The strategic marketing of small sports clubs: from fundraising to social entrepreneurship

Damian Gallagher, Audrey Gilmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates how small sports clubs (SSCs), the foundations for sporting excellence and significant contributors to the social capital of society in the face of continued financial difficulties, can maximise their fundraising activities. A conceptual framework for investigating the traditional fundraising planning process in the unique context of SSCs is developed and a qualitative methodology is utilised via 19 in-depth interviews in Northern Ireland and Germany to test this model. The findings of this study question the applicability of generic fundraising planning processes for SSCs and emphasise the previously under-realised central role that individual personal competencies play and argue for the application and practice of social entrepreneurship in order to ensure the long-term survival of SSCs.This study makes a contribution to the developing literature on sports marketing and to the important issue of strategic fundraising in the context of SSCs. It highlights the informal, ad-hoc nature of fundraising in many SSCs and provides some direction for how they could become more professional in how they fund their activities and plan for the future development of the clubs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-247
JournalJournal of Strategic Marketing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2012


  • SMEs
  • strategic fundraising planning
  • sports marketing
  • social entrepreneurship
  • qualitative research


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