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Win big with 25 fundraising ideas for sports teams

Sports teams rely on a steady stream of funds to afford the gear and training resources they need. This is where fundraising ideas for sports teams come in!

Rachel Mills
July 27, 2022
August 13, 2020
Nerd Mr Butter

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Sports teams rely on a steady stream of funds to afford the gear and training resources they need. And as exciting as tournaments, trips, and championships are, their costs can become a major opponent.

We have plenty of low-cost, high-performance fundraising ideas to get your team members across the finish line. Take your pick of our 25 sports fundraising events, campaigns, and opportunities.

25 fundraising ideas for sports teams

A sports team fundraiser doesn’t need to be complicated to succeed. In fact, the best fundraising ideas for sports teams are easy to understand, have a clear, concrete goal, and capture the energy and passion of the sport itself. They can even double as a team-building event! Let’s take a look at 25 fundraising ideas that do just that.

1. Mascot game 🦁

This hilarious and silly fundraising idea is perfect for sports fundraising. First, a few members of your team need costumes. Use the mascot for your team, school, or city, or rent mascot suits from a costume shop. You can also put together creative get-ups using bits and pieces of Halloween costumes.

Then, choose the game. For example, the mascots could play against each other in a baseball fundraiser or a golf tournament. Invite community members and family members to purchase tickets and watch mascots battle it out. This event is great for raising money and raising awareness of sports team on social media, and you’re sure to attract more fans and donors if you livestream the game.

2. Shoot-a-thon 🏀

In this fast-paced sports fundraiser, each contestant pays a small entry fee to put their skills to the test. Put 30 seconds on the clock and see how many baskets each competitor can make. You can also challenge participants to secure a pledge from their friends and family, such as $5 per basket.

Up the ante and make this a team fundraiser between local school teams. All you need is a couple of basketballs and a hoop, so you can repeat this easy fundraising idea as often as you want. 

3. Pump-a-thon 🏋️

This is similar to a shoot-a-thon, but participants instead pump iron with purpose. Hold a weightlifting fundraiser that raises money by raising the bar. Find out who can (safely) lift the most weight by curling, deadlifting, or squatting. Or, you can skip the weights and make it a push-up, pull-up, or sit-up contest. Just make sure you have spotters on hand.

4. Cheer off 📣

Dust off the pom-poms for this sports team fundraising event. Rally the local high school cheerleading squads for a pepped-up cheerleading competition. You can use your local gym or community center to host this cheerful fundraising effort—each squad pays a team fee to compete. 

Raise funds by selling audience tickets and have attendees use text-to-donate to vote for their favorite routines. Cheerleading squads won’t want to miss competing for titles such as “Most Spirit,” “Best Vocals,” or “Most Creative.”

5. Players vs. parents scrimmage 💪

Rally your biggest fan base and challenge parents to a scrimmage game with this sports fundraising idea. Put the parents of players on one team and players on the other, blow the whistle, and go! Softball, baseball, basketball—any low-contact sport will work. A players vs. parents scrimmage is a fundraising winner because, at its core, it’s a fun-filled family day. Keep fundraising simple and accessible by asking for a small donation per participant or per family.

6. Alumni night 👋

Wine and dine the alumni from your high school or college with an evening event. Sell tickets to an all-inclusive dinner before a big game, and recognize them at half-time. Alumni love to feel special when they visit their alma mater, and engaging with them makes them more likely to donate to their old sports teams when asked.

7. T-shirt sale 👕

No team fundraiser would be complete without a T-shirt sale, and school sports teams are prime candidates. Parents, teachers, faculty, and classmates can never have enough spirit wear. Senior night T-shirts, homecoming weekend T-shirts, alumni T-shirts—the list goes on.

Customize T-shirts with your team logo, personalize them with names and numbers, and raise money while promoting school pride. Encourage supporters to give a specific amount by offering a free T-shirt, as done at this Ragin' Cajun Racing team fundraiser.

