Spirit Wear & The 6 Pillars of League Fundraising

This is a guest post from Jay Whitehead of LeagueNetwork Magazine.

Here are two facts that are always front and center in conversations with youth team or league managers. First, 80% of youth league managers tell us at LeagueNetwork Magazine that their league faces a $1,000 to $50,000 budget shortfall every year, which requires them to fundraise.  Second, 87% of youth league managers we've surveyed say there is one task they dislike the more than any other: fundraising.

And any study of youth league fundraising will show you that leagues today are using 6 different tools to raise funds, in the following order:

1) Crowdfunding,

2) Uniform sponsorships,

3) Spirit Wear,

4) Product sales (think candy or beef jerky)

5) In-store donations, aka donation-with-purchase

6) Events or banquets that often include raffles.


Each of these 6 tools has positives and negatives. 

For today, let's just focus on one, Spirit Wear, which is team or league-logo apparel worn by players or coaches or parents, but not game uniforms. Hoodies, sweats, jackets, t-shirts, hats are all popular Spirit Wear types. 

Spirit Wear is often branded apparel, featuring quality names such as UnderArmour, Adidas, Nike, Champion, Saucony, Easton.  As a result, Spirit Wear is typically a bit more expensive than uniforms.  For this reason, the amount of the retail price available to help leagues with fundraising is limited. For example, if a branded hoodie's base price is $50, buyers may pay an extra $10 or $15 for a Spirit Wear piece that contributes to fundraising, which brings the retail price up to $60 or $65.  But try to mark the item up $50, making the retail price $100, and you lose the sale.  


As a result, few teams or leagues can meet their entire fundraising requirement with Spirit Wear.  But because Spirit Wear pieces are cherished by their owners, they are an important piece of a league or team's money-raising puzzle.

But the old way of managing Spirit Wear--where the team or league managers takes orders, collects money, submits orders, takes delivery and handles distribution--is now being automated (by companies such as Squadlocker).  This automation makes the life of a team or league manager much more tolerable.   Call it the era of mobile Spirit Wear, where leagues and teams can raise 10% to 20% extra without ever having to touch an order or a check.  Check it out.

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