Community Schemes and their relationship with Fan Engagement
- Community schemes, though important and very valuable to a club, are not Fan Engagement
- Ensuring you’ve identified who your stakeholders are is a vital part of getting the approach right when it comes to Fan Engagement versus who benefits from good community schemes
Community schemes are important facets of a football club, and something almost every club at every level does to some extent.
In fact, community schemes have in many ways become vehicles for local government, health, other statutory (government) and non-statutory (charity 0r third sector partners) services to be delivered, or their messages promoted (e.g.: healthy lifestyle, reading).
Community schemes are not simply a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) function for clubs, but established, charitable organisations in their own right. This is the case for the top-four divisions of English football, whose community schemes are all separate, registered charities, although club officials are usually also trustees, to help maintain the link.
Such schemes can be a very useful way for clubs to integrate themselves into communities, particularly difficult to reach ones. However, although what the schemes do is undoubtedly valuable in terms of stakeholder engagement, it shouldn’t really be seen as a piece of Fan Engagement work.
There can of course be overlap, because some/many users and stakeholders the schemes will come into contact with will be fans of the club. Also, it’s important for all stakeholder engagement work – whether through community schemes or Fan Engagement programmes – to be part of a strategic approach to stakeholder engagement, even if the two organisations are actually separate.
But don’t mistake one for the other!
Read more about how to work out who your stakeholders are.