8. Home run contest ⚾️

Put out the call for Babe Ruth aspirers and have them set up a peer-to-peer fundraising page that’s connected to your sports team’s main fundraising campaign. Each contestant should take pledges for the number of home runs they’ll hit or raise a flat amount for participating. Make it BYOB (bring your own bat or baseballs) to keep costs low. Or, recruit a local business to sponsor the sports fundraising event in exchange for publicity.

There are lots of ways to adapt this fundraising idea for your sports team. This can look like a “Driving Range Derby” for golfers or a “Sudden Death Shoot-out” for soccer or hockey players.

9. Celebrity guest 🤩

Are you near a minor or major league team? If so, see if you can score a few hours with a player. Contact their public relations department and ask if any players would be willing to attend your fundraising event (Pro tip: Have a compelling pitch ready!). You could hold an exclusive dinner and have them speak about their career or throw the first pitch of your homerun contest.

Plus, a little star status goes a long way. Local businesses will jump at the opportunity to sponsor an event with a celebrity guest. Your event will also appeal to fans outside your network, so your donations will get a strong boost from a larger audience. For inexpensive, crowd-attracting fundraising ideas for sports teams, this is hard to beat.

10. Candy bar sale 🍫

A tried and true campaign, selling candy is one fundraising idea for sports teams that seems to work year-round. Wholesale suppliers offer candy bars and sweet treats at a steep discount, so it’s easy to make a profit. Be sure to brainstorm ways to incorporate your candy sales into seasonal holidays like Valentine’s Day and community events like a summer movie night.

11. A little alliteration ✌️

Fundraisers love alliterative events like “Pinot Noir for Point Guards” or “Sweaters for Soccer.” A little wordplay communicates the who, what, and why of your campaign in milliseconds. And a catchy fundraising title is much more memorable than “West High Soccer Fall Fundraiser.” That means potential supporters are less likely to scroll by your event.

One alliterative idea—host “Burgers for Baseball” and partner with a local restaurant, so 15% of every burger purchased benefits your little league team.

12. Bowl-a-thon 🎳

Rent a bowling alley, ask participants to gather pledges for an all-you-can-bowl night, and watch donations roll in. Have them collect donations per pin knocked over or a flat donation to help support your cause. Supercharge your fundraising effort by offering ticket holders the option to add a donation to their ticket fees.

13. Student vs. teacher showdown 📚

Another fundraising option is to raffle off the chance to skip class and join student vs. teacher games. Organize relay races, obstacle courses, and brain teasers at your high school, middle school, or elementary school. With enough demand, you can expand this fundraising event into a full-on student vs. teacher field day.

14. Sponge toss 🧽

Add a “wet sponge” fundraising campaign to the idea above for a wacky day at school kids will remember. This idea works on its own, too. Charge $1 a sponge, and let students throw them at each other in the gym during a pep rally.

15. Shave for the cause 🪒

Enlist prominent teachers, popular coaches, your sports team members, or other willing students for this bizarre-but-beloved fundraising contest. Then, set up personal donation pages for each participant.

The person (or people, if you choose) with the most donations at the end of the competition will have their hair shaved off in front of the whole school. Schedule the big chop during a pep rally before a major game, or save it for the end of the semester.

16. Marathon challenge 👟

A 5K or walk-a-thon is certain to attract local and regional talent and bring in donations. Sell per-person tickets, or require would-be contestants to raise a specific amount of money to participate. Either way, you can’t go wrong with an inspiring athletic challenge. For example, the children’s organization Kol HaNearim raised nearly $50,000 through a single-day marathon.

17. Ask for what you need 🙋‍♀️

You don’t always need to create a never-before-seen event to motivate people to give. Sometimes, you only need a straightforward ask for donations from your network. This is called crowdfunding. A crowdfunding campaign is basically cost-free because you can coordinate everything from your online fundraising page. Share your story, describe your goal, and then give the power to the people.

