16 Fundraising Ideas That Will Crush Your Goals This Season!

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Welp, it’s about that time again!  Time to have the fundraising talk…

but don't worry... i did all the hard stuff for you!


SHORT ON TIME? get the fundraising planner

This Fundraising Planner is the BOMB! Not only will it help you keep track of all things fundraising... it's pretty too!


Disclaimer

Technically if you belong to a year-round sports club fundraising is a constant in your sideline life.  

But if you don’t and you’re starting to prep for the upcoming season, FUNDRAISING should already be on your mind!

Commonly known as one of those necessary evils, fundraising is a staple in youth sports.  Most youth sports organizations are volunteer-based.  So, they depend on their ability to raise funds to help run the program.

(Funny… this is almost like the other necessary evil that we talk about around this time of year… TAXES).

Well bring on the mad scientist laugh, because I’m about to give you 16 fundraising ideas that will totally blow your goals out of the water this season! (Muuahahahahahahaha!!!)

 

First things first

It’s important to understand the Fundamentals to Epic Sports Fundraising:

  • Create a Clear Plan:

Know your audience and identify your goal. What exactly are you raising funds for?  EVERYTHING right?!?  Well, just about. 

Many teams need to fundraise to cover costs associated with everything from new equipment and uniforms, to travel expenses, trophies, and end of the season banquets. 

Your fundraising goal and what you are raising money for will determine how much you need to raise.

  • Get Support:

Fundraising is a TEAM effort. Just like your sport of choice, it takes a collective effort.  (Unless someone has a very generous uncle!) haha

  • Promote + T.E.A.C.H.:

Continue to promote your brand (your organization’s message) and T.E.A.C.H. in each collaboration opportunity. Not only will you build a stronger more cohesive unit, it will attract more donors.

  • Celebrate Milestones:

There is no such thing as a Fundraising Glass ceiling! Get creative! (If you came up with a great alternative to a common fundraiser or have a great idea for one, but you’re concerned because it’s never been done… Don’t be shy, GO FOR IT!  You never know until you try!)

  • Be Consistent:

Consistency is key. The more you give, the more you get!

Speaking of planning, this handy dandy Fundraising Value Chart will help you quickly identify which opportunities listed below will match your goals, strategy, and time commitments!

Once you've figured out which fundraisers you want to do, use my Fundraising Planner to help you plan them out!

Okay, let's dive right in...

1.  Blank-A-Thon

 

Materials Needed:

  • Sporting equipment
  • Location to hold event
  • Template to collect pledges

No, it’s not actually called a “blank”-a-thon, more so like I want you to fill in the blank.  For example:

  • Walk-a-thon (track + field)
  • Shoot-a-thon (basketball)
  • Hit-a-thon (baseball/softball)
  • Catch-a-thon (football)
  • Spike-a-thon (volleyball)

As you can see the possibilities are endless…

These Blank-A-Thons typically take Team Mom power and equipment to put together and they have the potential to raise a great deal of money.  The added bonus is in the active engagement of all participants!

How it works:

Team members get pledges from neighbors, friends, and family members. These pledges can be a one-time donation, or a specific amount per activity (ex. Shot, hit, mile walked, etc.). All you need to do is arrange the location; it can be at the usual practice spot, or a special venue (if it’s a part of an event).  You can even invite family and friends to cheer them on!  When the activity is over, athletes collect on the pledges that were made.

Use the Blank-A-Thon Printable to collect pledges!

2. Themed Bake Sale

 

Materials Needed:

  • Baked goods
  • Set-Up: Tables/Chairs/Decor
  • Change for large bills

Bake sales have got to be one of the most frequently sought after fundraisers because they are:

  • Easy (a quick cookie or brownie will always do)
  • Cost Effective (depending on what you are baking up, investment can be less than $5)
  • Fun (enlist the help of your athlete to bake)

Besides, who doesn't love eating all of the yummy goodness?!?

How it works:

Teams recruit the Sideline Society to help out with the heavy lifting – baking everything from cakes and pies, to specialty cookies.  You then set up in front of a grocery store on a Saturday morning or a community event and you’ve got it made!

You can even up the ante and plan a themed bake sale where all of the treats are aligned to a specific theme. 

Think Halloween or Valentine’s Day. 

You can easily decorate the tables and space matching the theme and stand out even more!  The idea is to attract as many people as possible.

