We sat down with David to discuss the opportunities for community-focused businesses to become part of the positive and lasting change GiveToLocal was created to bring about and how it can benefit not only our communities but also those very businesses themselves.
GiveToLocal: First of all, can you give us a bit of insight into what your role as Head of Corporate Relations entails?
David Broom: My role centres around one part of the broader picture, engaging what we term as corporate businesses in what we do here at GiveToLocal. What’s great about GiveToLocal, is that its innovative and quite bespoke.
It’s unique. This is the first time that any organisation has willingly taken on the mantel of joining the dots between corporate social responsibility and community sport, as well as providing tangible benefits for businesses.
It’s my job to build the team that ensures we link all of those considerations together, building a growing community that benefits all parties, bringing about the lasting change we were set up to pursue by making it something people want to be a part of and continue to be a part of long into the future.
GTL: So, in layman's terms, in what ways can corporate partners get involved with GiveToLocal?
DB: Here at GiveToLocal, we have our club engagement and sponsorship engagement teams, which are at the heart of what we do. Their focus is on supporting clubs and teams at a grassroots level.
In their local communities, local businesses can sponsor teams and clubs directly through our app. That’s one side of how businesses can get involved with GiveToLocal.
The other, is through a corporate partnership. What we do, is look for prospective partners who are already community minded and who have demonstrated that they operate around the same core values as GiveToLocal.
We see our role as focusing on the activity to find businesses who are enthusiastic about what we are here to achieve, rather than trying to make people enthusiastic about it.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to currently be involved in supporting community sport, but they are generally businesses who are passionate about supporting their local community, and we present the opportunity for them to get behind the sports clubs that are at the heart of that community.
Building a national network of corporate partners doesn’t just enhance our ability to create and launch community initiatives and engagement drives that directly benefit clubs, it also raises our profile and in turn the profile of the clubs we are here to support through the networks which already exist within and around those businesses.
We think it is more important now than ever for us to champion our local communities and shine a light on the businesses who want to give back to and invest in the future of the communities in which their staff, their suppliers and their customers live and work.
We’re not just asking them to become partners with GiveToLocal. We’re also giving them the opportunity to partner with each other, to connect with other businesses in their area or their sector and to give an advantage to the businesses who we should be lauding, the ones who don’t just recognise the need to but actively seek out the opportunity to give back and to have a positive impact beyond the core service or products they deliver.
GTL: So how can partnering with GiveToLocal benefit businesses?
DB: When you look at the support that we are attracting across all of the sports, it is clear that our vision and our approach to delivering against that vision resonates with people.
Our team work proactively, identifying and engaging with community minded organisations, both regionally and nationally, giving them the opportunity to get behind what we are doing, again either regionally or nationally, this work encompasses and ultimately benefits all of the community sports that we support.
We are upfront with prospective partners about our desire to deliver tangible benefits for them, in terms of profile, brand recognition/association, corporate social responsibility activity and business development.
The benefit to our community clubs is apparent, which is the increase in profile and awareness of what we are here to do and the ability to employ significant community engagement campaigns all over the country.
The direct benefit to the businesses is something that is also at the core of our proposition though, and the focus on ensuring we deliver for our partners is a cultural one, as we build our teams and embed the processes to facilitate and proactively measure and report on it.
Our senior team have extensive experience and demonstrated success in building effective partner networks in a variety of industries.
With GiveToLocal we have the opportunity to apply that expertise to build a network, from the ground up, that is valuable for our partners. We openly say that we are building the network around our partners and their aims and our approach to managing partner relationships illustrates that.
We can also be open enough to say that what we are doing is of interest to a lot businesses across a wide variety of sectors.
Our proactive approach is about engaging businesses as partners and then seeking to be conduit, facilitating introductions for them into new business relationships.
It is about bringing the very best of our community businesses together, securing their support in delivering against our vision for positive change in how community sport is funded, but also providing the opportunity for tangible returns for them at the same time.
