LF has resisted premature expansion and focused on standardizing to our methodology and operations in Guatemala, to allow for more efficient scale. Our Operations Team in Washington, DC and Guatemala are streamlining the LF Rep Guide – our step-by-step operations manual for LF Reps to efficiently execute projects, regardless of location. Our Operations Team works with KaBOOM!, which has catalyzed thousands of community-driven playground construction projects throughout the US. Together we leverage best practices, enhance our empowerment methodologies and operations manuals. We are working with a World Bank specialist to design a robust impact evaluation of our work on community happiness, educational attainment, income level and female empowerment.
Our long-term strategy for financial sustainability lies across four diversified pillars: 1) traditional philanthropy, 2) grassroots campaign, LF for All, 3) cause-marketing partnership with a corporate partner, and 4) earned-income. Since 2007, LF has won the opportunity to work with four teams of volunteer student consultants at Harvard Business School that have developed strategies for each of these pillars.
The finalized LF Rep Guide will be the basis for LF to hire, train and manage natural soccer leaders – LF Reps – and to catalyze and streamline community-driven soccer field projects internationally. Standardizing our methodology will result in maximized community contribution, reduced per project cost, greater local ownership and increased assurance of future sustainability.
Our impact evaluation will establish LF as a low-cost, high-impact development model through empirical evidence, positioning LF for government, IGO and other large grants.
Through our diversified financial sustainability strategy we will achieve: strong base of philanthropic support from individuals and foundations; viral grassroots movement for and by the global passion-for-soccer community to provide right to the game for all youth; cause-marketing relationship with well-aligned corporate partner to create growth and marketing synergies, benefits to sales and HR development, and; earned-income model to generate revenue advertising on our pitches and merchandising revenue through leveraging our distinctive brand to sell “love and beauty of the game.”
What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.
Launch LF for All, our grassroots movement successfully piloted in spring, 2010 with Real Bethesda, a U-16 girls soccer team from Maryland that actively fundraised to supply all raw materials for our sixth project in Xejuyú, Guatemala. In 2010 and 2011 we expect to hire staff to spearhead program and empower upwards of five new youth teams in the US to provide the right to play to youth in LF communities in Guatemala. We expect LF for All growth to be viral, to invest in the program heavily and for LF for All youth teams to fully fund the raw materials for every LF project in the future.
Initiate cause-marketing relationship with corporate partner to demonstrate efficacy of programs in Guatemala and Brazil in 2011. In 2012 and 2013, work toward a more dynamic relationship to integrate marketing and growth strategies for both parties, in addition to marketing campaigns to boost sales, enhance branding and opportunities for involvement of company personnel to enhance loyalty and decrease employee turnover. Leverage spotlight of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil to highlight partnership, demonstrate dedication of corporate brand “true to the game is providing the opportunity to play.”
Finalize Guatemala national operations and the LF Rep Guide in 2010 and LF Rep training program in 2011 in Brazil. Develop job descriptions for all position within development team – LF Rep, LF National Director, LF Correspondent.
Top goal: Hire members from our team of dedicated volunteers full-time.
What would prevent your project from being a success?
Our biggest challenge is financing. We have a distinctive idea – proven and enhanced. We have forgone short-term gains for long-term sustainability by refusing to follow traditional “non-profit” fundraising strategies (ie. build a field, fundraise, build a field, fundraise). Our vision is to meet a global demand and we have gone to great lengths to design a scalable, sustainable organization. We have demonstrated our ability to execute on a shoe string budget and have invested in sustainable, steady streams of income that may take longer to pick up steam versus short-term, one-time support and high-investment, low-return philanthropy. We have a large team of dedicated, passionate individuals that have become experts in their positions. With an injection of seed capital, we will invest first in our personnel, which will yield great returns.
The main challenge is remaining committed to our vision and principles under typical conditions in our sector – being an under resourced, start-up social enterprise.
With regard to our operations model, travel for LF Reps and adapting out model to the urban demographic are two of our greatest challenges.