Sports Team Fundraising Ideas
Extra fundraising can help sports teams defray the cost of travel, new equipment and uniforms, tournament fees, and other costly expenses.
These fundraising ideas are fun, unique or business-savvy ways to get a little help from your local community. Also, be sure to read our tips at the end for more pointers on getting the most out of your fundraising event.
Minute to Win It
This fundraising game is just like the famous TV show of the same name. Contestants, usually in teams of 2, compete against one another to complete difficult tasks in 60 seconds or less. Each team pays an entrance fee, usually for a prize. You can also sell tickets to view the event.
Here are some challenges compiled by Fundraising Ideas that were used successfully by fundraising groups in the past:
• Emptying a tissue box with one hand
• Long snapping toilet paper through a Hula Hoop
• Picking up cotton balls with a Vaseline coated nose
• Bouncing ping pong balls into a bucket on a team members head
Here are some other ideas from the show itself:
• Create a puzzle by cutting up the front of a cereal box or a magazine advertisement. The contestant must assemble the puzzle in less than 60 seconds.
• Place a dollar bill between two glass bottles stacked mouth-to-mouth. The contestant must pull the dollar bill from between the two bottles without knocking them over.
• In this game, the contestant must stack 5 apples on top of one another. The tower must remain standing for 3 seconds.
• To set this one up, stack 52 cards with a joker on the bottom on top of a glass bottle. The object of the game is to blow all of the cards off the top of the bottle without blowing off the joker card. The contestant usually has 5 tries, so set up 5 bottles with 5 decks of cards.
There are two main ways to raise money through recycling.
You can try to collect bottles, cans and other recyclable materials for which your local recycling center will pay cash. Have donation boxes set up in lunch rooms, parks, and around school campuses. You will have to collect these as they fill up and take them to a recycling center.
The other option is to work with an organization like Funding Factory. Their fundraising program has no start up cost. You simply collect used or broken electronics, like inkjet and toner cartridges, cell phones, GPS devices, laptops, digital cameras, MP3 players and more. Funding Factory provides the shipping materials and pre-paid UPS labels for you to ship your donated items to them. They then cut you a check for each qualifying item.
Click Here for a list of their payment amounts for various items. Some items, like newer model cell phones, can go for upwards of $50.
To raise funds for older players, you can have them host a weekend or summer sports clinic for younger kids. The players will teach the kids the basics of the sport, how to run drills, and other sports skills. Determine a price for each attendee and advertise it through social media, local schools, community announcements and your Parks & Recreation Department.
The penny drive is a classic fundraising idea that gets an entire school involved.
Give a container with a lid to every teacher. Whichever faculty member ends up with the most money in their container must go through with a predetermined gag, like kissing a pig or dressing in costume for a day. The students have one week to put as many coins and dollar bills as they can in their favored teacher’s container. In some versions, dollar bills subtract “points” from the container in which they’re place to add an extra competitive edge.
For extra motivation, collect and count the containers at the end of each day and announce the top 5 teachers the next morning. This will get students rushing to get their favorite ahead.
For non-school related sports, consider having a container for the coach, assistant coaches, and willing parents and other participants.
ESPN Magazine Sales
If you’re interested in running a sales fundraiser, nothing says “Support your local sports team” like a great deal on a 2-year subscription to ESPN The Magazine. For each $40 subscription sold, ESPN donates $30 back to the team. There’s nothing to buy upfront, and you don’t have to deal with inventory like you might in traditional cookie or candle sales. The 75% donation is better than most traditional sales fundraisers, which usually top out around 50%.
For more information on participating in ESPN’s fundraising program, Click Here.
Start a GoFundMe Campaign
You can also turn to the Internet for fundraising. This gives you the benefit of accessing not only students and parents but also the general public anywhere in the world.
To start a GoFundMe campaign, you have to determine the goal you need to meet. Donors pledge a set amount, but no money is deducted from their bank account or charged to their credit card until and unless you meet the goal. So make sure the amount you set is reasonable.
