One of the most challenging aspects of running a grassroots football club these days is the financial side. There are a lot of costs that need to be covered. New kits, pitch rental, league fees and beyond can all make balancing the books a difficult task to say the least.

So any investment that can be found through sponsorship is like gold dust to many clubs. In some cases it can be the difference between another season and folding all together. But in an increasingly uncertain financial climate, convincing a business to part with cash to put towards your football club is easier said than done.

To find out more about the subject of sponsorship we chatted to Lewis Jackson-Silver from King’s Heath Shooters and Chris Ricketts from Redhouse FC. They told us how they found sponsors for their teams, tips for finding funding and what support from local businesses means to them.

Who is your club sponsored by?

KHS: Our Sponsor is Only Jerkin. They are a pioneer in the street food game and a main attraction at Digbeth Dining Club. They have set up in multiple venues in the UK. Selling fried chicken with their own twist.

RFC: Our main sponsor is Hydrate Drinks who are a drinks distribution company. Also, Island Bay who are a brand new hard seltzer, vegan friendly, 0 calorie alcoholic water brand. Away kit and rain jackets are sponsored by Flawless Floors, a local carpet company run by our captain. Vets kit sponsored by Retain Healthcare, another entrepreneur involved in the team.

How did you find your sponsors?

KHS: We found our sponsor through couple of our guys working there. The boys persuaded Only Jerkin to believe in the project we started at Kings Heath Shooters. I believe that we gave them no option but to sponsor us after they saw the work rate we put into the club and our ambition to be different to any other clubs In Birmingham.

RFC: All our sponsors have come through people who are involved in the club or who have a link to the club in some way. Mudassar who runs Hydrate Drinks and Island Bay has played football with myself for over 10 years. He’s always liked following our various social platforms and was keen to be involved as everyone is keen to progress and make this a worthwhile project. Ashley from Flawless Floors has played with us for 4 years now and has been there since day 1 so for him to invest was a no brainer. Dave at Retain Healthcare plays for the Vets.

How important is your sponsor to your club?

KHS: Only Jerkin is massive to our club. They bought into our project and have supported us in many other ways, including discounted food for the team. Digbeth Dining Club on Saturdays after matches has become home for the shooters. Which has helped to build our community and following.

RFC: Massively important. Without them, no semi-decent player wants to come to a club that plays in battered 10 year old kits, socks that don’t stay up, playing with balls chewed by dogs etc. We believe that if you look good, you play good and if the squad turns up looking fresh then the game is won before it’s began.

What is the most difficult thing about finding a sponsor?

KHS: The most difficult thing about finding a sponsor is making them believe in your project. As you can imagine, not a lot of companies want to hand out money to football teams as they don’t see it as beneficial to them.

RFC: For us, we found it pretty straightforward. We have many friends who have done well for themselves in business. Swindon is a good town to be playing football in these days and I believe competition here is very healthy.

What advice would you give to a club looking for a sponsor?

KHS: DON’T STOP! Be aggressive but professional in your approach and show them that your team can also bring something to the sponsor. Whether its through promotion or clientele, you can benefit your sponsor just as much as they benefit you.

RFC: I’d say the first thing is to push improvement on your social media accounts. Look as professional as you possibly can. Someone who runs a company will want to know what exposure they will get out of their investment. Have a clear idea of what the team needs.

What do you look for in a sponsor? Is it purely financial?

KHS: I do not believe a sponsor is just there for financial reasons. They can support your project but you can support their business too. I feel that we secured a sponsor that represents our team and we also represent our sponsor. Sponsors can also open up a new world of networking with other people.

RFC: Not at all. We just aim to make sure the lads have everything they need and look good on the pitch. Weekly running costs like pitches and refs are covered by lads paying their way and any profits get used on new balls, water bottles or used to pay for entertainment at Christmas / End of season parties.

#SupportYourLocalClub

If you’re still struggling to find sponsors or need an alternative source of funding then Kitlocker’s #SupportYourLocalClub scheme is here to help.

We devised #SupportYourLocalClub at the start of the coronavirus lockdown as a way of financially supporting grassroots sport through the challenges of the pandemic.

The concept is simple. We create a platform through which your club can sell branded clothing to supporters and members, with a massive chunk going straight back into the coffers at the end of the month.

To download the info pack and sign up to #SupportYourLocalClub CLICK HERE.

Secured a Sponsor?

Well lucky you!

Shop for your club’s new kit at Kitlocker.com. With huge discounts on the biggest brands like Nike, adidas & Puma, you can make sure every penny stretches as far as possible!

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