December 09, 2009 // Franchising.com // Despite being disabled, Rayna Matthews has been horse-riding for the better part of her life and has even competed internationally in side saddle classes; she was also long listed for the Paralympics.
A very experienced rider Mathews wanted to provide other disabled people the opportunity to learn to ride side-saddle so they too could enjoy this recreational pursuit. So along with her husband Bill Matthews, she founded the Tradissar Riding for the Disabled Group in Hampshire, UK in 2007. The group provides people with a disability the prospect to ride and enjoy all the activities connected with horse riding.
In fact, riding side saddle is unique for this RDA group. This means that more disabled people are able to participate as not all are able to ride astride.
Most recently, Kevin Stansfield pledged to donate coaching hours to this organization as a result of ActionCOACH's first global cause-related marketing campaign. The brainchild of its founder and CEO Brad Sugars, Coaching for a Cause is a global pro bono coaching program, which is helping non-profits and charities raise funds over a six month period (October 1, 2009 through March 31, 2010).
Top Business Coaches from the world's leading business and executive coaching firm will donate coaching hours with the overall goal of helping their favorite charities and non-profits raise at least $2.5 million in funds within six months; the combined value of this service is $1.8 million.
RDA Treasurer Elizabeth Graney identified the group's dependence on three people as one of the main challenges the Riding Club is facing currently.
"We have to continually retrain volunteers as they come and go. We also lack resources and working with our bank account is always a juggling act," she said.
According to Graney, the charity is run on love and passion but very little business knowledge and experience. "We are looking forward to becoming more organised and making it easier for our volunteers and members to run the group," she said. "We need to make the group sustainable and at the moment it relies heavily on three people -Rayna, her husband and I. We are also hoping to gain new promotional and fundraising techniques through the business coaching process."
Stansfield, who has always been around horses, loves the way they can make people feel good about themselves.
"The positive effect riding has on disabled people is amazing and with the Paralympics in the UK in 2012 there is a great incentive to help get Tradissar RDA's profile recognized," he said. "The charity needs a lot of help and I can make a difference by coaching them." According to Stansfield, the charity clearly needs direction.
"There is plenty of passion but it is not being used to take the charity forward as it has been run as a bit of a hobby and has a lot more potential," he said. "There are no clear roles and responsibilities and as such no real team effort."
As their coach, Stansfield plans on getting the RDA motivated and organized.
"They have been relying on passive hand outs and we need to change this to a charity collection strategy," he said.
Graney, who considers Coaching for a Cause a lifeline, welcomes this pro bono business coaching offer.
"This is a much needed service that so many charities need and would benefit from. Being a charity we could never afford to hire a coach under normal circumstances, and yet the benefits are huge," she said. "We are looking forward to working with ActionCOACH and in particular our coach Kevin Stansfield as a once in a lifetime opportunity, which will help us long-term."
Stansfield believes he is now a part of helping the organization achieve its long-term vision of enabling disabled people to grow in confidence as well as physical and mental capabilities. "Instead of just giving money to a charity, I know I have a way to make sure this charity is as efficient as the best run company in the country," he said.
Riding for people with a disability is believed to be both therapeutic and recreational. The RDA is also one of the few organizations to offer a multi-diagnostic service, catering for a wide range of disabilities.
"From complete beginners to competitive riders at national and international levels, this is also a social and supportive group for members. This is because some of our riders (owing to their disabilities) rarely go out or have the confidence to go out. It acts as a form of both physical and mental therapy for these people with huge benefits," Graney said.
Graney and her team are aiming towards the 2012 Para-Olympics in London and hope to have a couple of riders competing.
Coaching for a Cause is an innovative, new program from ActionCOACH, the world's number one business and executive coaching firm that makes pro-bono coaching available to charities and non-profits worldwide.