You’ll then create a simple profile page with your fundraising needs, team story, and other updates.
Note: GoFundMe does retain up to 8% – 9.25% of each donation. Other sites might claim to be free, but they’re usually just adding the processing fees on the donor’s end. Make sure to compare the percentages accurately when choosing an online fundraising campaign.
For more information on starting a campaign, check out the GoFundMe page designed especially for sports teams.
Start a Reaching Our Goal campaign
The fundraising organization Reaching Our Goal is similar to GoFundMe, but it’s more personalized. Each team player creates a profile that links back to a team page and then enters 10 e-mail addresses of family and friends. The players created their own personalized letter to request a donation.
Reaching Our Goal is free for donations under $25 and charges a set fee of $10 for anything larger than $25. The donors receive $50 in coupons for restaurants and hotels as a ‘Thank You’ gift.
For more information, check out Reaching Our Goal.
This is a great option for basketball, football, volleyball, wrestling, and other court- or field-based games. For this fundraising event, you’ll need a comfortable couch and a vendor to donate pizza and drinks.
The idea is to raffle off a chance to sit on the couch as sideline or front row “V.I.P.” seating with a free pizza and beverages. Announce the contest at the beginning of each game to allow people a chance to enter, and select a winner at half-time.
This idea was developed and used by the Key Club.
This idea from Athletic Business is not conventional fundraising, but it can work very well depending upon your local advertising market.
Consider selling advertising to local businesses if you have announced games or events. This works even better if you have locally televised sports.
You can also sell advertising space on your team’s website, newsletters, and other materials.
Benefit Nights as a Local Restaurant
Contact a manager at a local restaurant to see if they’ll arrange a night where 10% or more of the profits go toward the team’s fundraising efforts. Then advertise the arrangement. Try to do this on a Friday or Saturday when restaurants tend to be busier.
This idea was compiled by Juniata Community College.
If your school does not already have an annual talent show, consider starting one. The entry fees and tickets go directly toward the fundraising project. There should be little to no overhead if you use the school’s auditorium with volunteers to run lights, sound and ticket sales.
Have the players offer to rake leaves, shovel snow, and do other household chores. Make sure to print up flyers letting people know that 100% of the money goes toward the team’s fundraising efforts. Then have the players go door-to-door asking if there’s any work to be done for a donation fee.
Some Final Fundraising Tips
Itemize Your Expenses
Before picking any fundraising activity, it’s important to know how much money you need. Set a reasonable goal and outline exactly how you will spend the funds.
You might wish to consider printing this itemization and including it in your fundraising efforts. When potential donors know exactly how the money will help, they’ll be more likely to give.
Take Advantage of (Social) Media
Ask all of the players to advertise the fundraising event on their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media accounts.
Also try contacting your local newspaper to see if they’ll run a discounted advertisement or do a free short story on the event.
Avoid Pre-Pay Fundraisers
Some fundraising companies ask you to pay for their product in bulk. You then turn around and re-sell it. These fundraisers can have low margins, and there’s the risk you’ll be stuck with excess product.
Ask for a Small Amount with a Significant Meaning
If your Homecoming game is on the 25th, ask for $25. If your team has 32 players, ask for $32 or “A dollar for each player.” Get creative with how much you specifically ask for.
This is an especially helpful tip for online fundraising through campaigns like GoFundMe and Reach Our Goal. The idea is to make your team’s donation page look active and thriving. If you were planning to simply chip in on top at the end of the campaign, rethink this!
Instead, get the ball rolling by making a donation on the team’s page at the very beginning of the campaign. People are often more willing to donate when they see the group is already having some success. This also helps when leaving donations with a public name. People who see the personal financial commitment from the coaches and players themselves are also more likely to contribute.
Pick One and Stick With It
You don’t want to sidetrack the team’s training with constant fundraising. Try to pick one big fundraiser and put everything into it. You can also time this one event to coincide with the off-season to prevent distracting the players.
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