund an event costing approximately £54,000 to fulfil the vision the organising group had for the event and the club. As the event grew near the finances looked very much as detailed below.

Source of finance£%

Grants

£9130

17

Discounts

£4394

8

Purchases

£3476

7

In kind support - volunteers

£23500

43

In kind support - materials

£13500

25

TOTAL

£54000

100

The grants had arrived from applications to the Local Council (decorate female dressing room), Lord’s Taverners (resurface non-turf practice pitch) and Sport England (two sight screens & mobile practice cage).

The club had chosen to present the event as a local community volunteering event to refurbish the club’s two pavilions. This proved an attractive idea to the significant number of partners who chose to support the event.

Some partners were prepared to offer substantial discounts to become an event partner – these were organisations who were asked to provide ‘purpose built’ fairly expensive materials such as UPVC windows - and where an ‘in kind’ contribution was unrealistic.

Derby College's Monday Crew

Derby College's Monday Crew - they are providing substantial amount of the 'in kind' volunteer contribution

Others were happy to provide support through an ‘in kind’ donation – these ranged from £1500 to £250 – with the upper value perhaps an indication of the limits of donor generosity in today’s financial climate.

This meant the club had to find around £3500 to finance the vision. This eventually came from a number of sources.

All the activity around CricketForce prompted some members to renew their efforts to secure new sponsors for the club. Their efforts produced three new sponsors – Eon@Radcliffe-on –Soar Power Station, Long Eaton Garage Services and the Cheesecake Shop - all willing to provide around £300 annually for the next few years. While the NatWest Community Fund (£500) funding criteria was better understood to help us access it annually.

In addition the senior members were encouraged to pay their subscriptions on time, rather than when the season starts, while the junior section brought their registration and annual subscriptions meeting forward to improve the club’s cash flow.

The remainder relied on some fundraising such as a sponsored walk (£800 from 12 members or £60 each) and the 14th Annual Club Dinner which generated a surplus for the club of £770 from the 54 dinners (or £14 per head). This income came from a combination of a premium on the menu cost, a stand up bingo game and a prize raffle.

Tom Henshaw Building Contractors

Tom Henshaw Building Contractors delivering their contribution of 120 paving slabs

Finally a number of ‘contribution packages’ at a variety of price points were devised listing exactly what a particular donation value would buy. These were offered to vice-presidents (24) and club supporters (48) – the resulting donations bridged the financial shortfall.

The club did consider the option of an ‘interest free loan’ but the Treasurer always felt that ‘a club financed event’ was within our capabilities. This may have been different if the club had a significant development plan beyond NatWest CricketForce – but this was a final destination event for the club – in fact the culmination of an eight year improvement plan. He did discuss an overdraft facility with the bank who were agreeable but wanted to charge an administration fee to make arrangements and obtain guarantees from some members.

In conclusion, although we were the NatWest CricketForce Midlands Focus Club 2011, it was the club’s enthusiasm, commitment and organised approach which produced the results. In other words it is within reach of all cricket clubs to achieve such outstanding outcomes – just imagine what an ‘in kind’ investment of £13,000 in the club’s pavilion would provide for members – let alone a £54000 investment in overall club facilities.

In a world where cricket clubs fund raise to survive then NatWest CricketForce is one of the few options available to make a difference to a club’s infrastructure.