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.

Why Clyde FC became a Community Interest Company

Clyde FC adopted a ‘Community Interest Company’ structure in 2010 which allowed fans to have a share in the club and giving them a vote on club affairs. Their website on the move reads:

Clyde FC has gone back to where it began in the 1870s, as a sports club owned by its supporters and dedicated to working within its community. That step into history is your opportunity to take the club forward.

Now, as a Owner of Clyde CIC you will have a meaningful say in the running of Clyde FC.”

That’s because:

  • You have a vote and as every Owner’s vote is equal, your vote really counts
  • You will actually be part of the democratic process that adopts club policy
  • The articles of association guarantee transparency and accountability in the running of the club
  • More than ever before this is your club.

Here is an interview with former Clyde FC chairman John Alexander about why the club adopted this legal structure.

Most examples of supporter ownership appear to come from a crisis situation. Why should a club adopt a fan owned model if they are currently successful or not in any financial trouble?

I would argue that that most clubs are already in supporter ownership. So the challenge is why are they not in a more representative ownership structure. Recognising that clubs are already supporter owned takes away one of the major gripes of club directors who get irritated that nobody seems to recognise that they are supporters when espousing the benefits of supporter ownership.

A club should only adopt a representative model if they see that it meets their strategic objectives. Being in financial trouble should not be a reason to be supporter owned. Whatever legal/ownership structure gets a club out of trouble is good. We all want our clubs stable and secure and we are all less interested in the ownership model than we are in having a successful club. Not a popular view, but it is honest.

A club should therefore adopt a broad based ownership model if having greater engagement with customers is recognised as something that could lead to greater success (the definition of success will vary from club to club). I don’t think there is any business that would not want to have significantly increased engagement with stakeholders, but they are probably businesses that would know how to deal with challenging engagement. For instance, all listed companies have to deal with stakeholder engagement and the vast majority of them are not controlled by a single individual and they are often very successful.

How much of a factor was the move towards a Community Interest Company structured club in the abolition of the club’s debt?

For Clyde, the switch to a CIC came long after the financial troubles, we still had debt but we were in a stable structure of collective supporter ownership but it was structured through 3 companies. One  of our reasons to become a CIC was to simplify our legal structure into a single company. Debt reduction was in no way linked to the historic finances.

Why should other clubs adopt the CIC structure?

No easy answer. The reality is that a CIC structure is not a silver bullet for the ills of the game – which are many. The start point is at each individual club where they need to consider their medium and long term succession plans and strategic objectives for the club.

Having done that it is possible to establish what legal/ownership structure would best support the club in delivery of those objectives. One of our objectives was to improve corporate and financial governance and that was achieved by making the board directly accountable to the supporters on a one person one vote system. However, we did not need to convert to a CIC to achieve that, it just set it more in stone. A major factor for us in choosing a CIC was a marketing issue – we wanted it clear that we were a community club and that the community had to be part of building the club. This is a very difficult message to sustain within a football club unless it is already in their DNA, it was not in ours. We were clear that the future of the club lay in being a community focussed club so wanted to ensure that future club leadership could not easily revert to an unsustainable model of operation.

Was the transition to a CIC club a smooth one? What advice would you have for any clubs considering doing the same?

Technically it was very easy, I understand company law and guided the lawyers through what I wanted and I used lawyers that could make sure that what I wanted was delivered. Our bigger challenge was communicating it to stakeholders, amongst whom there was some opposition. We put a great deal of effort into communication and explaining the benefits – the benefits are not generic and are specific from club to club, so when we cited examples that related to our club then they were fully understood. The same examples of benefit might not be relevant to another club. There are a few things we might have done differently but not many.

The advice I would give is that anyone considering becoming a CIC should not rush it and should not do it unless they have established that it would support their strategic objectives. They should also take good advice as there is an element of creativity in thought that is required to manage a transition. It is possible to achieve the same perceived benefits that a CIC delivers within a standard Ltd company structure with no need to convert to a CIC – so the advice is to start with the objectives in mind and retrofit a legal structure, do not decide on legal structure first.

How does the club use CIC to set its goals both on and off the pitch?

The honest answer is that it doesn’t. On the pitch is not linked to being a CIC. The off the pitch activities, which are growing, meet and exceed CIC regulator objectives but these are just part of our model of operation now and would happen whether we were a CIC or not.