Fundraising. It’s not just for “extras” anymore.
Youth sports are still waiting to return to play in many parts of the country, and that means youth sports organizations are missing out on more than opportunities to practice and compete. They’re missing out on income they need to survive.
Even back in the spring, the industry worried that the pandemic could spell financial disaster. No one could have predicted that the pandemic would still be in full swing so many months later. Yet here we are. It’s not only summer sports that felt the effects, it’s now winter sports, too.
Leagues and teams are indeed struggling
It takes a lot of money to run a high quality YSO, funding that comes from player registration fees but also from other sources. Those other sources can be critical.
And while income has all but dried up for many organizations, there are still bills to pay. Operating costs are lower, to be sure, without direct play-related expenses. But organizations still need money to stay in business. Even when play resumes, it will probably be without fans in the stands, so you still won’t be able to count on revenue usually generated from game day concession and spirit wear sales.
This is not news to anyone who manages a youth sports program. But there is some good news.
Your community wants to help!
We all start out as spectators and fans. It’s how we get interested in the details of the game. It’s how we start to feel that sense of belonging to a team – being part of something bigger than ourselves – even if we never go on to play on a formal team.
It’s why parents and community fans are as anxious as coaches and the kids for your teams to return to play. We know that day is getting closer, but it is so hard to wait! Will your program still be there for the kids?
Don’t sit around waiting and worrying, raise money now!
The Elmira Sugar Kings did just that. They decided to take action to support their league while waiting to hit the ice sometime after New Year’s. So they’re selling custom decorated T-shirts as Christmas gifts.
Hmmmm.... Fundraising. Custom T-shirts. Your SquadLocker store. Now there’s a dream team.
Holding a “save our YSO” fundraiser gets everyone engaged in doing something that has real, immediate value. And selling spirit wear has automatic appeal, so your fundraising won’t miss a play. Fans and families want to help, just as they always do. Athletes, too.
In fact, you can reach out to anyone and everyone, including those who would not normally attend games in person – grandparents, etc. who might live half-way across the country, or community members who know how important sports are to local youth.
Your organization can earn life-saving revenue. And everyone who supports your fundraiser gets some great new apparel they can wear to continue showing their support (and, dare we say, look darn good doing it).
Make it fun, whatever your sport or play season
The Sugar Kings timed their fundraiser to coincide with Christmas, but you don’t need a holiday because being a fan is always in season, 365 days a year. Nonetheless, it might be fun to set a theme that reflects the purpose of this request for contributions:
- “Iced in 2020, Back on the Ice in 2021”
- “All in for Youth Soccer”
- “We Won’t Forfeit to COVID-19”
What else can you do?
Create new artwork
Creating special artwork just for this fundraiser is a great idea. Everyone will want your limited-time-only spirit wear. And, something even more engaging? Ask for design or slogan suggestions from your community, maybe hold a contest for the top design. If you don't go that route, or don't have any creatives in your midst, SquadLocker offers free art services, and can help you create a custom design for your fundraising spirit wear.
Set a monetary goal
Set a monetary goal, and then spread the word about your fundraiser. Be sure to explain why your organization needs the money. You’d be surprised how many people don’t realize you have ongoing costs, whether or not the kids are playing. Letting your community know what your goals are and what you're fundraising for helps them feel more involved, and become more invested in your organization's success.
Keep everyone updated via social media and texts
Let your community know as spirit wear sells and funds are raised, bringing you ever closer to your goal. And, be sure to thank them for their part in helping your organization fundraise! Your could even include a counter on your organization's website and update it regularly with the amount you've raised. Thanks to the dashboard on your SquadLocker store, it’s easy to track fundraising information and see your progress at a glance.
Who knows how long it will be before your teams finally, fully, return to play? For now, fundraising can help keep your program afloat and keep your athletes, families and community fans actively involved. And that’s a pretty big win.
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