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Steve Williams
Watford FC Community Sport
and Education Trust
Vicarage Road Stadium
Vicarage Road

Vouchers helped charity shape fundraising messages

With the Government Voucher scheme, you are buying an expert’s time. Steve Williams - Watford Football Club Community Sport and Education Trust

Watford FC Community Sports and Education Trust, a charity with an annual turnover of £1.5m a year, needed to engage with more businesses to support its community activities. Because it is a not-for-profit organisation with minimal reserves and staff, it couldn’t afford to employ a marketing professional full-time. So it turned to the Growth Voucher scheme that allowed it to buy the time of a PR and marketing consultant to work with its staff. She is showing them how to shape their messages and make their letters, public relations and fund-raising material effective to stand out from other charities.

Steve Williams, head of facilities and inclusion for the charity that organises sports, leisure and community activities for people aged from five to 92, said: “We need help in how to present ourselves, which would then gain maximum effect both locally and nationally. “Although we are a charity, there are probably many other charities each time knocking on the same doors, so we need guidance on how to make us stand out from the rest. We need to understand what we are dealing with and how to get our message across effectively.”

He chose Rachael Bean, of Solution Factors Ltd, who has more than 20 years’ experience working in sport and leisure and with local authorities. “We wanted an external consultant’s practical knowledge of marketing, rather than just what you can read in a book or on web sites for yourself.”

As well as its base at the football stadium at Vicarage Road serving the Hertfordshire activities, the charity also operates in the London Boroughs of Harrow and Hillingdon taking on the running of two community centres, the newly built Cedars Centre in Harrow Weald and at the Meriden Centre in north Watford.

The scheme was easy to apply for. “I have already recommended the scheme to my former line manager who has moved to Burnley FC, heading up their community scheme. With the Government Voucher scheme, you are buying an expert’s time who with the right input from the user can become very aware of what their needs are. The benefits of the scheme are already taking effect for us!”

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