Best Sports Fundraising Ideas
Sports fundraising is a great way to earn extra money for extra-curricular activities while teaching children and youth about teamwork, working hard to accomplish a goal, and serving the local community. Children are wonderful fundraising participants, as they are enthusiastic about almost everything they do. They learn many new things every day and they are genuinely interested in the activities offered through their school and team activities. Fundraising for youth sports teams should be positioned as a fun event rather than a task, and as something children can enjoy working on with their friends, teammates, coaches and parents.
Many students, coaches, parents, and schools participate in sports fundraising initiatives to help provide funding for sports programs. Whether raising funds for new equipment, team uniforms, or travel funds for competitions, the following information will help you better plan for your sports fundraising campaign.
Considerations for Sports Fundraising Campaigns
Not all sports fundraising ideas and campaigns are created equal. Important questions and factors to keep in mind when starting your sports fundraising campaign include:
- How much volunteer time will the project take? Do you currently have committed parents or other volunteers to assist in your planning process?
- How will your team recruit more volunteers?
- How will players be involved? What roles can players, parents and coaches play?
- What are the upfront costs and how will you cover these?
- What are you teaching members of your sports team through your fundraising campaign?
- What kind of prizes are you offering to the top fundraisers? Anything that makes the event more fun for kids, means that your event will be more successful and raise more money.
Our #1 Sports Fundraising Idea: Team Crowdfunding Campaigns
The perfect fundraising events for teams are active crowdfunding campaigns. Walk-a-thons and Fun Runs are quintessential crowdfunding efforts that almost everyone enjoys. But why not customize the fundraiser for your sports team, to get the kids really excited? As an example, baseball and softball teams can host hit-a-thons. Players ask relatives, friends, and neighbors to make a pledge or donation to help a certain cause (to cover tournament fees, pay for new uniforms, etc). Pledge amounts can be calculated either per completed hit or longest distance hit, with each participant getting a certain number of pitches, or contributors can choose to donate a fixed amount. A great way to obtain a lot of donations easily and quickly is through our online peer-to-peer fundraising platform. Players create personal fundraising pages where they upload photos, explain their mission and have people make secure donations online. Participants can send out an email donation request letter or social media appeal that includes a link directly to their personal fundraising page.
Keep in mind that with every sports fundraising campaign, you are teaching team members about community service and being part of something larger than themselves. In addition, using a fundraising platform can be a fun experience for participants. Today young adults spend a lot of time on the computer – emailing friends, updating Facebook pages, watching funny videos, and more. Using a fundraising software service makes fundraising easy and convenient for participants. Not only that, but they get to create their own personal fundraising page where they can upload photos, quotes, and explain more about the cause of the fundraising as well as set goals. They are not only helping to raise much needed funds, but learning that helping out can be fun and rewarding.
More Sports Team Fundraising Event Ideas
Youth Community Service Projects
Since we are interested in teaching our children through their fundraising and youth sports efforts, another great option is to host an event that encourages the athletes to give back to their community. What better way for kids to do that then by donating time to serving the needy through a serve-a-thon event? Parents and coaches can setup a project or projects – cleaning a local park or highway, painting the bleachers, reading to the elderly or delivering gifts to cancer patients – and children commit to helping with the project. Family and friends make donations and pledges to support the effort. The options are endless!
Fundraising Events for Youth Sports
There are many different fundraising events that work well for sports fundraisers. Plan something that kids will have fun participating in while raising money. Take some time to brainstorm with team members and parents to find out what type of fundraiser they’d enjoy participating in. If participants are invested in the activity and can have fun while raising money, chances are you’ll have a successful fundraiser.
- Fundraising car washes work great as a youth fundraiser. Add in a dog wash and sell handmade sandwiches and snacks to add to the fun.
- Community yard sale fundraisers can bring in a great deal of money with a little planning and promotion. Every year people clean out closets, garages and storage units to discover things they no longer need. Why not take this opportunity to reach out to your community and provide them with a reason to donate old items for a great cause?
- Rather than a charily golf tournament, what about a mini-golf fundraising event? Mini-golf events are great, as almost everyone can participate – even younger siblings.
- Hold a breakfast fundraiser and include pancakes as well as more gourmet fare. Get the coaches cooking and the kids will be excited.
- Aluminum can drives: Kids collect as many used cans and bottles they can find. The student who collects the most wins a prize, and everything they collect can be turned in to a recycling center for funds.
- Bakes sales are a classic youth sports fundraiser. Families can bake pies, cookies or other items and sell them at games to raise funds. Consider offering gluten free and dairy free options, so everyone can enjoy a treat.
- Pizza parties have a wide appeal because everyone loves pizza. Charge by the slice or whole pie, with the profits going to raise funds for your youth sports team.
- Potluck dinners can be great for school or youth sports fundraising. Have everyone bring a dish to the potluck. Sell tickets for each plate and drinks, to raise funds.
- Another interesting idea for teams with older participants is a team-building fundraising event, such as a fundraising scavenger hunt or relay race. One of our clients hosts an annual event called “The Amazing Race”. Similar to the television show, teams are challenged to travel to various checkpoints and conquer many challenges and detours in order to make it to the finish line. Teams must strategize about the most efficient route to take, assign team members roles, and work together to accomplish their goals. Funds are raised through team crowdfunding efforts.
