When times are tough financially for schools, park districts and other organizations, sports are frequently one of the first budget items cut. Regardless of the economy, some sports leagues require teams to pay for part or all of their own operations. If you need money to run your team, you have many tried-and-true methods from which to choose.
Auctions And Raffles
Auctions and raffles are a common fundraising method for sports teams. Your first step is to write a list of potential donors. Next, create a plan for promoting those who donate items -- some will donate for the "warm and fuzzy" feeling, while others will donate if it's a good promotional opportunity. Gather items to auction. Have team members solicit friends with businesses or who work at businesses who might donate prizes. Consider services as well as goods. Free dinners, golf foursomes, spa treatments, car leases, sports equipment, pet sitting, house cleaning and electronics are just a few ideas of items you can auction or raffle. Have a written one-sheet to go with a cover letter explaining to potential donors who you are, why you benefit the community, how your raised funds will be used, how the auction or raffle will work and what benefits the donor will receive.
You can raise funds selling items, using a professional fundraising company or generating your own items. Professional fundraising companies offer hundreds of items organizations can sell, such as calendars, leaf bags, candy, wrapping paper, pizza and myriad other items. If you are a high school or college team, consider selling breakfast items at school each morning. You can bake your own items or work with a local bakery or fast food place items to sell their doughnuts or biscuits. Have teammates gather items for a large garage or yard sale. Consider bake sales, alone or with a yard or book sale.
If your team members are very good players at a sport many adults play for fun, consider a Pro/Am, pairing team members with amateurs. This works well for tennis and golf teams because of the smaller numbers, but volleyball, basketball and soccer games may work as well. Amateurs pay a fee to play with your team members, with prizes awarded to winners. Sell food at the event to raise additional funds, or have an after-party or dinner with an auction.
Pancake breakfasts and spaghetti dinners are extremely popular across the country. Work with a facility such as a school cafeteria, church or municipal hall that may let you use their facility. Keep the menu low cost -- a barbecue might be a big draw in your area, but may be too expensive and time consuming. Determine your exact food costs and any facility rental, promotion and other expenses to calculate a per-plate cost for running the event. This will help you set your prices.