If we didn’t think we could do that we simply wouldn’t say it. We think that’s a very unique proposition and the interest in it is evident.
GTL: How important is the part businesses can play in making grassroots sports sustainable?
DB: Having businesses get involved with grassroots sport is hugely important.
I’m a coach myself and I coach an U13s girls team. Before GiveToLocal, I would personally reach out to organisations for their support, but you have to take into consideration that business development is my area of expertise and for many grassroots volunteers putting themselves out there and asking for money puts them well outside of their comfort zone.
Generally each year I would need to secure support for a set of new football strips, new equipment, new jackets, support to help subsidise fees and travel for more disadvantaged kids, and I would look to local businesses to help with that.
Some of them with a national reach, some of them who were cash rich, but normally a local business to help support the team, to allow us to have a pot of cash that enabled us to buy the equipment and kits that we required.
That is something that everyone in community sport can identify with, whether you’re a coach, chairman, club secretary or a parent. When you start to look at what we’re [GiveToLocal] doing at scale – linking community sport to local business across the UK – there’s got to be a purpose.
We’re very outcome driven at GiveToLocal, and that key outcome is to ensure that there is sustainable funding for community sports to allow them to not only survive but thrive. Not just in the short term, but forever.
We are here to help create new streams of income that will help support our clubs into the future, making them stronger and stronger, year on year. Without the support of local businesses, it’s very hard to be able to make that happen.
Not only that, with community sport being run pretty much exclusively by volunteers it is very difficult to even find the time to make that happen. That is where GiveToLocal comes in.
Some of the businesses we bring on are specialists in law, accountancy, manufacturing or construction etc, regardless of the sector they are in, we are here to demonstrate to them that community sport is a very worthwhile cause to support and that transparency around a positive and lasting impact is possible.
Personally, I feel very passionate about what we are here to do and my growing team are exactly the same. In my time as a coach, there have been kids that come from very different, more deprived socio-economic backgrounds from their peers.
But when they pull on that strip or kit, they all look the same and they all feel the same, they become a part of something and we want to protect that.
GiveToLocal is here to ensure that the power of sport for good isn’t only open to those who can afford it and that coaching isn’t only open to those who can also adopt the role of a fundraiser. By engaging businesses in what we are doing, we have an opportunity to not simply address a problem, but to permanently solve it.
GTL: What kind of impact has COVID-19 had upon building relationships with businesses and corporate partners?
DB: We’ve identified a number of key business sectors within which we are securing partners across the UK. What we’re finding, almost across the board, particularly over the summer months, is that every organisation that we’ve been speaking to has had a responsibility first and foremost to look after their staff.
This meant that some people have been furloughed, or they’ve been working from home, which means our ability to speak to some organisations initially has been hampered somewhat by coronavirus.
What have found to be consistent however, is that the organisations we do speak to are very interested to hear about what we’re doing and that they’ve not come across anything like this before. It’s completely new to them.
The vast majority of people we speak to have kids who have played or currently do play grassroots sport, or at the very least know someone who has amongst their network of friends and family.
So when we start talking about what we can offer, it becomes a very easy conversation to have because people automatically recognise the positive social impact grassroots sport has and the negative impact coronavirus has had on these sports too.
Every day we speak to new organisations who are enthusiastic to learn more about GiveToLocal, and something which resonates with them, is that we are leading with a proposition where we want their support to not be something that actually costs them financially.
Our aim is to make partnership with GiveToLocal at the very least cost neutral, ideally if we do our job properly it should be something that has a net positive impact on our partners bottom line. We’re providing them with an opportunity to come on board and to be part of a network that they can gain benefits from.
Additionally, we are providing the opportunity for businesses to connect with their community at scale and to openly demonstrate their commitment to that community during such a trying time for community sport. The impact of COVID-19 actually makes what we are doing all the more relevant.
To discuss corporate partnership opportunities with GiveToLocal contact David Broom, Head of Corporate Relations, via firstname.lastname@example.org.