18. Food truck smorgasbord 🌮

Invite food trucks to the Friday night lights, and ask them in return to donate a portion of all food sales (typically 10–20%) to your sports team. Many food trucks would be happy to set up at a local high school game, especially if you anticipate a good crowd. And, attendees get to enjoy a break from the typical concession stand foods like popcorn, nachos, and candy.

19. Team sponsorship 🤝

One of the best fundraising ideas for sports teams is to secure a sponsor. Sponsorships provide more consistent season-to-season funding without the need for constant campaigns. Another positive? You can ask sponsors for a wide range of donations. Generally, sponsors advertise on jerseys, in programs, or on stadium banners. However, your sponsor may be fine with a few social media mentions.

Restaurants, food pantries, doctors, attorneys, and mechanics could all be potential sponsors. Find a company or individual who shares the same values or mission as your team, and strike up a conversation. Brush up on some tips for how to score a sponsorship before you reach out.

20. Mini-golf tournament ⛳️

This fundraising idea takes the classic golf tournament and adds a bit of whimsy. With a miniature golf tournament, the aim is more fun than form. Assemble teams to compete for the best score, and use a free fundraising platform like Givebutter to manage entry fees, handle check-in, and provide attendees with real-time updates on who’s in the lead.

21. Pay you not to ask me again 🙉

Between all the different sports teams and school clubs, parents and supporters get hit with multiple fundraising requests each year. Make your team the exception by asking for a simple, one-time cash donation.

Offer supporters the option to provide one big check or online donation via PayPal, Venmo, Google Pay, or Apple Pay. The most important piece here is reassurance. Come up with a reasonable donation request, and if donors meet it, let them know you won’t ask again all year.

22. March Madness watch party 🍿

Raise money for your team of athletes while cheering on your favorite NCAA teams. Take advantage of your area’s community center, school auditorium, or local gym to host a March Madness watch party.

You’ll need to set up a few TVs or projectors, and it’s a good idea to offer light drinks and snacks. A local restaurant may be willing to cater at a discount or donate wings, fries, or drinks to your cause.

Attendees can purchase general admission tickets or upgrade to a food-and-drink ticket for an all-in-one sports event. Even better, you can “replay” this campaign idea for the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, World Series, and more.

23. Fun run, walk, roll—you name it! 🛼

Put a spin on the traditional “fun run” by hosting a choose-your-own-adventure version of this popular fundraiser. Instead of limiting how and when users participate in your annual 5k run or walk, allow users to participate in a virtual endurance event in whatever way works best for them. 

They can walk around their neighborhood, skate at the local park, swim in their backyard pool, or dance around their living room. The options are endless! See how PEER Services raised over $53K in its first-ever virtual endurance event

24. Fitness class 💃 

Host a fitness class fundraiser that’s fun for the entire family. Reach out to local instructors to see if they’d be willing to a donate a class or their time for your sports team’s cause. This event can be done in person or hosted virtually so you don’t have to worry about renting out a space that’s big enough to fit everyone who wants to participate.

Fun and more accessible fitness classes (like beginner’s Zumba) may be just what your supporters want. Or, you may find that your supporters are more interested in a skills clinic for the players. Partner with an area grade school sports club or community center and charge an entry fee for participants to learn with the team.

25. Pool party 💦

Make a splash with this fundraising idea for sports teams. You could rent the community pool for a day or make the most of someone’s backyard. Think water slides, squirt guns, hoses, water balloons, bubble machines—you name it! Charge an entry fee for participants to join the makeshift water park and enjoy this refreshing sports team fundraiser.

Knock fundraising out of the park with Givebutter

Now that you have a roster jam-packed with fundraising ideas for sports teams, choose a free platform that helps you easily coordinate campaigns.

Givebutter is designed to help players—and the coaches, trainers, and parents backing them—raise money as a team. Our features are 100% free and cover all you need for successful fundraising, including:

  • Donations
  • Member dues
  • Fundraising pages
  • Events and tickets
  • Community updates
  • And so much more! 

Sign up for a free Givebutter account today and explore 160+ modern fundraising tools that are easy to use and make giving downright fun.

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