It is no secret that GiveToLocal set out with bold ambitions, and as we embark on expanding our support to as many clubs as possible through our Club Futures Campaign we thought it was an appropriate time to share a little about our journey.
There is a real buzz about GiveToLocal right now, and the excitement isn’t misplaced as the confidence in our team, as we push forward, comes from knowing just how much effort we have put in together to get to this point.
Something that is commonplace amongst the team at GiveToLocal is ambition, and when you add that to a desire to leave a legacy and a very real opportunity to do so that is where the makings of a great environment begin to show.
“This hasn’t been an easy journey at all, at times it has been tough for different people and different departments within the organisation, but one thing it has always been is worthwhile,” said Neil Gardiner, Chief Executive at GiveToLocal.
“We set out to do something that hasn’t been done before, to approach things in a new way and that comes with difficulty, but it also comes with a chance to achieve something that really matters to a lot of people.
“GiveToLocal was founded as a result of the recognition that there was a perpetual problem in community sport that could be solved, a lack of sustainable funding and lack of innovation in how that problem could be addressed specific to the challenges in community sport.
“When you set out to do something new, with all the right intentions and a desire to make it work, the right solution evolves as a result of talking to the people who you are there to support and also those who can help you support them.
“I am incredibly proud of where we have got to as a team, with our focus being on first getting the right solution, then the right processes and ultimately the right people behind those processes, we know that we are now well into the final stage, giving us the opportunity and the privilege of creating meaningful, enjoyable jobs which provide a way for so many people to make a difference.”
Jerome Iveson, Chief Product Officer at GiveToLocal, adds: “If you ask our team our technology is still very rough around the edges, but it works, it is improving every day and with a growing team focused on it we know that it always will be.
“There has been a huge learning experience for us as we have focused on building a solution people could and would engage with, it would be incorrect of me to say we haven’t been caught off-guard and even disappointed at some points of that learning experience but then hugely surprised and encouraged at others.
“We have been working with tens of thousands of people across 21 sports to really get to understand how our technology needs to work for clubs, the ability to do that has been invaluable, for us and the clubs we were founded to support.
“We know that the impact of what we do won’t come from just making our technology and our support available but also ensuring it is something people engage with, if someone isn’t following a process easily then there is a good chance it is more about the process than the person, it isn’t intuitive and it needs tweaked, improved or developed.
“The routes into the support offered by GiveToLocal have been refined hugely in the lead up to our Club Futures Campaign, so have the ways clubs can launch our service, start seeing tangible results quickly and build upon those results in collaboration with us, it is an exciting time!”
Jerome’s excitement is echoed by Colin Stromsoy, Director of Strategic Partnerships at GiveToLocal: “I got involved with GiveToLocal as it provided a real opportunity to leave a legacy and I believe that the passion that exists within our whole organisation to do that is something which is really appreciated by the partners we are working with to make sustainable funding a reality for clubs.
“I always say I have the best job at GiveToLocal, as I get to work with partners to implement the strategies which will lead to a change within the sport they support.
“While our team have had to be dynamic and open to change when the data and testing showed us it was necessary, our focus has been resolute, GiveToLocal needed to be free for clubs, impactful and something that they could roll out without too much complication.
“It is clear we have got to that point, as part of the communication around our Club Futures Campaign everyone will see some updates on really exciting features which have been added to our technology, features which greatly improve how everything works and how we can realise the outcomes our clubs are after.”
A person who is at the forefront of building relationships with our clubs up and down the country is Keith Watson, Club Engagement Manager at GiveToLocal. A grassroots coach himself for more than twenty years, he understands what clubs need more than most.
“I love what we do and I feel very proud to play a role in developing a system of support that I know can benefit so many clubs out there,” said Keith.
“The enthusiasm we see from clubs is fantastic, sometimes that enthusiasm has led to frustration as we have had to hold back on certain things due to the impact of COVID, change things based on feedback or delay the release of certain features due to testing.
“In all honesty though, it isn’t possible to view that frustration with anything other than positivity because clubs really believe in what we are here to do and the ones who take the time to really understand what we are doing are huge advocates for us and are always raring to get going.
“My team is going to expand significantly over the coming weeks and months, every person who joins it is an extra person who is there full-time working to have a positive impact on community clubs, it is a great place to be.”
With a model that is centred around sustainability, from the outset there needed to be consideration for the areas where activity needed to take place and outcomes needed to be delivered, central to that is finding the right people and giving them the right support to excel.
Bex Gardiner, as Chief People Officer at GiveToLocal, is focused on creating an environment where people can see the results of their hard work and be recognised for the contribution they make to so many people who benefit from our support throughout the UK.
“As we have grown as a team, I have taken the move away from operations to focus more on the people side of GiveToLocal, because it is the actions and the decisions taken by those people day in and day out that delivers the impact we are after.
“There are a lot of good people at the heart of this organisation and as we move forward we can bank upon there being many more to follow”.
Maisie Cole, Partnership Executive at GiveToLocal, is a perfect example of how someone who has the right skills, attitude and interests can really find a place to bring their natural passion to the fore every day.
“I really feel like I have the chance to be part of a huge impact with GiveToLocal, we have an engaged, ambitious and close-knit team working together to deliver great results.” said Maisie.
When it comes to answering the question around how GiveToLocal has an impact, the response will always be led by the activities people are undertaking every day on behalf of our clubs and our partners, and the attitude applied to defining, refining and resourcing that activity.
In summary, Neil Gardiner said: “We are here to help people leave a legacy, that goes for our team, the volunteers at the clubs we support, our partners and not to forget the donors and sponsors who contribute to the impact we can have together.
“And we can only do that by following the guiding principles that were there when we decided to embark on this journey and bringing on others who add to the dynamic and our ability to deliver along the way.”
If you are interested in securing a minimum of £10,000 in sustainable funding per year for your club, then to register with GiveToLocal and take your chance to “Go live and get funded in four simple steps” via www.givetolocal.com/clubs