November 7, 2017

How to Run a Successful Basketball Fundraiser

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How to Run a Successful Basketball Fundraiser

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in America, whether you’re talking about recreational leagues, high school basketball, adult leagues or professional ball. Of course, many teams wish they had more money, and this can be a particular concern for high schools. One way to address the issue to hold a basketball fundraiser, but not all fundraisers are created equally. Here’s a look at how to run a successful basketball fundraiser.

How to Get Started

The first step is to identify your goals. For example, how much money do you need to raise and why? What does the budget for the basketball fundraiser look like? It can be risky to set your sights too low or too high, so aim for the higher end of what you think you can realistically raise.

Another early step is to identify your champions. They are high-profile people in the school and/or community who help promote the fundraiser and solicit sponsorships. Often, they’re on the fundraising committee and may even serve as chairpersons. However, they usually don’t do everyday tasks. For a basketball fundraiser, potential champions could include:

  • Former players for the team who are in high standing (for example, current pros, car dealership owners, politicians, pastors)
  • The coaches
  • High-profile parents
  • Businesspeople

You also need to identify your target audience(s). Who will you solicit donations from? Do the general income demographics make sense for the level of money you want to raise?

Who to Target for Sponsorships

One good fundraising move is to establish multiple avenues for raising money. Suppose your main idea is to have a haunted house at the high school during a weekend in October and sell tickets for $10 apiece. That’s a good idea, but you could do more. For instance, you could sell food and drinks on site and even have a silent auction.

Another lucrative approach is to target certain groups for sponsorships. Many times, your champions will be associated with a business that is happy to serve as a sponsor. One of the parents, for example, may own a pizza restaurant. The restaurant could serve as a sponsor and get mentioned on a prominent banner. Likewise, if a pro player is one of your champions, his or her team might even be willing to help out.

Of course, there’s no reason to only target businesses your champions are associated with. When you contact outside organizations, highlight what they stand to receive, such as community goodwill and visibility that can translate into an enhanced image and increased sales. Good bets are:

  • Groups that fit naturally with basketball (for example, a sporting goods store, a prominent basketball website, a gym)
  • Businesses that fit well with your main fundraising idea
  • Businesses near the school or that are frequented by the target audience
  • Organizations that are known for being good sponsors

How to Contact Sponsors

It can take a lot of time to write letters or emails asking for sponsorship and to identify the people you want to touch base with. Make your efforts personable. Instead of saying, “Dear ABC Gym,” look up the name of the gym manager and use his or her name in the letter. Explain the purpose of your fundraiser and how the gym would benefit from helping out.

Give businesses and individuals the opportunity to contact you too. For instance, if you have a website for the haunted house, include information for interested sponsors/donors to get in touch.

Give your potential sponsors options. This way, you can gather a broad range of businesses and raise even more money. A business that donates $1,000 might get mentioned on the team’s blog, receive a prominent banner near the haunted house line and be awarded two season tickets. A business donating $100 might get just a small but still effective banner. Establish names and levels for each sponsorship tier.

How to Get Parents of Players Involved with Selling

Parents are some of the best champions your team will ever have, and whatever you’re selling, be it candy, haunted house tickets, sponsor banners or socks, they are among your top salespeople. Of course, while many parents jump at the opportunity to help out, some don’t. Their apparent lack of interest can be frustrating, but never try to guilt them into helping. It’ll likely backfire. First, be sure they even know about the fundraiser, and second, be transparent. Explain why the fundraiser is necessary and how it will benefit the parents and their children.

Furthermore, you can explore avenues that don’t necessarily require time or even effort. In the case of a haunted house fundraiser, you could ask parents to buy yard signs advertising the event and to simply stick the signs in their yard. Similarly, you could ask each team parent to take, say, 20 flyers and distribute them at work or wherever they want.

Another approach is to provide an incentive. For instance, say that advance tickets to the haunted house are 25 percent off the on-site price, and you’d like to give each parent 20 tickets to sell. Any parent who sells their allotment could be eligible for a reward such as a free night’s stay at a bed and breakfast an hour outside of town.

The Takeaway

Running a successful high school basketball fundraiser often requires two main things: sponsorships and parental involvement. Identify your goals early in the process, and give your sponsors and parents varied participation options.

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