This is Why Folabi Solanke Moved from Soccer into Education

Brand Voice
·2-min read

One of the lesser understood aspects of running a nonprofit is that salability and relatability are just as important as the charitable act itself. If you want to drive funds to a specific cause, you need to make it relatable.

If your parents pass away from cancer, you’re more likely to donate to cancer charities. If you had a difficult childhood or have children yourself, you’re more likely to donate to children’s charities.

For Folabi Clement Solanke, the goal was always to help children in the poorest areas of Nigeria. He began by staging soccer tournaments and worked with major US teams like Phoenix Rising to ship essential sports equipment and other supplies.

He wanted to raise awareness and funnel some much-needed funds to these regions, but he soon realized that Americans aren’t really that interested in soccer.

That’s when he switched his focus to education, an area that desperately needs assistance and is severely short on funds.

Primary school education is free in Nigeria, but millions of kids don’t attend and the ones that do are forced to subsist on the barebones. They don’t have desks or chairs; many have little more than a blackboard and a willing teacher. That’s the extent of their entire education and it’s why Nigeria has some of the lowest literacy rates in the world.

It’s not about what’s more or less important. The goal is to raise awareness, get more money, and direct this to the areas that need it most. Whether that money is generated through soccer tournaments, music events, or raffles, it doesn’t matter—it all goes to the same place, it all helps to fix the problem.

The key is to find the right angle and for Solanke, honesty has been the best approach.

“I think charities are overly cautious about these things and aren’t as open as they perhaps should be. I don’t mind coming out and admitting that I need social media engagement. I need celebrities, influencers, and sports stars. It’s not a popularity contest. I’m not trying to increase those numbers for my own vanity. It’s about getting more eyes on the things that matter. That’s how we get funding and that’s how we make a difference.

Everyone can help. It’s not just about donations. If you have 1,000 followers and you promote an event, maybe 1 or 2 of your followers will donate money, supplies, or time. Maybe they’ll share it to an even larger number of followers.”

The pandemic and the SARS protests have placed a massive obstacle in Solanke’s way, making his job even harder, but he hasn’t given up and has redoubled his efforts. To support him on his journey, visit his website or find him on Instagram.

(Syndicated press content is neither written, edited or endorsed by ED Times)