The main recommendations for the successful promotion of a grassroots football programme are as follows:

  • Football must be accessible to all, without discrimination on the basis of gender, race or social status. Anyone who wants to play football must know that it is possible to do so through their school or community, using the facilities available in the country.
  • Trained coach-educators must ensure that the required standards of discipline and behaviour are observed by all. An appropriate psychological approach is needed for the successful development of young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • All children are entitled to education and health services, irrespective of their family’s background and educational history. These are essential considerations that must be taken into account. Young players must be asked about their progress at school, their healthcare arrangements and the involvement of their parents in their everyday life.
  • The development of relationships between children from different cultural, religious and geographical backgrounds must be encouraged in order to reduce the differences between them and increase respect on and off the pitch. The attitude must always be to emphasise fair play when faced with difficult situations on the pitch, when assessing victories and defeats and in order to give a positive slant on, and draw lessons from, all circumstances. 

Marketing and sponsoring

As a grassroots coach-educator, you usually have to perform various roles, not just coaching. Sometimes you have to develop functions as drivers, water boys and equipment monitor. In the same way, a coach-educator must have management skills in order raise funds for the grassroots programme. Therefore, some basic knowledge of marketing and sponsorship could be useful to guarantee the sustainability of a programme.

There are some interesting opportunities to make your grassroots programme self-maintainable. Some are simple strategies, such as asking local shop owners to donate football balls, but there are more complex actions such as proposing corporate sponsorship as the primary source of financing.

Generally speaking, sports events and programmes offer companies endless opportunities to introduce, showcase, differentiate and move products, to reward staff, to entertain current and/or potential clients, to increase media and public exposure, to enhance or change an image, to improve employee morale, and to reach new market segments and distribution channels. 

The first step in securing a sponsor is deciding what your grassroots programme has to offer to a company. What benefi ts can you bring to the table to make your programme look attractive? An example of potential benefi ts are: name and/or logo included in press releases, registration packets, promotional fliers, web sites, banners, volunteer and staff uniforms, booth space for product displays, market research opportunities, access to mailing lists, etc. Be sure that you can deliver on all proposed benefits.

The next step is to make contact with or identify the correct person at each potential company. You must then effi ciently show the company how your opportunity will deliver a performance boost in the sponsorship proposal. It is always a good idea to consider offering the company a discounted fee for signing a long-term agreement and to consider a VIK (value-in-kind) arrangement in which goods or services (e.g. drinks, T-shirts, equipment, marketing) are provided in exchange for sponsorship benefits.

Finally, the most important consideration to remember is that the easiest way to recruit a sponsor is to re-sign an existing one. This will mean that you need to service your sponsors and treat them like your most precious asset. To produce a good programme portfolio, make sure you take photos of the steps taken and keep press releases and documents related to the programme. A good report can guarantee the renovation of the sponsorship. The more they feel as if they have a stake in your grassroots programme, and the more benefi ts they receive, the more likely they will continue to support your programme.