Fundraising and youth sports go together like peanut butter and jelly, milk and cookies, Bert and Ernie. With most leagues being 100% volunteer ran, they rely heavily on fundraising to help cover costs such as uniforms, equipment, travel expenses, and end of season parties.
While fundraising may not make the list of your top ten favorite things to do, there is simply no getting around it. So today I'm sharing TEN fundraiser ideas with you that are tried, tested, and not too stressful (i.e. no knocking on your neighbors doors!).
Ready? Here we go!
- 50/50 Raffle- This is one of the easiest, less time consuming, yet most popular ones. All you need are raffle tickets and two containers (one to hold the tickets and the other to collect the money in). These raffles are perfect for game day! Players, families, and other spectators buy one (or more!) ticket(s). They keep one half and you stick the other half in the container . At the end of the event someone picks a random ticket out of the container. The person with the matching raffle ticket wins half of the money collected and the league keeps the other half. That's it!
- Car Wash- "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." That old saying holds true to this one. Begin by finding a place to hold it (usually a local gas station or school). Make signs, spread the word, gather up your team and supplies including a bucket for the money, and get to washing! I've found that car washes work best when they are done on a donation basis, in other words there is no set fee. People can give what they'd like.
- Bake Sale- It's exactly what it sounds like. (Seriously, who doesn't like brownies, cookies, and cupcakes?!) Choose a date (game days are perfect!), spread the word, round up volunteers to help bake, set up, and sell those goodies!
- Touchdown Jar- This is by far one of my favorite ways to raise money! So much so, that I've written an entire blog post on it. Click HERE to learn all about it. I know it says touchdown jar, but you could totally tailor it to fit your sport (think Goal Jar for soccer, 3-Point Jar for basketball, Home Run Jar for baseball- you get the gist). Why am I so passionate about this one? Easy. Because it works, that's why!
- Team Picture Day- Work with a local photography company that specializes in youth sports photos. Be sure that the company has a built-in fundraiser feature- you can usually add an additional $1-$5 to the price of each picture package, all which will come back to the club. Be sure that your coaches know that it is not only picture day, but a fundraiser as well!
- Spirit Wear Sale- What Sports Mama doesn't jump at the opportunity to rock her athlete's team colors?? Very similar to the team picture day idea, spirit wear companies also have the built-in fundraiser feature. Before starting, be sure to have an idea of what items will sell best (i.e. do people really want to spend their money on stadium blankets in the middle of the Summer?).
- Concession Stand- Another oldie, but goodie. People just can't resist the smell of hot dogs cooking on the grill... or a warm cup of hot chocolate when it's 30 degrees out! Buy your items in bulk and set up shop at home games. Be sure to keep your prices reasonable, especially when there are stores selling the same items within a short distance. Remember, you want people to buy from YOU, not them! (Click HERE for tips on running a successful concession stand as well as a list of the ten best sellers!).
- Restaurant Nights- These are always well attended. Just be sure to do your research beforehand. Some restaurants will give you 50% of ALL sales made during the agreed upon fundraiser hours, while others give a much smaller percentage and require that each customer make them aware that they are there for the fundraiser to receive the money. Trust me. I've learned the hard way before! Location and timing are everything- schedule it for a day that practices are held and choose a restaurant that is as close to your practice facility as possible. This is KEY!
- No Frills Fundraiser- This is one our previous football club did, and as a Board member, I can promise you that it really works! You simply come up with a generic letter that introduces the club, your mission and asks for monetary donations. You then distribute the letters to each athlete, have the athlete personally address each one to the friends/family members of their choice, mail them out, and wait for the donations to pour in. It's that simple!
- Donations- Just like the no frills fundraiser, but without the paperwork. Spend a couple of hours standing alongside your athlete(s) outside of a local grocery store, having them in uniform will help them to stand out amongst the crowd. Let people know who you all are and what exactly you're raising money for. Take a bucket (or helmet if it's football season!) with you to collect the donations in. People like to help the youth and their communities, that's a given!
I hope these ideas help you to have your most successful season yet!