The National Rugby League (NRL) has shared details of its community engagement strategy at an event hosted by Social Ventures Australia (SVA) and the Macquarie Group Foundation.
In 2014, SVA Consulting assisted the NRL in developing a three-year strategy for its community portfolio, including reviewing existing community programs and defining a future road map.
The strategy focussed on three areas to target, identified as fundamental to the NRL's ongoing success. Areas identified included health and wellbeing, social cohesion, and education and skills.
NRL Head of Community Adam Check spoke with SVA's Nick Elliott.
"Community is not just part of the NRL, it is the NRL," Check said.
"As our game continues to grow, so too do our rugby league communities.
"We want to ensure that our community strategy and development across our whole game continues to be meaningful and impactful, and our re-defined areas of focus will help us deliver on this goal."
Shannon Donato, former General Manager of Souths Cares and current Chief Commercial Officer of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, shared how a Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis has helped the club increase its community impact.
"Being able to quantify the value of the work done by Souths Cares reaffirmed, both for players and external stakeholders, the importance and impact of their involvement," Donato said.
"It has helped us attract government and community support to expand some of our programs, as well as to refine the way we operate to increase our effectiveness."
SVA's Nick Elliott also shared his thoughts on the NRL's community strategy.
"The incredible reach and influence the NRL and their clubs have on Australian culture means they are uniquely positioned to influence positive social change," Elliott said.
"Adopting a deliberate community engagement strategy will allow them to take their already strong footprint in the community to the next level, as well as to have a much clearer understanding of the impact they are having."