True Story: My team once raised over $1,000 in 4 hours when we split the Halloween themed goods among 2 groceries stores on a lovely Saturday morning in October.

Click to Tweet:

Sideline Tip: When fundraising at a bake sale, ask patrons for a donation rather than pricing the items. You will raise more + almost always have left over goodies!

P.S. My Banana Nut Bread recipe is the bomb!  Tweet @ShekeraShekera if you are interested in the recipe… it sells out every time! :)

3. 50/50 Raffle

 

Materials Needed:

  • Roll of Raffle Tickets
  • Jar (to hold the tickets)

Raffles in general are extremely popular, simply because EVERYBODY LIKES TO HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN!  And as popular as they are, they are just as easy to organize.

How it works:

Decide on what tactic you will use to hold your raffle.  Maybe it will be individual based where each athlete takes 10-20 tickets to sell for a set amount each.  Maybe you offer them for sell at each home game where teachers, friends, and family can purchase them.

Each ticket comes with two stubs. One is placed in a jar and the other is kept by the person who bought it. At the end of the fundraiser time frame, someone from the team will pick a winner from the jar at random. The winner is then awarded with get half of all of the money that was collected. The team gets to keep the other half.

You can see how this sounds enticing! :)

4. Rent-a-Team

 

Materials Needed:

  • Any materials needed are typically provided by the “renter”

Here’s another unique fundraiser that’s low on both time commitment and upfront cost; in addition to teaching athletes how to model being a good citizen.

How it works:

You would be surprised how many of your neighbors and local businesses look for a cost-effective helping hand.  Consider “renting” out your team for a couple of hours to shovel snow or rake up leaves.  The large group will get the task done in a ¼ of the time and the donations can really add up!

5. Donations

 

Materials Needed:

  • Team Sponsorship/Donation Proposal or Donation Form

Fact #1: A lot of people donate.  According to Giving USA, “Americans donated an estimated $358.38 Billion to charity in 2014”.  That’s a 60-year high!

Fact #2: “Giving increased in every category of giver (individual, foundation, corporate…)”, Charity Navigator.org.

My point?  People want to give.  They want to donate. 

Case in point: you’re a Team Mom and you’re donating your time right now!

How it works:

Get into the habit of asking for donations for your team.  Many corporations, for example, are required to donate a percentage of their profits to a non-profit organization as per their social responsibility clauses.

Here’s where having a team website can REALLY come in handy.  Set up an online (e-giving) option on your team website to capture any donations.

6. Team Spirit Wear

 

Materials Needed:

  • Team colors
  • Team logo and/or mascot

Spirit wear is one of the easiest items to sell for youth sporting fundraising because EVERYBODY and their mama (pun intended :)) wants to represent their team!

So why not spread the spirit and raise some money at the same time.

Many companies, including local businesses frequently work with youth sports teams to manufacture and sell spirit wear; and specifically for fundraising purposes.  One of the best that I’ve heard about is Win Win Spiritwear.

How it works:

Their super easy + efficient online process allows you to pick your garment and design, control the pricing, and the best part is they don’t have order minimums.

They use your logo/mascot/colors, etc. and even provide a personalized online store just for your team!  You sell, they fulfill and a fundraising check arrives with your order in only 2 weeks!  (Now grandma can represent all the way from Timbuktu!)

Note: It’s important to fundraise in advance of your season, and it’s even more important to plan effectively.  This is especially true for fundraisers that take time to process.  I’d hate to see teams miss out on fundraising opportunities because they didn’t have the items to offer and parents go out and make them on their own!  (I’ve seen it happen too many times before!)


don't forget to download the planner...

It'll help you to plan in advance, and again.. it's super cute!


7. Team Movie Night

 

Materials Needed:

  • Sheet/Jumbo Screen
  • Projector
  • Sports Movie

Everybody loves a good movie.  Combine that with a lovely summer evening, your teammates, and your favorite snacks, and you’ve got yourself a team movie night!

How it works:

  1. Choose a location to host your team movie night. 
  2. You can request permission from your school, a local park, or you can even host it at your house!  
  3. Set up the sheet/screen and projector
  4. Sell tickets to the show. 
  5. Get extra jazzy by setting up a concessions stand (forgo the ticket sales) and enjoy the evening with some of your favorite people while still fundraising.

