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Running a grassroots rugby club isn’t easy. While player registration fees and the blood, sweat and tears of dedicated volunteers can ease the burden on a tight budget, cash-strapped, community-based clubs often still work tirelessly just to cover the costs of getting their teams on the park each season.But for the past two years, AGL and the NSW Waratahs have been helping rugby clubs across New South Wales fundraise with less of the fuss and Beecroft Rugby Club, in the Sydney suburb of Thornleigh, has been one of the success stories of the program. Counting the costs According to Beecroft Club President Dean Berkhout, competition for sponsorship dollars in grassroots sport has never been tighter, and that’s forcing clubs to rely more heavily on their own fundraising efforts.“It does cost a lot of money to even just run the club. If you’ve got a couple of big sponsors it’s fine, but if you lose a few, you’ve got to really find ways that you can become self-generating,” said Dean.“Our club canteen is a huge one for fundraising at home games, and apart from that, you’ve got guys out there trying to drum up sponsorship. That is quite difficult and not always the most fun thing to do, going around asking people for money. The fundraising side of things can be quite challenging and a little bit stressful.” The power of the program AGL’s Power to Play program helps give players, committee members and supporters more time to focus on what they love most, rugby.How it works is simple. When a fan or supporter switches their energy accounts over to AGL, they can nominate their community-based rugby club to score a donation of up to $150. The more nominations a club drums up, the larger the donation they receive to pay for things like new rugby equipment, fresh sports kits – even training courses for volunteer coaches.Over at Beecroft on the Upper North Shore, they earned $1400 in just one month by encouraging club members and supporters to make the switch to AGL.Dean said it’s been an ideal way for Beecroft to relook at how they went about fundraising, and he’s put their success down to promoting the AGL Power to Play program on Facebook, via email – as well as through a good old fashioned way, word of mouth.“It’s been really worthwhile for the club… we’ve put a bit more focus into it this year and made it a priority. If you can earn $1400 from AGL you’ve almost saved yourself from having to go out and get another sponsor, which does help a lot,” said Dean.To find out more about AGL’s ‘Power to Play’ program visit agl.com.au/rugby.

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