Sport

Published: May 28, 2020 | Updated: May 28, 2020

Back of the net! Sports marketing agency helps football club survive summer by raising £20k

Scott Fitzgibbon of SF Sports interviewing a fan at Frome Town FC.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

A Dorset sports marketing agency has helped run a crowdfunding appeal for a non-league football club raising £20,000 in 28 days.

The much-needed financial support during the lockdown means Frome Town FC will survive the summer.

The successful campaign has led to Scott Fitzgibbon, of Poole-based SF Sports, being interviewed on BBC Radio Somerset.

The project has also featured on BBC Sport online and discussed on talkSPORT as a way that other clubs could emulate.

Scott, pictured left, said: “This has been a great project for my company to run and manage.

“The aim was simple. How do we raise £20,000, where other clubs with similar support bases have raised around £4,000 to £5,000?

“The amount of money was a target that even some professional clubs are failing to reach, so we needed to be creative.

“We needed to deliver a campaign to reward supporters for their donations and support.

“We used Crowdfunder UK and their Bridport based team, as they offer sports clubs a rewards and donation platform, whilst not charging the club any money to use it.

“We set up a simple offering that had no ambiguity or feeling of being short changed.

“Buy a seat and win the chance to name the stadium for the upcoming season.

“The reward gave fans a plaque on a seat, their name on a wall of thanks and an exclusive pin badge for the donation of £50.

“This reward was attractive to fans and local companies. During the campaign we saw over 220 seats sold locally.

“The main focus of the crowdfunding is to create a following that wants success to happen.

“We spoke to select fans prior to starting, gauged their opinions, making the rewards accessible and desirable.

“But the main focus of the campaign would need to be the promotion from the individuals in the club, using their network reach and influence beyond the club’s organic reach.

“The manager and the players helped build the campaign with a series of short videos encouraging fans to help and show their support and wonderfully nearly every player made their own personal donation to the club.

“One example of this reach saw a player’s friend encourage his work colleagues at NatWest to donate a staff collection of £1,200. This was an amazing example of the power of the networks you need to inspire.

“We also used a strong and relentless approach to Facebook and Twitter.

“Thanking every fan publicly, allowing the campaign and feeling of goodwill to be constant during the 28 days.

“Keeping it visual, if you lived in Frome there was no way you didn’t know the campaign was running on Facebook.

“We even did a series of targeted paid ads on Facebook to ensure donations kept coming in, on days where there were less donations.

“The shining light was the second reward on the campaign, which was to encourage local companies to buy a ticket to a match for the whole town.

“IMS Ltd stepped up and we will be working with them to ensure that we can maximise their generosity to all the fans and see if we can attract up to 5,000 fans, a 1/6th of the towns population, which will hopefully see another huge story for the club.”

Scott said the campaign had started a wave of non-league clubs to look at different ways of raise funding in these times.

He added: “Often fundraising from football clubs at a semi-professional levels is met with cynicism.

“But with the idea of crowdfunding being different to bucket shake collection, it’s now all about the rewarding the fans loyalty to drive success.”

More information about harnessing crowdfunding can be seen on Scott’s website here.