Youth sports teams can be extremely expensive to run and be a member of. As 99Pledges’ guide to soccer team fundraising highlights, expenses like equipment, uniforms, snacks, on-the-go meals, travel, and costly membership fees can add up quickly.
However, putting on yearly fundraisers can help you reduce the burden of these costs on your team’s parents and members. Offering fundraising opportunities also makes the sport more accessible, allowing more people to participate no matter their income or background.
Here are three strategies that will help you maximize your fundraising revenue to bring the many benefits of team sports, regular exercise, and getting outside to more kids.
1. Partner with a local park and recreation agency.
Partnering with a local parks and recreation agency can help build deep relationships within the community and gives your team a place to hold fundraising events at a lower cost (or even for free).
For example, your football team might choose to put on a week-long training camp program where older members of your team teach young players tips and new skills—essentially, they become their coaches for a week. But, you’ll need a lot of space for the activities, as well as tables and chairs to enjoy snacks and lunch at. Rather than purchasing these items or renting an expensive venue, reach out to your parks and recreation agency first to see if they’d be willing to help.
To strengthen your case for support, consider pointing out the potential rewards for the park. For instance, if you want to hold a sports tournament at the park, you could explain that the park and your local economy could enjoy the benefits of sports tourism as a result of the tournament. Parents, players, and other onlookers will travel to see the tournament and purchase snacks and enjoy the park and other local spots while attending.
Your team’s fundraising could also help spread awareness of the park to community members who may not have been there before, encouraging them to return and participate in its programs.
2. Choose a unique fundraising idea.
Parents and players want to support fundraisers that are fresh and exciting. Choosing a more unique idea can motivate both participants and supporters to get more involved with your efforts.
Here are a few unique ways to raise money for your sports team:
Pledge fundraising model: To hold a pledge fundraiser, have participants collect pledged donations from supporters before the event. These pledges typically correspond with the event in some way. For instance, before a fun run event, supporters might pledge five dollars for each mile participants run.
Mentorship program: Like the training camp example, mentorship programs are a great idea for older players. Select some of your top players and sell the opportunity to be their mentee during your next fundraiser. Make sure to choose responsible, positive players who will be able to routinely meet up with younger players and offer good advice about the sport.
A-thon fundraisers: These fundraisers are very versatile, and with a little creativity, you can create one that aligns with your sport. A soccer team could hold a kick-a-thon in which players compete to kick the most goals, while a softball team might host a hit-a-thon and have players step up to bat instead.
Before choosing a final idea, run your top picks past parents or members of your booster club to ensure the idea is something they are excited about. Check that the fundraiser can fit into their schedules and your team’s budget as well.
3. Take advantage of digital fundraising.
When you think of fundraising for a sports team, you might think of traditional, door-to-door selling. While these product-based fundraisers can be profitable in some cases, they limit your team to a relatively small, local population of supporters.
Instead of this approach, opt for a fundraiser that takes place online without any paper catalogs or order forms. Here are some easy ways to add more digital elements to your existing fundraising strategy:
Optimize your website by ensuring the branding is up-to-date, that the site is mobile and desktop-friendly, and that you have quick links to your donation page.
Use a digital fundraising tool to help you easily collect donations online and reach supporters across the country.
Promote your fundraisers on your team’s social media pages.
Post flyers around your team’s school, practice facilities, or in local businesses with QR codes linked to your donation page.
Like any fundraiser, digital fundraising is most effective when your entire team and support system helps garner support and donations. To motivate dedicated support from your team members, offer small prizes for reaching fundraising goals or sharing your donation link on social media with their network of family and friends.
To ensure you’re maximizing your fundraising efforts, consider investing in online-based fundraising technology to earn more revenue at a lower cost. Whether you’re hosting a pitching contest for your baseball team or a practice-a-thon for your marching band, fundraising for your team can make it possible for more players to join.
Brad Dowhaniuk is the co-founder of 99Pledges, which provides schools and teams with an easy-to-use, web-based fundraising solution to manage and drive success in Fun Runs, jog-a-thons, baseball hit-a-thons, and much more.