Supporters DirectAuthor: Brian Duncan Date: Wednesday, 11th Feb 2004
We have received some words of advice from James Proctor of the Supporters Direct organisation.
The Supporters Trust throughout the country have been helped to get started by Supporters Direct and James is the full-time Development Officer. This message was posted on the message board, but I feel it is extremely important to share with everyone.
I`d strongly recommend that we take James`s advice. At present we do not know what the situation is, we would all like to know, but I guess it is best until the club have sorted it out themselves (although it would help if they made some statemements - to prevent the Rumour Mill going into overdrive). They do know that there are thousands of (very eager) fans just waiting to help in the sidelines.
I`ve been watching this and other fundraising threads develop and as much as I`d prefer to stay out of the discussion I feel that I have some practical experience that might help you make an informed decision.
For those of you who don`t know me I`m the full-time Development Officerfor Supporters Direct. My job is to help groups of fans start and run Supporters` Trusts and in the current climate that means that I`m involved in fundraising efforts.
It`s imperative that you have some organisation to your fundraising efforts. I read the reply from the Dee4Life people and while it gave an excellent summary of what they`ve done it necessarily left out some important details.
First of all the Dee4Life campaign took a couple of weeks of planning to really get going. They were critisized by people for not acting quickly enough but as you can see their magnificent efforts in raising over £100k in such a short space of time proves they were right to take some time to plan things.
If you are going to raise a significant amount of money you are going to have to keep fundraising over a prolonged period of time. Therefore you cannot afford to have multiple groups trying to organise events and you can`t afford to have even the faintest perception of financial impropriety no matter how undeserved.
Despite the many people who contribute or read message boards like this it still only represents a fraction of your home support. Without forwarning the home fans through the wider media you will end up with a lot of people
wondering what is happening. All it takes is one fan to kick up a fuss about where the money is going and you`ll have a rumour that seriously impacts your ability to raise money from the wider community in the future. You can`t afford to take this risk at the moment.
Unfortunately we have learned these lessons from bitter experience at other clubs and they are lessons we do not want any group of supporters to have to learn first hand.
Wee Par, your commitment to your club and to the cause does you great credit. If the rest of the support have even an ounce of your enthusiasm then I have no fears over the future of your club. I would respectfully suggest that you hold fire on the collection just now but that you ensure
that when the time comes you are involved.
Get access to a bank account with multiple signatories, get the clubs permission to fundraise in and aroung the stadium in the future and take a deep breath and start making your plans. Remember, whether we like it or not, there are rules and regulations about taking money from people on the street - that`s why the majority of charity collectors use sealed collection tins and carry ID.
I sincerely hope you don`t need to put the full plan into action and that the clubs financial position eases. But at least by taking a few days to organise yourselves you`ll be properly prepared if it does.
All the best,
Supporters Direct in Scotland
Community is our bottom line