Community sports clubs are facing serious concerns around financial instability, declining participation and declining volunteering according to research from the Australian Sports Foundation (ASF).
The ASF conducted a second national research study to help determine the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on community sport.
The ASF has launched the Back to Sport Fund to provide an avenue for tax deductible donations for all sport fans to support community sports recovery from COVID-19.
Following the first study in May 2020, the ASF sought to understand how clubs were faring 12 months on from the start of the pandemic.
It found community sports clubs have little in the way of financial reserves to weather unexpected financial pressure due to COVID-19.
Thirteen per cent of clubs reported concerns around financial solvency indicating that around 9,000 clubs all over Australia were at risk of going under.
Nearly 83 per cent of respondents reported lost revenue, with an average decline of $18,500 and almost every revenue stream affected particularly sponsorships, fundraising and membership income.
The most common increased costs included new hygiene measures and extra equipment due to COVID-19 protocols, member refunds (due to shortened or abandoned seasons) and overheads, such as insurance which increased despite a reduction in playing and participation.
Clubs frequently mentioned offering free or subsidised memberships to their communities as a way of keeping families engaged and offering mental health support to their members.
The ASF highlighted ways everyone could support community support: get a local sports club to create a fundraising project on the ASF website to enable ongoing fundraising throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond; make a tax-deductible donation to your local club via their fundraising project page; and donate to the Australian Sports Foundation Back to Sport Fund to support community sport’s recovery from COVID-19.
Money donated will be allocated to community sports clubs via the Back to Sport fund grants to support them through this crisis and to help grow participation in their communities.
Donations to the Back to Sport Fund can be made here https://recovery.sportsfoundation.org.au/donate-to-covid/
“While different levels of government have stepped in to provide some support to the sector, responses showed that this had only covered less than a third of the revenue shortfall, indicating much more support will be needed in the months ahead.
To solve a problem of this scale requires a collaborative approach, so we are calling on all who care about the role of sport in creating healthy, inclusive communities to help us fund grassroots sport’s recovery,” said Australian Sports Foundation CEO Patrick Walker.
Media release, Sep 21
Australian Sports Foundation