You can even open it up to your neighborhood or local community, so be sure to advertise! (Why not host a movie-themed bake sale at this event!)

8. Host Your Own Combine

 

Materials Needed:

  • Sport-Specific Equipment
  • Staff / Volunteers
  • Logistics + Marketing Plan

Everybody loves a good competition!

Click to Tweet:

This is such a cool idea and definitely on my fundraising bucket list!

Definition: A combine is an event which tests a combination of several performance characteristics including speed, power, strength, agility, and positional skills.  These measurements are used to evaluate an athlete’s overall skill level relative to their position. – Elite Football Combine

According to Carl Valle, Track and Field Coach at Spikes Only,

“A good combine can make a good profit for fundraising… The combine [is] a great way to showcase performance ability for athletes, but it’s [also] a great way to get everyone involved in the training and preparation process in the area.”
— Carl Valle

How it works:

Form your team to help create the plan.  You will need them to help carry it out:

  1. Create a waiver + decided on a registration fee
  2. Choose which tests to perform (largely sport dependent)
  3. Create Staff/Volunteer Pool
  4. Create Testing Schedule
  5. Promotion + Marketing
  6. Have fun!

Note: You have the ability to make this as fun as you want.  While an official combine takes months to plan, schedule, and organize; you can host your own type of combine that is much more relaxed. 

Trust me the kids will enjoy it either way.

Hosting a combine has so many positives:

  • Athletes can showcase their ability + get objective feedback on their skills
  • An awesome way to fundraise
  • Absolute top way to market your club/organization

Check out this awesome article that lays out the steps in greater detail.

9. Yard Sale

 

Materials Needed:

  • Donated goods
  • Space/Location to set up
  • Poster board signs (for advertising)
  • Change for larger bills

Everybody loves a good yard sale.  It’s one of the most popular things to do on a pretty Saturday or Sunday morning!

How it works:

You can host this at a player’s house (choose one with prime location) or in your school parking lot.  Have players, coaches, administrators, and family members donate unwanted goods.  Sell the items to the community and have the players help with advertising.  Like a bake sale, you get paid instantly!

Don’t forget to hop on social media and advertise up to a week before.  You can even post your event on Craigslist yard sale boards!

10. Coaches vs. Players Challenge

 

Materials Needed:

  • Sporting equipment
  • Location to hold event
  • Template to collect sponsor pledges

Hosting a match between the coaches and players or students and teachers is always fun.  Not to mention the winners will have bragging rights for the season!

How it works:

  1. Coaches and players sign up for the challenge
  2. Coaches and players secure sponsors
  3. Game on!

Similar to the Blank-A-Thon, a location needs to be arranged, and sponsors are secured with a one-time donation.  However, in this case the donation is made up-front (or upon entry to the game).  Instruct all participants to be sure to invite their sponsor to attend the big game to cheer them on.

Don’t forget to set-up a concession stand for added value!

Modify my template below to keep track of sponsors!

11. Partner with a Unique Brand

 

Materials Needed:

  • Team colors
  • Team logo/mascot
  • Sponsorship Proposal

People come up with unique products and ideas every day, all for the purpose of selling them and adding value to the lives of others.

How it works:

Take the time to research local small businesses in your area.  This may result to being a product, retail store, or restaurant.  Whatever type of business they do, I can guarantee that they would be more than happy to partner with a local sports club to raise some money and market their company.

In my search I came across a company called Cheerbacks.

“Cheerbacks isn’t your typical fundraiser, and chances are no one at your school [or team] has seen anything like it. That will make it easier to sell. 

Cheerbacks are chair jerseys that fit over the top of the folding chairs that moms and dads use to watch their children play on the field. The jerseys will match your team uniforms and can be personalized with the names of each team player.” – Sports Mom Survival Guide

12. Food Trucks

 

Materials Needed:

  • Event with lots of hungry sports fans
  • Variety of Food Trucks
  • Fundraising Contract

Having a good-sized shindig?  Everybody has to eat, and food trucks are all the rage!

How it works:

With an incredible variety of cuisines to satisfy your palette you can invite a wide range of trucks depending on how big your event is.  In return for the invitation, many food truck owners will split the proceeds!

Simply research local food trucks in your area and reach out to them.  Let them know the event details such as:

  • Date + Time
  • Location
  • Approximate Guest Size

Don’t forget to mention that it’s a fundraiser so you can get a percentage of total sales back!

