7 wallet-friendly fundraising ideas for youth sports teams
While going door-to-door selling cookie dough and discount cards is a traditional method of raising money, it’s not always the most efficient way for your youth sports team to meet its fundraising goal. Refresh your strategy with these 7 fundraising ideas for youth sports teams.
1. Host a skills clinic
It’s every young athlete’s dream to hang out with the pros for a few magical hours. So, host a sports clinic for the whole community. Reach out to high school, college, minor, and major league teams in your area and see if they’ll lend their time for a training session. They may also offer up their field or court for a truly memorable fundraising event.
We recommend holding multiple clinics on different days and letting parents register their children online. That way, you’ll maximize convenience and your fundraising dollars. Your sports team members — and other sports fans in the community — won’t want to miss the opportunity to bond with experienced athletes. And your clinic volunteers will learn the value of giving back to younger players (aka, future all-stars).
2. Open a concession stand
“Get your popcorn here!” Concession stands are a must for any game, as well as a no-stress way to earn money all year long. You can purchase popular, low-cost fundraising products — like candy bars, chips, pickles, water bottles, and ingredients for hot dogs — from wholesalers online.
Then, take your snacks to the people. Have family members and friends run a table or booth at your team’s games and tournaments. Or, set up shop at a nearby community center to get even more customers.
Another lucrative option? You may be able to sell your concession rights to a local franchise. For example, a sandwich shop could have a stand at your Little League games and donate a portion of sales to your team. It’s got to be worth their while, so this strategy works best if your games have a healthy game turnout and your attendees come hungry.
3. Hold a family and friends game night
Game night is a huge family tradition and it also makes for a fun and affordable sports fundraiser.
All you need to do is gather a stack of family-friendly games, set them all out in a large space, like an auditorium or gym, and let the good times roll.
Sell tickets for individuals and groups that include unlimited access to games. Or, do things carnival-style and charge a certain amount of tickets per game. For instance, have tickets cost 50 cents, and then charge 7 tickets for Life, 5 tickets for corn hole, and 3 tickets for Twister. It’s a good idea to offer games and activities that take different amounts of time to play so attendees have some variety.
Want to bump up the competition? Turn this event into a pay-to-play board game tournament. Local businesses may be willing to donate winning prizes like gift cards or products if you send a compelling donation request.
4. Sell team merchandise
Sports legends aren’t the only ones who can make money on merchandise. You can design official team swag that has long-time fans and uninitiated community members both clamoring to buy. Plus, team merchandise has the added benefit of raising awareness about your team or nonprofit cause, like this annual softball team fundraiser for breast cancer.
Websites like Custom Ink and SquadLocker make it easy to choose or create a custom design and apply it to a variety of products, so you have plenty of fundraising options. Here are some merchandise ideas:
- Sportswear: Team jerseys, T-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants, hats
- Game gear: Folding chairs, blankets, umbrellas, totes, coolers, mugs, balls
- Super fan gear: Flags, pompoms, face painting kit, bumper stickers, car decals
Don’t forget to create hype by sharing pictures of your players and fans modeling their new gear on your fundraising page. You can also have players autograph a few items and raffle them off or sell them to promote the store.
5. Take over a restaurant
If you’re looking for seriously easy fundraising ideas for youth sports teams, look no further than a restaurant fundraiser. It’s simple. First, you’ll find a local restaurant to host your event. Many eateries, from hole-in-the-wall spots to national chains, will agree to donate at least 10-20% of your fans’ meal purchases to your campaign. Some restaurants will even agree to give you a portion of the entire day’s sales.
Next, you’ll set a date for your restaurant spirit night (or day) and spread the word to your team’s family members, friends, and fans. Promote the event using social media, email, and fundraising flyers, and then collect your earnings after everyone’s chowed down.
6. Secure a team sponsorship
Ever heard of the AT&T Stadium, Coca-Cola Park, or Mercedes-Benz Superdome? Businesses and nonprofit organizations love to get their name out there, and sponsoring a sports team is one of the best ways to do so. The good news is that you don’t need to offer an entire stadium to get sponsored. Many companies will pay for team equipment, sports camps, and more in exchange for their name on your team uniforms or a few social media ads.
And, contrary to what you might think, you don’t have to have the best sports program in town to get a sponsorship. All you need to do is be specific about how much money you need and make a strong case about the value of advertising with your team.
To get started, we recommend reading our guide to writing a donation request letter. You can also include points from this list of reasons to sponsor a youth sports team in your request letter or phone script.
7. Hold a flower bulb sale
A flower bulb sale may not leap to mind when you’re searching for fundraising ideas for youth sports teams, but it actually lines up perfectly with the athletic season. When sports like basketball, football, baseball, and soccer are starting up in the fall and spring, gardeners are beginning to plant their flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
Timing is half the battle with fundraising, so this unique sports fundraiser could be just the thing you need to grab attention and make some “green.” There are a couple of different ways you can run this campaign:
Work with a wholesale flower retailer. Take bulb orders ahead of time and place the order online when your campaign is over. With this method, there are no upfront costs, you get access to a wider variety of plants, and the company handles shipping. Keep in mind that the cost of the bulbs will be subtracted from your profit later.
Request donations from nurseries and landscaping stores. Promote the flowers you’ve received online and arrange pick-up and shipping. Or, set up a stand in a convenient location and sell flowers in person. With this method, your bulbs are completely free, so you may see higher profits. However, you could have a limited quantity and less variety.
Need more fundraising ideas for youth sports teams?
You’ve now got 7 unique sports fundraising ideas, plus simple tips on how to make each one a success for your team. Keep reading to discover more fun and effective ways to raise money:
- 22 fundraising ideas for sports teams, including crowdfunding, shoot-a-thons, walkathons, and mascot games
- 9 unique and easy fundraising ideas for small groups, including mystery games, movie marathons, and costumed car washes
- 25 fantastic elementary school fundraising ideas, including haunted houses, garage sales, and silent auctions