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.
Luckily, we have plenty of low-cost, high-performance fundraising ideas to get your team members across the finish line. Take your pick of our 22 sports fundraising events, campaigns, and opportunities.
22 fundraising ideas for sports teams
Whether your fundraising goal is $500 or $5,000, a successful campaign 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.
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. You’re sure to attract more fans and donors if you livestream the game.
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 many times as you want. Don’t forget to create a highlight reel to share on social media.
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.
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 old high school, 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 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 all Babe Ruth wannabes and have them set up an online 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.
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. (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 home run contest.
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.
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. If there’s 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
There’s no shortage of runners these days, so 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. In one example, 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 come up with 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 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 scoring 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
After the candy bar sales come the magazine sales, then the Girl Scout cookies, then the gourmet popcorn and candles. 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.
Knock fundraising out of the park 💥
Now that you have a roster jam-packed with fundraising ideas for sports teams, choose a free platform that helps you coordinate campaigns with ease.
Givebutter is specifically 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:
- Member dues
- Fundraising pages
- Events and tickets
- Community updates
Explore our sports teams page to see how 1,000+ schools and sports clubs raise money for equipment, travel expenses, and nonprofit work without breaking a sweat.
Rachel is a fundraising and marketing consultant for nonprofits whose aspiration since she was 16-years-old is simply this: help others, help others.