Funding Guidance

Sport clubs can look to raise significant capital for funding through their own independent fundraising methods but often there are funders who support community projects and may make suitable funding partners for your project.

Obtaining sufficient funding is often the main requirement and consideration when a Supporters Trust is looking to embark on a project no matter how big or small.

Your club can obtain funding for a variety of projects and there are two distinct types which funders acknowledge: Capital projects usually relate to property and buildings where a project exceeds £50,000. For example, funding facilities such as a 3G pitch being built. They are longer term projects investing in something that depreciates over time. Revenue projects are usually projects where total expenditure is less than £50,000. The costs will normally be to meet community or sporting objectives such as coaching or sports equipment.

Funding is often only available for specific projects in individual regions. Usually, these projects are working with and benefiting certain groups in your community. The funders are only able to fund a limited amount of grants per year and the application process is extremely competitive. Some examples of funders who offer grants for single projects are:

This guidance offers some advice and inspiration in the form of case studies to help guide trusts through potential funding applications.


Facility Development Guidance

When we talk about facility development this describes everything from building a new stadium to adding or upgrading existing facilities to a stadium, clubhouse or training area.

In the most extreme examples, facility development is required because a club has lost their ground and is having to play matches on a ground rented from another club, often many miles from their home town and supporter base.

Clubs with their own grounds and training pitches may wish to upgrade existing facilities or add something new like a stand or a 3G pitch.

Facility Development is important for a number of reasons:

• For those clubs “exiled” from their home town it means their supporters have easier access to home games and the club can play a role within the local

• Improving the facilities offered to supporters. For example, the provision of additional seating, facilities for disabled supporters, covered areas or improved toilet facilities enhance the match day experience.

• Developing the clubhouse and other spaces for non match day revenue can provide additional finance streams to clubs improving their financial viability.

• Installing 3G pitches, at a stadium or training area, enables wider community use and generates additional revenue.

Read our guidance here.

Fundraising Guidance

Fundraising is a vital aspect of any club’s remit and questions of how to effectively fundraise, sources of funding and suitable projects for clubs to raise funds for is one that is debated widely throughout the movement.

Fundraising helps your group raise money for activities and suitable community projects, to increase reserves, fund purchases, buy equipment, develop facilities or in the case of Supporters Trusts increase of shareholdings at a club or, in some cases, help take ownership of clubs.

Fundraising can also be a great way for clubs to increase their profile within community around them. A fundraising project can also be a fantastic way to bolster the objects of a group with members and nonmembers alike. It can increase membership and encourage wider engagement from the community on projects.

We’ve put together a fundraising guide to offer some ideas and suggestions as to the best way forward when your club is planning its next fundraising drive.

You may want to consider a crowdfunding campaign if you’re trying to raise funds for a specific project. Check out our own crowdfunding platform, Build a Winning Club, and see what we can do for you.

Behind The Goals #4 – Foundation of Hearts

In this week’s Behind The Goals Podcast, we speak to Foundation of Heart Board Member Louise Strutt about fan ownership at Gorgie and the incredible achievements of the Foundation since their establishment.

The Foundation of Hearts (FoH) is the largest supporters’ movement in Scottish footballing history with a membership of around 8,000 individuals, all of whom contribute financially to the organisation. This financial contribution is used to provide working capital for the club.

A not-for-profit organisation, the Foundation was created in 2010 by a group of local businesspeople (Alex Mackie, Jamie Bryant, Brian Cormack, Donald Ford, Garry Halliday), all of whom are lifelong Hearts fans. They had a shared vision for the future which is based on bringing Heart of Midlothian back to the people who are truly passionate about this club – the fans.

In 2013, the Foundation was joined by all the Hearts supporters’ organisations – the Federation of Hearts Supporters Clubs, the Heart of Midlothian Shareholders Association, the Heart of Midlothian Supporters’ Trust, Hearts Youth Development Committee (HYDC), and Save Our Hearts. Under the chairmanship of Ian Murray MP, this united group worked under the Foundation of Hearts ‘banner’ to take forward the vision of fan ownership.

In 2014, one of the Foundation’s own team, Ann Budge (through her specially created company, Bidco), successfully acquired the majority shareholding of the club. A legally binding agreement was put in place between Bidco and the Foundation which will deliver ultimate fan ownership – via the Foundation – over an anticipated five-year period of time. Doing so allows the club’s finances to be stabilised, and for there to be an orderly transition to supporter ownership. Bidco’s sole purpose is to deliver fan ownership and it will therefore not seek to make any personal gain through the process.

The position that Ann Budge/Bidco inherited was one of a club with no money in the bank, and the contribution from the Foundation has provided essential working capital at this difficult time. The Foundation signed up to providing £1.4 million in year 1 and £1.4 million in year 2. Monies raised over and above this will be accrued over the next years to repay the loan provided by Ann Budge of £2.5 million; the loan that effectively saved the club. This means that the total that the Foundation will require to raise in the five years since its inception will be £6.3 million.

In this podcast, we speak to Louise about the incredible achievements of the Foundation including looking at the steps that led to the Foundation’s formation, the new Tynecastle Development Fund and how the Foundation have successfully amassed and attained such a strong membership.

Remember, you can get in touch with the show by emailing or reaching us on Twitter.


Community Engagement and Activity Guidance Launched

When we talk about community activity we are referring to the way that  community owned clubs establish ongoing relationships and engagement with individuals and organisations with the aim of achieving a collective vision for the benefit of their local community.

The purpose of a community benefit society is to serve the broader interests of the community. To achieve this, the club needs to engage with the community
to identify how they can work in a way that supports local needs.

The unique role that clubs play in local communities enables them to be a focus for community activities. By creating goodwill and responding to local needs, clubs can attract support from individuals and organisations who were not previously engaged.

  • This resource has been developed as a guide to assist clubs in developing community activities, it signposts other useful resources and provides a short case study.

Get Big, Get Niche or Get Out – New Podcast Featuring Lewes FC’s Stuart Fuller Out Now!

We were delighted to welcome community owned Lewes FC’s chairman and Supporters Direct Director Stuart Fuller to the SD Scotland ‘Behind The Goals’ podcast.

In this week’s edition, Andrew and Alan spoke to Stuart about how the clubs’ innovative approach to gaining new fans including their famed matchday posters and beachhuts.


The takeaway message from the podcast?

Get Big Get Niche Or Get Out

Listen to the second episode here. You can also subscribe so you never miss an episode.

If you want to become a part of this project going forward, please get in touch with Pia MacKenzie (

New Podcast for supporters and community clubs

We’re very pleased to bring you our very first podcast ‘Behind the Goals’.

Presented by Council member Alan Russell and Head of SD Scotland Andrew Jenkin, the podcast aims to look at the community ownership of sport clubs movement, starting off with an interview with author of ‘Punk Football’ Jim Keoghan.

In the interview we explore the background and history of the supporters Trust movement, starting with the origins of Supporters Direct and the first Supporters Trust in Northampton Town. Later in the podcast we explore how sport clubs work in Germany and Sweden who adopt a ‘multi-sport club’ member owned approach to their clubs ownership and governance.

You can check out the first episode with Jim here.