Ideally you play your sports for the love of it. Because you love competing, being part of a team, learning, improving and pushing yourself. Unless you are playing in the major leagues, any athletic activity is most often a matter of passion and that’s fine.
However, at the same time money is a reality that needs to be dealt with. Even if you are not competing internationally, you will still need money for jerseys/uniforms, equipment, travel, fees and everything else.
While team members are usually happy to chip in, not everything can be shouldered by the team alone. For that reason, in this article we want to look at ways to raise money for sports teams and clubs. That way, you can concentrate on getting better instead of worrying how to afford the next competition.
Ready to talk about money? Let’s do it.
How to Raise Money for Sports Teams – Fundraising Ideas That Work
In the following, you will find a number of actionable ways to get your team funded.
1. Start a Crowdfunding Campaign
Thanks to the Internet, now anyone can collect money for their cause from strangers online. Crowdfunding makes it possible.
This type of financing is already well established for the launch of new products. One of the most well-known platforms, Kickstarter, is often in the news for record-setting campaigns.
However, you don’t have to launch a product to take advantage of crowdfunding. There are also a number of websites out there that let you collect funds for good causes.
When you decide to go the crowdfunding route, here are a few tips to make success more likely:
- Develop your story — Crowdfunding is all about stories. People want to know what their money is going toward, want to see passion and learn more about the people they are considering to support.
- Crunch numbers — You need to know exactly how much you are asking for and for which reason. This is also important to explain to would-be contributors. Don’t forget to factor in the processing fees from the crowdfunding platform and payment gateway!
- Produce a high-quality video — The video is your main communication tool and it’s important to plan it ahead of time. Develop a script and storyboard. The quality of your videos shows how serious you are and will increase trust, making others more likely to contribute. Supplement it with additional photos.
- Find cool perks —Usually the people who contribute to crowdfunding campaigns get something out of it, for example early access to the product. While you don’t have a product, you can still create attractive packages. For example, if someone gives money for your jerseys, offer to print their name on them. With some brainstorming you will surely be able to come up with some cool ideas.
- Plan your outreach campaign — The hardest part of crowdfunding is to get the word out. For that reason you need to plan how you are going to do it in advance. The first level is always your direct contacts (friends, family, network) but you also need to look beyond that. See if you can partner with local websites, news and businesses to get the word out.
- Submit — Crowdfunding platforms have guidelines and don’t accept just any campaign. For that reason, familiarise yourself with their rules beforehand and plan accordingly especially since submission might take a few days.
With the above in mind, you can go ahead and collect money from the crowd. Good luck!
2. Find a Sponsor
Of course, an easier way is to find a sponsor directly in the real world. Many local businesses and other organisations would be more than happy to support you in exchange for publicity.
3. Host a Fundraising Event
Another way to bolster your team funds is to hold a fundraising event. That is an event in which you offer visitors all sorts of entertainment with the specific goal of raising money for your team.
For example, you could host an annual Christmas fair or summer festival with games, food and drinks to raise money. Here are some more examples:
- Exhibition — Show off your skills to a crowd of visitors. Demonstrate what you are doing in training and games. It might even move some to join your team.
- Bake sale — Have team members or their family contribute cakes and other baked goods, then sell them piece by piece for a profit.
- Car wash — A classic in the fundraising arsenal. Allows people to bring their cars by and team members will clean it for money. A win-win situation for everyone. Or you can co-operate with local carwashes and sell tickets to their business. Many will be happy to share the profit.
- Raffle — Sell raffle tickets for a big prize. The winner will be drawn from all tickets sold. It’s possible to make the prize something related to your team like lessons, a VIP seat or similar.
- Fundraising run — Team members find sponsors who agree to donate a set amount of money for a certain distance they will run. Best if you have active runners among you.
- Party — Of course, can also just throw a party. Local clubs are often happy to let you keep the money from the door if you take care of promotion and getting people into their business.
- Coach punishment — Another classic. Raises money by “punishing” the coach. For example, attendants can buy lengths of tape to try and attach him or her to a wall. Fun for the whole family.
These are just the tip of the iceberg. Find a lot more ideas here.
4. Sell Branded Merchandise
Believe it or not, branded sports merchandise is a multi million pound industry. Fans are more than happy to shell out money for jerseys, t-shirts, water bottles, hats, phone cases and other paraphernalia sporting their favourite team’s logo.
If it works for the pro teams, why not for you?
Thankfully, today merchandise is relatively easy and inexpensive to produce. When you do, you can sell them for a profit at games and events and also in an online store on your team website. That way, you raise money for your sports team while at the same time strengthening the bond with your fan base. Two birds, one stone.
5. Rent-an-Athlete/Player Auctions
This can be a standalone event or part of a larger fundraiser.
The idea is simple: hold an auction in which people can bid on your team members. All proceeds go to the good of the team while the auctioned-off players do chores like mow the lawn, help clean the garage or walk the dog. Or they are auctioned off to go on a date or give private lessons. You can either let people choose their own adventure or offer a list of available tasks beforehand.
This doesn’t have to be in auction form. You may also just offer to rent out your players for the aforementioned purposes for a set price. A good idea is to use increments of 30 minutes for payment.
6. Offer Lessons
Another good idea to raise money for your sports team is to use the skills you are learning anyway by passing them on to others. Teaching is a valid option to get paid and there are always people willing to learn.
Advertise your offer on your website, in local newspapers, magazines, notice boards and other places. Interested parties can be individuals but also school or kindergarten classes, corporations looking for team building exercises and other opportunities.
Brainstorm anything that your sport allows you to teach. For example, if you are playing water polo, maybe you can give swimming lessons. Tennis players can teach the perfect serve, baseball players show how to throw a pitch and more. Or just teach general fitness. The possibilities are endless.
7. Share Your Facilities
If have your own training ground, chances are you are not using it all the time. In that case, why not profit from the down time by renting it out to others?
Create a schedule with unused time slots and find other teams and clubs who need practice facilities. That way, the training grounds have less idle time and you can raise some money with the rent.
Of course, this also works with other things. For example, if you own some specialised equipment that is expensive to purchase, maybe you can rent it out to other clubs who have the same needs. Just think about what assets you have at hand that others would be willing to pay for and you might find another income source.
8. Sell Discount Cards and Voucher Books
Everyone loves discount cards and vouchers. Discounted offers for local and national restaurants and businesses allow customers to get very good deals and save a lot of money.
But did you know that you can sell those yourself? It’s true, you can find examples by doing a search on Google for example.
The cards and vouchers are sold for a set price and come with a healthy profit margin. The best part: you usually only have to pay for the cards or voucher books you actually sell.
This type of fundraising measure is very popular with customers so you can do it repeatedly once a year.
You might know text-to-give from charitable donations. It works like this: people text a certain word or phrase to a phone number. When they do so, they automatically donate a certain amount of money to the recipient with the funds taken out of their phone bill.
You might think that this is more something for professional organisations. However, text-to-give is available to almost everyone these days. There are numerous providers that would be more than happy to help you out.
After that, don’t forget to add the number to your marketing material and let people know about it!