BEST COVID 19 RESPONSE BY A CLUB
Aberdeen Football Club – #StillStandingFree
Aberdeen FC has been at the heart of the community for over 100 years and when Scotland
descended into lockdown in March 2020, the Club and AFC Community Trust (AFCCT) marshalled forces to provide support to fans and the wider community in the region during a time of great uncertainty.
#StillStandingFree was created to provide information to and engage with people, particularly those in isolation, and offer practical support to those in need.
The core focus was to make food deliveries to areas already involved with the Club to reduce food poverty and support children during school closures. In total, the campaign supported 15,800 people including more than 9,000 children.
A virtual call centre was set up to provide a social lifeline to elderly and vulnerable fans. Growing in scope this expanded to provide support to the wider fan base with over 20,000 wellbeing calls made.
Throughout the campaign, Club and Trust staff, players and former players, fans and volunteers worked tirelessly to achieve the objectives and to provide support to those most in need.
AFC’s response to the COVID‐19 pandemic was one of solidarity and support, with a plan which provided practical support bringing the Club and community together.
Everton Football Club
In response to COVID-19, Everton immediately put in place a multi-channel communications campaign for fans, staff, Everton in the Community (EitC) participants and community stakeholders, sharing public health messaging (in partnership with NHS, Public Health England and Liverpool City Council), health and wellbeing tips, educational and feel-good content, truly living up to its name as The People’s Club During the initial months of the pandemic, the Club adapted its digital strategy to provide tailored educational resources, entertainment and public health information, reaching more than 24 5 million people in the first four weeks (mid-March – mid-April 2020) Engagement was also at the heart of all communications, with the Club and its official charity (EitC) listening to fans’ needs to curate content and inform the wider Club response Members of the community in need were encouraged to request support from the Club’s Blue Family campaign, the first targeted campaign set up by a football club to support its community through the crisis Supported by Club and charity staff, Everton’s men and women’s players joined Ambassadors, the Club’s Chairman and CEO, and other staff to make more than 28,950 check-in phone calls to those in social isolation, and fans around the world.
Eighteen months ago rugby – and the world – ground to a halt. The Premiership was postponed and players stopped training. The women’s season was cancelled.
Our core offering – and means of connecting with supporters – was stopped almost overnight.
We moved quickly and our extensive efforts to engage supporters laid the foundations for record-breaking digital results.
Since March 2020 our social media following has increased by 23 per cent.
From July 2020, when training resumed, to June 2021, when the season ended, we added more followers and generated more engagements than any other team in the league.
In the same period our social media video views and impressions increased by 67 per cent and 36 per cent respectively compared to the previous 12 months.
Season Ticket renewals have increased 29 per cent and look set to hit a record high.
Our digital efforts returned tens of thousands of net sponsorship value that was undeliverable due to Covid.
Harlequins Live, our new matchday show, has been viewed 1.6m times and is now our most valuable digital asset.
Said one fan: “You really have been on fire since the first lock down. Loving your work.”
Manchester City Football Club
Since the pandemic began and in an unprecedented year for sport, Manchester City recognised the important role it had to play in supporting communities locally and globally. A football club is about more than what happens on the pitch and using the power of football, the Club focused on the positive impact it can make within its community, both in terms of emergency response and recovery.
City launched a number of initiatives to keep communities locally and globally engaged, in addition to playing a role in the wider community recovery effort, working with various stakeholders and other organisations to do so.
The Etihad Stadium and Campus were no longer being utilised for their primary purpose but could benefit the city of Manchester at a time when it needed it most and the Club provided facilities to the NHS and other organisations to help, some of which are still operating at present including Greater Manchester’s vaccination centre.
Through thousands of phone calls made to fans from players and staff, donations of food, basic necessities and technology bundles, the Club was also able to help ease some of the issues facing families in our local community.
Rangers Charity Foundation
The Rangers Charity Foundation is the official charity of Rangers Football Club and exists to be a force for good on behalf of the Rangers Family, showing compassion to those in need, tackling inequalities and creating opportunities for people of all ages to change their lives for the better.
The Rangers Charity Foundation’s Annual Charity Ball is our single largest fundraising event of the year. In the midst of an ongoing pandemic and suspension of these types of events, we faced a significant shortfall together with the associated risk to our charitable activities and financial sustainability.
However, we were determined to be solution focused, to think creatively, overcome technical challenges and develop a special live online event in the hope that our supporters would engage with this new format and our special cause.
Our event, called Simply The Best Night In, raised £58,465, which far exceeded our expectations!
Such an incredible fundraising outcome also generated significant online support in celebration of our work and made supporters feel very proud of the Foundation’s work.
The funds raised enabled the Foundation and it’s planned activities to remain financially sustainable for the medium term in what continued to be a very uncertain period.
Southampton Football Club and Saints Foundation – Saints as One
In March 2020, Southampton Football Club and its charity Saints Foundation, came together to launch Saints As One in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Saints As One was an outreach and engagement project which set out to educate, entertain, support and unite local people, fans and our existing participants, many of whom found themselves increasingly isolated and vulnerable due to the effects of Covid-19.
Just some of what was achieved included:
– 13,000 freshly cooked meals distributed to vulnerable people across the city in partnership with food charity FareShare
– 1,500 volunteering hours from club and Foundation staff at FareShare’s distribution centres
– 2,039 prescriptions to 1,288 shielding patients from 42 different pharmacies across the city, 80% of whom were aged 60+
– More than 85,000 minutes of welfare or mentoring calls were made
– Over 1,000 bespoke and age appropriate exercise manuals hand delivered to older people across the city
– 5,000 face masks and over 9,000 units of food and drink donated to Solent NHS Trust
– Over £100,000 raised to support the work of multiple charities missing out on vital fundraising opportunities
– Donated £10,000 worth of new toys to Southampton City Council”s Christmas Toy Appeal.