Behind the Goals – Jesse Cole of Savannah Bananas

The podcast has gone yellow this week for a very special episode of Behind The Goals – or should it be Behind The Home Runs?

Jesse Cole (@YellowTuxJesse), owner of the Savannah Bananas (@TheSavBananas) spoke to us about their unique approach to running a baseball team. Playing in the eighth tier of baseball in the US, the team started from scratch in a city whose previous team folded due to a lack of interest in the sport. By focussing 100% on entertaining the fans (do that, and the results will follow, according to Jesse) they’ve gone from zero interest to sold-out stadiums, winning their league in the process.

If you’re supportive of our work and the content we’re producing, please do consider supporting through a small monthly financial donation via our Patreon channel. We aim to keep all our resources, guidance and documents free of charge to ensure we can help support as many clubs and fans as possible. 


The Masterclass Series: Volunteering with Erin Fulton

The third in our Masterclass series, this week on Behind the Goals we speak to Erin Fulton, Volunteer & Interns Manager at PAS about volunteering for community sport clubs.

If you’re supportive of our work and the content we’re producing, please do consider supporting through a small monthly financial donation via our Patreon channel. We aim to keep all our resources, guidance and documents free of charge to ensure we can help support as many clubs and fans as possible. 

Behind the Goals with Austin MacPhee of AMS

We made the trip to AMS, a charitable organisation which uses football as a means to support education, employability and sports development in Fife. An SFA Legacy Mark club, it was set up by Austin MacPhee, who is also assistant manager for Hearts and Northern Ireland.

A fascinating character, Austin filled us in about his career as a player and about the experiences which inspired him to set up AMS, and his perspectives on the game.

Supporters Direct Scotland are proud to support AMS through their Club Development Scotland unit, where they offer ongoing support in the areas of development, governance and finance. Want to find out how we can help support your club? Get in touch.

Club Development Conference 2017 Roundup

We today attended the Scottish FA’s Club Development Conference held at the University of Stirling. Here’s a quick round up if you weren’t able to attend.

The day was kick started with a presentation from Aberdeen’s Gavin Levey and Steven Sweeney who talked participants through the relationship between the club, its academy and charity. The successes of their academy were highlighted with participants walked through the ethos and approach to developing young talent.

Steven then spoke about the work of the Community Trust who were recently awarded a European Football Development Award on account of their outstanding dementia friendly programme.

Following a short break, participants heard from Peter Davidson, Chief Executive of Links Park Community Trust who spoke about their activities and recent successes including being named the ‘Best Community Football Club’ at the Scottish FA Grassroots Award.

Peter spoke through how they were able to contribute towards tackling wider community and societial issues using football as a vehicle and their three strands of development: sport, education and healthcare.

Peter shared a recent quote from Montrose FC’s Chairman :

“Links Park Community Trust have challenged us (the club) to ask instead what we as a club can do to support the lives of those in the community”

A great quote and one which leaves us asking, how many other clubs genuinely think about what they can do to support their communities (and fans). This is supported and reaffirmed by Trust’s strapline reading “Life Is Not A Spectator Sport“.

With several clubs interested in growing their community activities, there was a good follow up discussion around how to benefit from council and local authority support by helping tackle community needs through partnerships.

With a lunch break inbetween, participants were treated to a Communications workshop from the Scottish FA’s Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications, Greig Mailer. Greig had previously worked with Hibernian FC, UEFA and the Commonwealth Games and was able to offer advice to clubs on sending the right messages.

The session focused on how clubs communicate both internally to players, coaches, members and how they portray themselves to the wider world. He shared his experiences of working with clubs, governing bodies and discussed best practice of how clubs can share their vision.

It was an excellent presentation emphasising some of Simon Shinek’s ‘Start With Why’ philosophy. We did a blog referencing the Start with Why idea back in April this year titled ‘Create Fans, Not Customers’ which you can catch up with here.

All in all, a very beneficial event and well done to the Scottish FA on pulling it together. A great opportunity for clubs to be able to share best practice and hear from some thought leaders within the sector.

FUNDING: Jewson’s Building Better Communities

Jewson’s have put £250,000 up for grabs to help transform local communities.

In 2016 they gave away £250,000 to buildings that really make a difference in communities and you can nominate a project for this year’s fund before Friday 5th May.

The prize fund is open to applications to help with renovations large or small.

Sport clubs/pitches/hubs can be assets of community value which enable positive social exchanges possible and plenty of clubs benefitted from funding through the Jewson’s Building Better Communities last year.

These include:

Most of these clubs benefitted from between £2000 to £3000 funding for renovations and developments.

Find out more and nominate your club here.


You Can’t Improve What You Don’t Measure – Social Return on Investment

‘It is better to be roughly right than precisely wrong.’ – John Maynard Keynes
Last year, I attended a two day training course on ‘Social Return on Investment’ (SROI). SROI is a process through which you can determine an approximate (this is important to note) financial value of the social and community work delivered relative to resources you’ve invested (often money).
The process through which a number is determined is somewhat complex and is based on a number of factors including how you rank values such as dignity, confidence and social cohesion against items which have a monetary value.
I will have been the bug bear of the class with the amount of questions I had about the process. Indeed, it is a difficult concept to get your head around when you’ve only worked with hard numbers and facts (such as we – OK, maybe just me – have become trained to do through funders’ requirements) especially when assumptions have to be made within the process.
Sure enough, each participant worked through the calculations and arrived at a monetary value for the outputs the activities had produced, which could then be compared against the cost of the financial input. See below for a sport related example which looks at the role of sport in creating change:
As the diagram shows – for every £1 invested, the programme was paying out £1.91 in ‘social value’.
Further more, the report stated:
“Sport and exercise prevent or reduce physical and mental health problems and save on health care costs. Furthermore, it found evidence that sports participation improves pro-social behaviour and reduces crime and anti-social behaviour, particularly for young men; promotes bonding social capital and collective action, particularly volunteering; and has a positive effect on educational outcomes, including psychological and cognitive benefits and educational attainment. There is also evidence of a positive relationship between sport participation and subjective wellbeing i.e. life satisfaction or happiness for individuals.”
These outputs have been reflected within the end number through the contribution and savings made on healthcare treatment through increased physical activity and social inclusion.
With the rise of ‘sport for change’ (see the next blog on Club Development for more) and with clubs across Scotland capable of contributing towards some of Scotland’s biggest societial issues (particularly around healthcare), clubs may wish to closer examine their role and impact within their communities through the production of such a report.
It’s worth noting that SROI is not the only form of social reporting, nor is it perfect. The end number can always be debated in some form (especially on account of the assumptions that will have be made by the reporter and there will a lack of consistency across every report in how the end number was calculated) and the amount of time required by a member of staff to gather and analyse the required impact data can feel prohibitive.  However, that said, one phrase from the training session has stuck with me and ultimately inspired me to write this blog:
“It is better to be roughly right than exactly wrong”.
Despite its imperfections, the more we know – the more we can improve. The process doesn’t just help organisations understand their benefit, but also whether there is any displacement or unintended consequences arising through their activities while further connecting and increasing the engagement between deliverer and service user.
We’re keen to support clubs through what can be a complicated process and are looking to undertake a couple of case studies with clubs that are delivering grassroots community led work. If you’d like to benefit from some free professional support through this, please do contact us at Club Development Scotland. 
By Andrew Jenkin
Head of Club Development Scotland