13. Customized Elite Socks

 

Materials Needed:

  • Team colors
  • Team logo/mascot

Ever since Nike’s Elite Socks hit the scene that’s all any athlete wants to wear!  My kids love to wear them, and I know yours do too. 

And you can’t blame them, they are of incredible quality, the extra padding makes them extremely comfortable, they wick moisture like nobody’s business and can fit just about any personality!

Just in case you were wondering… yes, I do have a pair! haha

How it works:

Find a reputable company that customizes elite socks. 

Sideline Tip: they don’t have to be Nike brand, but just make sure they are a quality sock.

In most cases, they will have some sort of fundraising program already in place.  Because they too know how popular these socks are!  A quick search brought up this company.

Whomever you decide to go with, the company rep should walk you step-by-step through the process for designing and creating the socks.  Depending on your budget to start, you may proof and order the socks before you begin collecting orders, or the process may be reversed.  However you decide, general profit margin is about $5-7 per pair!

P.S. This fundraiser is perfect for any sport.

 
 

14. Team Yearbook

 

Materials Needed:

  • Lots of pictures of your team taken throughout the season

Here’s another one of those fundraisers that are on my bucket list for this season!  Especially with this being our last season in travel football, I definitely want a place to house the memories.  You will too!

How it works:

Be prepared with digital photos of the team throughout the season.  Start the process by finding a well-known photo book vendor, such as Shutterfly, or a specialty vendor, like this one.  Depending on the vendor and size of the final product, books can range from $8.95 to $50+, so plan carefully so you can maximize your profit margin.

Plan in advance of your season starting so you can enlist the help of a team parent who is good at taking pictures, and will agree to do so throughout the season.

By the end of the season you can compile the pictures from the games, picture day and various events for a team yearbook!  Orders can even be picked up during the team banquet.

Orders should be placed at the beginning of the season, unless you are dependent on fundraising proceeds to cover the costs.

Depending on how active your team is over the season you should have many pages of good times and it will become a cherished memory for your athlete.

15. Discount Cards

 

Materials Needed:

I have to admit; discount card fundraisers were not my favorite.  It always seemed like there were too many establishments that nobody ever heard of, so the buyer wasn’t actually getting value out of a sale.

WELL THAT WAS THEN, AND THIS IS NOW…

How it works:

These days this company not only personalizes the card with your team name and mascot; but they also allow you to choose both local and national restaurants and retailers to be listed on your cards.  The cards are typically $15 or $20 and profit is at least 50% and up to 93%, and can be used repetitively for up to a year.

I’m talking:

  • Chick-Fil-A
  • Potbelly's
  • Auntie Anne's
  • Pizza Hut
  • TGI Friday's
  • Starbucks
  • Chipotle
  • Popeyes
  • Papa Johns
  • Olive Garden
  • Cheesecake Factory
  • Cold Stone
  • Five Guys
  • Subway
  • Dominoes
  • Joe's Crab Shack
  • IHOP
  • Sports Authority
 

I’m sure you get my point… sorry… my excitement got me a little carried away there! Haha

16. Restaurant Fundraiser

 

Materials Needed:

Everyone needs to eat! So, fill that need and raise it with the opportunity to earn money from the profits of a local restaurant and you have a win-win situation!

How it works:

Many restaurants will share 10-20% of total sales with your organization. Simply set up a night with the restaurant and get as many people to eat at that particular restaurant on the designated date and time frame! Here is a short list of some restaurants that do this fundraiser:

  • Applebee's
  • Boston Market
  • California Pizza Kitchen
  • California Tortilla
  • Chick-Fil-A
  • Chili's
  • Chipotle
  • Panda Express
  • Panera Bread
  • Uno's Pizzeria
  • TGI Friday's

So, there you have it. 

16 unique and fun fundraising ideas that will not only crush your goals this season, but will have your sideline raving with excitement for more!  

If you have any awesome fundraising ideas, feel free to share them in the comment section below.

But before you go... Click here to Download This Blog Post and get this pretty Fundraising Planner in the process!

sideline link recap:

free printables:

Don't forget to, come on over to our Private FB group for Sports Moms + Team Moms where the discussion + support is ongoing!

Until next time.  Keep hacking that sideline!