Fundraising for Softball – Part 1

It’s that time again. The onset of a new season is upon us. This means two things. Teams and parents are looking for money to support their daughters passion AND parents are frantically clinging to their pocketbooks. Softball is an expensive sport, there is no doubt.

With so  many softball fundraising options, it can be hard to figure out where to start. In order to help, Softball is For Girls will post a series of posts over the next few weeks to help teams and parents achieve their fundraising goal.

First and foremost, it is important that teams have a parent meeting to discuss costs and fundraising. Additionally, we advise that you get every parent involved in the fundraising. One or two adults shouldn’t work their butts off for the benefit of others that just sit back and reap the rewards. Fundraising help should be an expectation – UNLESS the parents who don’t want to be involved are willing to just hand over a check for their daughter’s portion.

The next step is to figure out how much money your team needs.  Round off to the high-end. Include everything from photography, and team uniforms (including pick-up jerseys and coaches shirts) to tourney costs. Then add about $400 dollars to that amount for balls and insurance and various sanction fees that you will incur. Divide that by how many players you have and you then have a fundraising goal. Parents can either write a check for the amount, or fundraising can begin.

The easiest first step to fundraising is to get on the phone and talk to businesses that you deal with on a regular basis. Most of us know one or two businesses, or work with a few businesses that may be willing to hand over a check.  In most cases, these donations of support are tax-deductible for the companies. You can also set donation tiers, and include those that donate $100 or more on your team banner. That being said, never turn away the smaller $25 donations as if each player on the team got one or two, they too can really add up.

If businesses don’t want to hand over money, then ask for product or gift cards. These gift cards and products can be used in a raffle style fundraising effort. For instance, if you can get the donation of a high ticket item like an Ipad, or a television, you can bulk the smaller donations together for your raffle. As odd as it may seem, another great item to raffle is a gun. You will then need to give yourself about 4-6 weeks to sell the tickets (have them printed professionally) and come up with a dollar amount (minus your costs) for each ticket. Generally, a $5-$10 dollar raffle price is sufficient to make a decent amount of money. You can also do a simple cash raffle. If you have 500 tickets that cost $5 each, the prize could be $500 – $1000 and your profit would be the rest. Most folks will happily and easily pay $5 for a raffle ticket.

When selling tickets, get your team involved! Not only should parents and adults take the raffle tickets to work, but set up your team in uniform at a local business in the town they represent and have them sell tickets to passerby’s. Make sure they remain respectful toward others as they are representing your team. Also, family members that live far away or close by will normally not mind helping out by purchasing a raffle ticket. You can also ask a tournament director to see if you can sell tickets at fast-pitch tourney that you are playing in.

Another fundraising idea is to host a friendly tournament. You first need to find fields that you can either rent, or where time can be donated. Then get in touch with umpires and see how much they would charger per game. These will be your costs. The next step is to personally invite teams and coaches to come and play. At the beginning of the season many teams are looking for friendlies, and low-cost tournaments to play in so they can figure out where their team stands. Charge $150 – $225 per team (depending on tourney costs in your area). Make sure that your team is available that day to run the concession stands, do field maintenance and has items to sell on hand that your team can profit from. Also, ask businesses such as Wal-Mart to donate concession items. While there is a lot of work and planning involved this is a FUN way to earn money, and you might be surprised how much you can profit in a day. Also, some of the smaller tournament leagues in your area may allow you to ‘host’ a tournament where they give your team part of the proceeds.

Many teams also look into fundraising with companies like 31, Coca Cola, Yankee Candle, Nestle Corporation (chocolate bars) Papa Johns Pizza, Cookie dough companies and other local companies. These companies will give you products to sell and enable you to keep part of the sales as a commission to your team. When looking to collaborate, make sure that you will NOT be charged for products that you didn’t sell and that they don’t have a maximum number of sales in order to earn money. Companies like Papa Johns Pizza offer $10 pizza cards for around $2 in bulk, which means you make $8 per card. The key is looking for useful products that will benefit families the most. When you find a useful fundraising product, (in other words, something they will likely buy anyways) you will earn more profits.

Again, get everyone on board with fundraising to maximize your team’s success. When a team puts their minds and efforts together, softball certainly doesn’t have to break the bank.

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