programs struggling to support their basic needs, fundraising becomes the first
topic at team meetings. It takes more than rummage sales and car washes to make
up the difference to help parents pay for the cheer activities their kids want
to participate in. The amounts parents have to raise varies: are you raising
funds to just pay for athletic gear, or are you trying to raise funds to
compete out of state? Often times, teams and coaches have to make sacrifices. And,
as coaches, we usually pick the ‘easy ‘ fundraisers,
yet those fundraisers do
not yield high profits. We choose the fundraisers to just get them done; they
become time-consuming as a result. Ask any coach–fundraising is the quickest
way to burnout. Bottom line, it’s time to rethink fundraising, and get
creative. To help ensure your fundraisers are successful, here are some things
to consider when planning out fundraising events.Purpose/goal.
Before doing anything else, you must decide what the purpose or goal
Is your fundraiser set for individual athletes or team needs? What is the
amount needed? These areas are all common and basic, but there is another
purpose to consider when planning fundraising events: gaining publicity, or
reaching out to a new network. Many events have more than one goal. Figuring
out the details for your event will depend on knowing what goals you are trying
to achieve. So, what is your
financial goal? How much money are you trying to raise? The amount you choose should
be what you hope to net–that is, the amount you plan to raise after expenses
are deducted. Look for profit margins that balance out the amount of work that
has to be done.Volunteers/profit.
the right people helping with your fundraiser can make or break the event. Not only
will your helpers actually be running your event, but are integral to ensuring that you reach your fundraising goals. Do
not be afraid to ask for help, as well as accepting help. With that out of the way, there really is only one
thing that can make or break the success of your event–what to sell. What will
be the product that sends your event into the rafters? Selling candy in a
neighborhood that is surrounded by schools might not be successful or
profitable, as there probably are half a dozen programs doing the same thing.
Look at your geographical area
to figure out what will work for you. Selling
discount cards will not work in outlying rural areas as they would in the inner
city. If you are going to use online funding groups, make sure you do your
research on how much they keep, as in hidden costs. Once you find the perfect
product for your program, it is time to start setting up your event.Marketing.
all your planning and research to host the ‘perfect’ fundraising event, without
good marketing, all that work would be for nothing. Getting the word out about
your event is what will make your event a success.
You need to convince your supporters that your event is worthy of their
time and money. Draw up a marketing plan for the event, or how you are to go
about ‘getting the word out’. You do not want to advertise too early, or too
late. On average, 2-3 weeks advance marketing is a good rule of thumb; just make
sure that you are updating or changing out any advertising as you go.
Saying thank you.
Often, one of the most heard complaints from fundraising contributors is,
“They never even said ‘thank-you.’” Ditto for your volunteers. Make sure to
take the time to send thank you notes to everyone who was involved in your
event. Keep your donors happy… you’re probably going to be asking them for
another donation sometime down the road! I’ve talked with coaches from all over the
U.S.–representing programs in rural areas with absolutely zero funding, to ones
who coach inner city programs that are funded, but still have little resources–and
there is one common statement that I have heard over and over again. What is
it, you ask? “I
have run out of creative ideas for fundraisers,” or, “I need a
fundraiser that no one has done before.” I have done it all… selling
products to candy to discount books, I have found there to be more work than
reward. Running car washes, I have found that the kids like these more than the
coaches or parents. These types of fundraisers can be good team events, but
small reward for individuals.
Let me share some fundraising ideas
to spark some creativity in you as you
choose your next fundraising event:
Reserved parking spaces.
parking spaces for football games works great for most parents! Make signs with
the sponsors’ name on them, and putting them up before game time will make
fundraiser participants happy they donated. Now, obviously, you will want to
work with your athletic department and get permission to do so. But, what a
great thing for anyone to have their own space to park in…Rent an athlete.
This can be a tricky one, but can often result in additional
donations. Rent out your athletes to do odd jobs for donors, just make sure you
set standards of what they will and will not do ahead of time.Local
By far one of the easiest events to do, with little work and a good
return, is participating in local marathons. Connect with companies that host
marathons, and often times, they pay volunteers to work their events. Or, host
This is a
great fundraiser for schools, and you make 50% profit! Jamba Juice helps teams
and schools reach their fundraising goals. What’s even better about this option
is that smoothies meet school nutrition standards, and let’ be honest, kids
creative, ask for help, plan out your event, but most of all, make it fun for
your athletes and families!Do you have other fundraising ideas? Let us know what worked for your team in