'Urgent need' for advocacy, claims report

There is an “urgent need to demonstrate and advocate for the importance of Sport for Development in the pandemic recovery”, according to one of the contributing authors of a report on the impact of Covid-19 on fundraising in the sector.

The 2020 State of the Sector report is based on findings from more than 100 organisations across the world. It was initiated by Oaks Consultancy and supported by Laureus Sport for Good, the International Platform on Sport and Development and Streetfootballworld.

The report reveals that 21% of survey respondents indicated a lack of confidence that they will survive the pandemic. Other findings include:  

     - 60% of respondents forecast a reduction in income this year compared to the previous full financial year.

     - 82.5% of respondents who are forecasting a reduction in income this year expect either stagnation or further reductions next year.

     - 85.7% of respondents who experienced a reduction in income this year cited the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting fundraising activity as a primary factor.

Paul Hunt, from the International Platform on Sport and Development (sportanddev.org), commented: “The findings in this report show that the outlook for Sport for Development organisations is now very challenging. Many will experience a loss in their income, and some may not survive. There is a risk that gains made since the turn of the century will be lost.

“This highlights an urgent need to demonstrate and advocate for the importance of Sport for Development in the pandemic recovery. That is not only in the interests of organisations but also of society.”

Paul added: “The global health crisis is also a mental health crisis, and sport can be extremely important in addressing the symptoms of trauma, depression, anxiety and other issues. The pandemic is also most severely affecting the most vulnerable in our communities, women, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and others, and sport can help to redress these inequalities. While it is no easy task, there are certain opportunities. One effect of lockdowns is that many people now appreciate sport and physical activity more than ever before, as they leave confinement to exercise outdoors or practice physical activity in the home.


“Sport for Development organisations have been adaptable, supporting their communities and moving project activities online. And the sector is unusual in its ability to bring together a wide range of actors from sports federations and governments to universities and UN agencies, which offers opportunities for NGOs to create partnerships. 

“So, although the coming months and years will be difficult, there is room for optimism. Key to ensuring continued investment in Sport for Development will be advocacy, revising business models, building partnerships, and effectively measuring and demonstrating impact.”

Read the report here.