Sponsorship is crucial to keeping community sports alive. But traditionally, collecting payments from brands and sponsors has been unreliable, clunky, time-consuming and slow.
At the same time, more families are struggling to navigate the rising cost of youth sports. With inflation climbing sky-high, many households are having to prioritise daily essentials (like putting food on the table) over sporting club fees.
But what if there was a simple, flexible and streamlined way to get funds into sporting clubs and leagues across the country? What if there was a solution that worked for everyone, from players to parents as well as club volunteers.
Enter Clubfunders, the game-changing platform shaking up the world of sports sponsorship payments. By creating a one-stop shop for families, athletes, clubs, and sponsors, they’ve made it easy to manage sponsorships, memberships, and player payments all in one place.
We recently had the opportunity to chat with Blake Lawrence from Clubfunders to discuss their innovative approach to sports sponsorship banking and how it’s helping Aussie communities.
What is Clubfunders?
Clubfunders has revolutionised the world of sports payments by providing a platform that enables sporting clubs and leagues to manage all their sponsorship, membership, and player payments in a single, convenient location.
What truly sets Clubfunders apart is its flexibility and versatility.
Clubfunders helps to provide payment options for families struggling to cover the cost of their kid’s player fees.
Blake is on a mission to even the playing field for everyone. This means enabling female athletes to score the same sponsorship funds and deals as male athletes, while giving brands and partners the ability to tap into sporting club audiences at all levels.
Whether it’s getting kids from all backgrounds on the field or addressing the gender pay gap in sports, Clubfunders aims to make sports accessible again.
The Clubfunders’ founder story
Clubfunders’ Founder Blake (a second-time founder and father of two boys) has always had a deep passion for all things sport.
After growing up in Kalgoorlie, Blake experienced firsthand the power local sporting leagues have in bringing Aussie communities together. “It doesn’t matter what religion, race, age, or gender you are. The power of sport is, immeasurable.”
During the pandemic Blake, “saw a lot of reports about community sports clubs struggling and the cost of youth sport had been increasing significantly,” – something he had experienced first-hand while growing up in the 90s.
He knew he wanted to do something to help solve the problem and get kids back on the field. And the fastest way to do that was to get funds into the bank accounts of local sporting clubs.
Tackling challenges faced by clubs and communities
Blake is particularly passionate about driving change in two key areas: supporting parents in funding their children’s club fees and addressing the gender gap in sports.
Reducing the high cost of youth sports
Studies have shown that the average amount parents spend on sporting activities per child per year is $970. This can limit access to sports for children from low-income families and leave parents with a tricky decision to make.
As one of five boys raised by a single mother, Blake understands just how difficult these choices can be, having a lasting impact on families and the wider community. This is what lit the spark for Blake to found Clubfunders. It provides an opportunity for the wider Aussie community to get behind kids in sports.
Using the Clubfunders app, friends, family members and businesses can sponsor a club or player, whether that’s by making one-off sponsorship payment or rounding up a percentage of everyday purchases (whether that’s buying groceries, filling up fuel or purchasing a coffee).
The ultimate goal is clear: to get kids on the field, for free.
Addressing gender pay gaps in sport
The latest stats tell it all: on average, female athletes earn $24,752 less than male athletes each year.
In Australia, the gender pay gap also affects sponsorship and media rights deals, with female athletes receiving significantly less salary or prize money than their male counterparts.
Achieving parity in compensation and opportunities is crucial for ensuring that female athletes receive the same recognition, support, and opportunities as their male counterparts.
With Clubfunders, female athletes are able to increase their exposure and earning potential, paving the way for higher salaries and the ability to earn an income from a range of sponsors.
Keeping Aussies in the game
Sponsorship allows clubs to cover necessary costs such as equipment, facilities, and coaching, which would otherwise be tough to afford.
Without sponsorship funding, these costs are passed onto players and their families (meaning membership fees are likely to climb).