Online Team Spirit Merchandise Sales
Product sales are always an option for team fundraising. In youth sports fundraising, it’s important to select the right products to sell. The products should have mass appeal, be relevant to the sport and time of year, and be sold at an above average price point so you can make good profit margins. But remember, the kids are learning lessons here and promoting candy bar and cookie dough sales may not be the best lesson. Consider choosing items that are top of mind during the time of year you are hosting your fundraiser. If you are part of a softball or baseball team and are conducting a fundraiser at the end of the summer for a tournament, consider selling “back-to-school” items: backpacks, t-shirts, lunch-boxes, pencils, and notebooks. Similarly, if the fundraiser is for a fall sport, consider selling holiday items such as wrapping paper, holiday cards, candles and tree lights. Lastly, it’s important that your fundraising product has a high profit margin. Often scratch-off cards and fundraising discount cards have large profit margins, and are a relatively easy item to sell.
If your sports team has a following, online merchandise sales via an online nonprofit store is an easy way to bring in some dough. Simply design your team gear on Printful, a company that prints and ships your items on demand. You can sell t-shirts, hoddies, hats, bags, socks, cell phone covers and more. Then add the products to your online store at a price that guarantees your team profits from each sale.
Learn more about our eCommerce stores for nonprofits.
Team Sponsorhips Work Well for Sports Fundraising
One of the biggest and easiest money-makers for sports teams can be through soliciting team sponsors. Players, coaches and parents can help identify and reach out to local businesses to ask for sponsorships and donations. Team sponsorships can really work for any sport: baseball, softball, soccer, football, lacrosse, hockey, or gymnastics. Team sponsorships usually work best for sports that are highly visible within the community. For example, a soccer team that competes weekly at a community center where hundreds of parents, children and locals are present gives businesses exposure to a large audience through logo presence on banners and team uniforms. There may even be community bulletin boards or a community center newsletter where sponsors can post advertisements and coupons.
If your team is soliciting sponsors, it may be wise to establish various levels of sponsorship and outline the benefits sponsors will receive at each level prior to requesting donations. Businesses may be more likely to support the team, knowing that they will receive something in exchange for their donation. A basic sponsorship requires a smaller donation (maybe $250), and sponsors receive benefits such as link from your organization’s website, and logo on the team banner. Don’t forget to ask sponsors permission to set up a donation jar at their establishment. You may be able to bring in some extra revenue from customers visiting their location who are willing to throw in a few extra bucks to support your cause.
Offering larger sponsor levels such as a “Title Team Sponsor” can bring in much larger donations ($1,000+). This sponsorship level will receive enhanced benefits such as their logo on team jerseys, a featured advertisement on the team web site, and recognition on team plaques and trophies. If the title sponsor is a local restaurant, offer to host team parties at their location. This is a great benefit as you’ll be bringing customers in and introducing parents and community members to their restaurant.
As with any fundraising sponsor, be sure to thank sponsors for their contributions. Sending a thank-you letter at the end of the season, recognizing sponsor contributions on a team web site or newsletter, and inviting sponsors to team parties are all great ways to show appreciation and possibly bring them back again in future years.
Sports Fundraising Tips & Strategies
Parents are Key to Youth Sports Fundraising Success
One factor to consider with youth sports fundraising is that parents must be heavily relied upon for much of the workload, so gaining support of the parents is key. It’s parent involvement that makes for the most successful youth fundraisers! Encourage parents to be proactive. Not only should children talk to friends, family, and neighbors, but parents can help by reaching out to co-workers, church groups and other social networks.
Take the Time to Prepare the Team Participants
Part of youth sports is teaching and helping kids with their sales skills, which means you don’t want to send them out unprepared. Not only will this help them do better raising money for the fundraiser, but will also help them build confidence. Here are some pointers:
- Be friendly: Make eye contact, smile and introduce yourself.
- Provide a quick overview about why you are raising funds. Contributors will want to know what their money is going to support.
- Kindly ask for their support and explain how their contribution will help.
- Offer a sample item, catalog or order sheet for them to look at so they know exactly what they are signing up for.
- Suggest bundles for larger sales.
Create a Donor Prospect List
Help the children participating in the fundraiser understand the planning process. After all, this is going to be something they do throughout their life. Work together to create a list of prospects (family, friends, neighbors, church groups). This may be an activity that a coach leads at practice, where all team members take some time to create a list of potential prospects. Have everyone share their lists as it may spark ideas for other team members. Put together a fundraising game plan – share ideas about how children plan to reach out to their prospects, and do practice sales pitching. Encourage team members to make a commitment to raising a certain financial amount. Set minimum amounts and encourage competition by offering prizes for various achievement levels.
Remember to organize youth sports fundraisers that are fun for the kids. If they are smiling while cheerfully communicating the purpose of the fundraising event, then chances are good they’ll get a favorable response. Having a well-planned and enthusiastic fundraiser kick-off event where you establish goals and rewards can be very effective to motivate participants and parents. Similarly, hosting a rewards party after the fundraiser wraps up is a great way to congratulate all participants, share success over team bonding and pizza.
Using a fundraising software platform to manage donations or products sales and track participant success can be a fun experience for participants. Not only do children get to create their own personal fundraising page with photos and goals, but they can track their success against other team members. Children—particularly those involved in competitive sports—are motivated by prizes or incentives for doing a good job, so why not encourage some healthy competition? Coaches can also post a list of top sellers each week at practice for additional motivation. Perhaps offer a weekly prize for top sales or donations earned, and then one grand prize for the largest contributor at the end of the fundraiser. Regardless of performance, remember to encourage all team members and recognize their hard efforts… even if they aren’t a top performer, ever contribution helps!
More Sports Fundraising Ideas for Your Team
There are many different kinds of fundraising initiatives that work well with teams, so visit our unique fundraising events page for more ideas and tips for planning your fundraising campaign. Our fundraising tips section offers additional guidelines to help you set goals, identify fundraising sources, prepare a timeline, recruit participants and volunteers, and promote your fundraising event. If you still aren’t sure the type of fundraising activity you’d like to host, we’ve created a list below to get you started.
We’ve created sports fundraising ideas for nearly every type of sports team.