If your youth sports team isn't rolling in the doe, this article is for you. Year after year, teams and leagues are becoming more dependent on fundraising as their primary source of revenue. And in a down economy people are less inclined to give away their hard earned money, over and over again, to faceless athletes.
But fear not fundraising planners and board members - I have just the suggestions you need to be victorious in the world of sports fundraising. Here are 5 recommendations for fundraising success:
Recommendation #1 - Make it personal. Put a face to the reason why. One of my most successful fundraising opportunities happened to be one of my first.
My oldest daughter was fundraising to attend the Cheer US Finals. Selling candy is a bore, but my spouse offered to place a box of chocolate bars in his office break room. I was convinced that if I could tell “her” story, my spouse's work would rally around my child. So I created a “Why buy a candy bar” flyer. It explained how my child had overcome a birth defect, was never supposed to be able to walk without a limp, worked hard to be “normal” and for the first time ever, won a bid to cheer with her team at the US Cheer Finals in Virginia Beach - if we could raise the money.
The flyers were placed on break room tables with the hope that employees would take a casual glance while on a break or during lunch. I was dead on! The $2.00 candy bars flew - box, after box, after box. $1.00 per bar went into my daughter's account to pay for her trip. Now did my spouse have to answer questions about our child and her birth defect, yes… but it was worth it. The trip was fully funded.
It is hard to go into as much detail in most fundraising opportunities. So as fundraising professionals, you have to get a little more inventive. I'll say it again. Make your approach personal. Hold a fundraiser that puts a face on your organization, and your athletes - this will ensure a more successful campaign.
Recommendation #2 - Turn your next BBQ into a contest. Fire up the grills and take your best barbecue recipes out of the family safe. Nothing brings people together like a barbecue. It's a great venue for socializing and bringing in members of your group, your community, and beyond. You can charge a small entrance fee, give away awards, and encourage attendees to throw in a few bucks to their favorite food venders tip jar. The whole time selling raffle tickets, 50/50, and anything else that brings you money while putting a face on your cause.
Recommendation #3 - Grab your dancing shoes. Break out those dancing shoes and boots! A 24-hour dance-a-thon is an easy and fun fundraiser. Ask people to sign up; they can either dance as couples or alone. Now it is time to gather pledges. Make sure your dancers know to ask everyone to pledge… their friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers will be sure to join in. You can have more than one person on a dance team and collecting pledges. The money adds up quickly! Not to mention the parents, community and newspapers bring attention to what and who you are!
Recommendation #4 - Break out the old yard sale signs. Know a school sports field or a churchyard large enough for several tables and room for browsing? Then you have the perfect space for a face-to-face, personal fundraiser. Don't forget volunteers and item donors to help with pricing, checkout and table organization. Allow your athletes and their families to have their own tables and make their own money to fund trips and accommodations. Don't forget to offer simple concessions like hot dogs and Gatorade for hungry shoppers, and earn a little extra cash for the organization itself. Concession stands are a gold mine!
Recommendation #5 - Who needs a bail out? Talk about fun - kids, it's time to put your parents in prison. Not real prison…well, not really. The parents are “locked up” with their phone and a dollar amount they need to raise to get out. Hold it in the local police station or community center and advertise it. Local business owners, politicians and community leaders can be locked up, as well as coaches and trainers.
With a little thought, and a lot of laughs, fundraising can be personal and fun. Take the chore out of it, and watch the donations fly in. Don't let the growing competitive nature of fundraising bring you down. (Did you know organizations are actually hiring professionals to handle these efforts?) There is no need for this. You can stay on top, and enjoy yourself if you just make it personal.