Clubfunders allows anyone to become a sponsor, with individuals able to make payments from their everyday transactions. This creates a form of sponsorship that offers a consistent source of sponsorship funding to players and clubs that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
Supporting communities and grassroots sports
Clubfunders helps to democratise the sponsorship process and make it accessible to everyone. Not only does this keep the community spirit alive, but it also means that the clubs no longer have to rely on large lump-sum donations from local businesses, government grants and or larger organisations.
“When it comes to grassroots sports, which is the backbone of every community, instead of placing the challenges of finding sponsorships on the volunteers, they now have a streamlined way to do that. A family member or a friend can sponsor the club if they like. Even if its small, it all adds up to the larger goal and keeping that sporting club alive.”
Clubfunders is levelling the playing field for grassroots and community sports, making it easier for everyone to get involved and keep these vital clubs alive.
Helping kids who want to get on the field
Blake has fond memories of playing sports with his siblings and in local sporting groups during his childhood in regional Western Australia.
“From a young age, sports have played a significant role in my life and have taught me valuable lessons such as teamwork, discipline, and resilience.”
But with the constant reports of struggling clubs, Blake realized the importance of keeping kids active and involved in community sports. Clubfunders helps families with flexible ways to pay player membership fees, making it more affordable for kids to participate in local clubs.
Offering innovation opportunities for brands and businesses
Sponsoring clubs and leagues can be a challenging task for brands and businesses, as they often expect a return on investment that can be hard to achieve and measure.
Clubfunders provides an innovative solution to sports sponsorship by directing a portion of every customer transaction towards sponsored teams and athletes. Through this, Clubfunders helps to increase participation, build brand awareness, and support the financial sustainability of the sports industry.
This approach not only benefits the fans but also gives businesses the freedom to stop worrying about lengthy contracts, upfront costs and instead receive a real return on investment.
With Clubfunders, clubs can focus on developing their players and facilities without the limitations and stress of fundraising or looking for sponsors season after season. It’s a mutually beneficial situation that ensures the continuity and growth of local sports clubs.
Removing the barriers of geography
With Clubfunders, sponsorship for local and professional clubs can now come from anywhere across the globe. It gives everyone an opportunity to participate on a community or professional level, even if you don’t live in the area.
“We may have a Gold Coast Suns fan or brand in New York that wants to sponsor and or transact with the club and they’re able to do that now.”
This creates a global community of fans and supporters, all connected through their love of sports and fire to support local clubs.
How Open Banking is supporting the dream
Blake has always been at the forefront of innovative tech like open banking, so teaming up with Basiq was an easy decision.
“As open banking is still a relatively new technology in Australia, we wanted to collaborate with an early innovator in the space who could help us grow our business and connect us with over 100 financial institutions. Basiq’s ability to swiftly innovate with us and provide excellent customer support was a key factor in our decision-making process.”
And Blake loved the idea of using an Aussie-borne start-up, just like Clubfunders. With seamless tech and a hands-on approach, Blake values Basiq’s personal and professional touch.
“With this technology you come onto our platform, you connect your bank account and you’re away and running. Then you can start seeing those transactions come through from other fans, members, brands, and companies.”
What’s next for Clubfunders?
Blake and his team are gearing up for a big year ahead with further innovative product releases imminent. Australia is first then the rest of the world with plans in motion for their international launch, an international office in the US and scaling up in overseas markets.
He is also looking to strengthen and further establish big partnerships with national partners in Australia and the US.
While expanding overseas and opening a further location in the US is a major goal for Blake and his team, he hasn’t forgotten about his roots in Australia. He is passionate about helping grassroots sporting clubs and getting kids involved in sports. He sees his platform as a way to support all clubs and help them thrive.
“It’s all about for us is just helping grassroots sporting clubs, getting kids playing sport, and making sure it’s more affordable than ever before,” Blake shares.
Find out more about the Clubfunders app and discover how they’re streamlining sponsorships to help level the playing field.
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