How to... generate an income from your facility

Facility hire and events

Club facilities vary greatly and individual clubs will need to decide if there is a realistic opportunity to hire them out to businesses, community groups, to individuals for parties or indeed to run events in.

Facility Hire

Clubs that have appropriate facilities and that are successful in hiring them out start by analysing what it is that the potential customer wants or needs and then creating marketing collateral that tells the potential customer that the club has what they want or need!

Example one - What does a business usually want from a venue for meetings or training?

• Plenty of parking
• Comfortable surroundings
• Food
• Quiet environment
• Easy to deal with
• Wi-Fi

Example two - What do people usually want from a party venue?

• Easy to find
• Plenty of parking – if it is central and they can walk to it, even better
• Comfortable surroundings
• Good food
• Easy to deal with

To be successful in selling these facilities to different types of customer the club has it will need to:

1) create marketing materials that promote the fact that the club has what the individual customer is looking for

2) create an active sales campaign that will be distributed to all potential customers

If the club is trying to target businesses, then they will need to build up a data base of local businesses, telephone them to ask them who is the relevant person within the business who makes the bookings for meetings or events and then send them the marketing material.

If they are trying to promote the facilities to individuals within their community then they will need to:

a) promote via their data bases and social media

b) promote their facilities in the local press

Case Study - Stanningley ARLFC

When Stanningley RLFC planned their new club house they included a function room which is now responsible for generating a huge percentage of the income which is required to fund the club.

This attractive and well-appointed facility is used by individuals within the local communities for birthday parties, 21st celebrations, wedding receptions, Christenings and Funerals.

In fact most Friday and Saturday nights are booked out during the year and the club has difficulties in finding a weekend night for presentation evenings.

The club house is also used during the week by a range of businesses from across the City, including the NHS. They have projectors and screens in two rooms, combined with plenty of parking, an attractive venue and competitive prices it is a sought after facility.

However, the club has also worked to improve the outdoor facilities, a children’s play area attracts families to the club and the quality pitch attracts representative games as well as the Leeds Rhinos academy matches.

In summary, Stanningley RLFC has had the 'vision' to develop an attractive facility which not only serves the players and social members but which

  • can be used to generate an income to support the rugby
  • attracts families
  • attracts representative games

Running Events


Events are very useful activities for clubs as they attract

  • individuals and families to take part who are involved with the club
  • or who are not involved with the club but who live in the community

A wide range of events can be organised by the club which can achieve a range of outcomes, including:

  • Building the club's brand in the community
  • Building the club's reputation within the community 
  • Attracting new 'customers'
  • Generating income
  • Having a social occasion for club members and participants

Clubs need to decide why their events are being run (there may be more than one reason and it might not always to be to generate funds) and to plan and deliver them well.

Planning an Event
To run an event well which delivers the outcomes you set out to achieve, takes a huge amount of planning and commitment. It is therefore important that the club decides to only run one or two events each year and runs them well.
There are four phases of planning an event and they are outlined below;

  • Define the event  what are its objective, what is the vision that the stakeholders have, what is the budget and the pricing structure of event.
  • Marketing the event - Who wants the tickets and why, how to contact these individuals, which marketing material to use and how this links into media plan.
  • Operational plan - preparation of the venue and the staff, development of a customer experience and delivery on the day.
  • Review - what went well and what didn't.

Whilst all aspects of the event are important perhaps the most important aspect is the selling of the tickets.

Firstly you need to know who you are attracting to the event and why they would come.

Is it for entertainment?

If so, what are they expecting to see/take part in?

Once you know the type of person that you are going to attract you need to create marketing material that tells them why they should come, how it fulfils their "wants and needs" and influences them to buy a ticket.

You will also need to know which marketing channel (email, social media, posters, website etc.) you can use to contact them. 

The selling needs to be active with all club members playing a role in promoting the event.

It goes without saying that the experience needs to be good if you expect people to come back again! Finally, don't forget to collect the data from the individuals who but tickets.

This will make the selling of the event next year much easier.

Examples of Events...

A range of examples are outlined below:

White Collar Boxing

There are companies that will come in and organise this event for the clubs including the training for the participants. Where it can attract a wide audience is when the participants are from different clubs.

Scrap metal collection weekend

This will need to be run in partnership with a reputable dealer.

The idea is that the club asks for the community to donate any waste metal it has lying around and the club also volunteers to pick it up. The activity takes place over a weekend.

Furniture Auction

The community are asked to donate any furniture and household goods that they have finished with.

They are collected by the club on a Friday/Saturday and, on the Sunday, an auction is promoted across the community.

This is a fundraising event. Some clubs are doing the same with clothes and are working in partnerships with local Charity shops.

This provides the club with a positive reputation outcome as well as an income.

Disco for under 14/15s

There are very few discos run for this age group.

If you do decide to run one of these, then the stewarding needs to be very tight.

Sligo RFC runs eight discos a year at their club house to generate income and to attract young people to the club.

Wine and Art Evening

The 'wine and art' evening is usually run in one of the local hotels.

Regional artists are invited to exhibit their paintings, and if any are sold, they give a percentage to the fund.

The wine is donated and therefore once the entry fee of £15 is paid, the wine is free to all present.

There is also an auction of donated paintings from well-known regional artists with the proceeds going to a local Charity.

Because they benefit from it, the Charity promotes the event through their database.

Christmas Fair

Before you decide to run a Christmas fair, check that the date you have chosen doesn't already have a Christmas event on it.

You will be able to charge for the stalls to be there and/or take a percentage of their takings.

The marketing needs to cover all of the community and you can generate further income through food, visits to Santa and Christmas raffles.

Ladies lunch

Agood venue, food and drink with a good host are the ingredients for this lunch.

It is a great opportunity for all of the ladies involved with the club to get together for a social event but it can be more.

It can be a fundraiser but can also be used to promote the club and to attract new people to the club.

"Take me Out"

One of the most successful events I have seen was the "Take me Out" evening which was run by the Ladies team at Sligo RFC.

The Club copied the TV programme with local girls and boys being involved.

They had the videos sponsored, the hair and makeup sponsored and the printing sponsored.

Over 500 tickets were sold (many through social media), there was an after event party in a local pub (tickets were also sold for this) and the event was a huge success for income, brand, databases and reputation.

Beer Festival

Over one weekend during the summer at Perthshire RFC, a large marquee was erected adjacent to the pitches and the activities attracted over 2,000 people to the club

On the Saturday, on the pitch, there was a 7’s Tournament and a Golden Oldies Tournament.

During the day there was a Beer Festival in the marquee with local bands playing. At night there was a formal event which 300 people attended last year. On the Sunday there was a mini rugby festival and a BBQ.

There were 35 guest beers available, each one of which has been sponsored by a local business. The result was that not only was a substantial amount of income generated for the club but also a huge number of people from the local community were introduced to the club for the first time.