Need Fastpitch Softball Funding? Meet ‘WIll Work 4 Dirt’ by SIFG
Softball fundraising is HUGE!
Every year, as coaches and parents are getting their teams together or planning for a world series or showcase event, the tedious task of formulating team dues and costs becomes the focus of the team (and parents) And like most things, each year the costs go up, up, up!
Teams vie for indoor facilities complete with heat or air conditioning, and the newest Boombah uniforms. Then of course, there are bats, and balls, line up cards, gloves and mitts, BATS (BATS BATS AND MORE BATS), tournament and sanction fees, traveling expenses, more uniform and cleat expenses because kids either grow out of them too fast, or they become too worn to wear at games. Team insurance, field rental fees (because long gone are the days where kids can simply practice in a pasture hoping to avoid hitting the big Bull grazing on grass) The list of expenses is endless. And exhausting. And far too often, coaches come out-of-pocket to make up for what the team doesn’t have.
A few weeks ago, we tallied our Facebook crowd to see what they pay for a typical season of travel ball. The answers ranged anywhere from $350 per player to well in excess of $1,500. Much of the cost depends upon where you live and the going cost of tournaments and fees. Higher level and elite teams, although often coming with more influential backing, also have higher fees. And these fees are all team fees, and have nothing to do with the personal expenses that players and their families incur to be at the ballpark for extended periods of time playing ball. (We are stressed just thinking about the $$$$)
The thing is, that often times the car washes and candle sales, yard sales and bake sales, candy bar competitions, laundry soap campaigns, raffles, home run derbies and end up costing the friends and family the most. (Seriously, we just bought $57 worth of magazines that we didn’t need to help our daughter win (5) dollar store prizes) And since the kids don’t normally add to the home income, buying items they are selling only to make the team a 1/4 of the money spent, seems a little pointless. After all, if I am going to buy $40 worth of candles and the team only gets $15, I would rather just donate the full $40 to the team.
The other common way for teams to earn money is to hit the pavement and ask. Ask businesses for a donation. Ask people you know that own businesses to give some money. There are sponsorships EVERYWHERE, (BUT MUCH MORE FOR BASEBALL TEAMS), right – and most businesses have money to give away to help balance earnings. Extended family members also donate money. And many teams resort to bucket begs (SO TOTALLY HATE THESE), hanging out in parking lots or on the side of the road like the Shriners Circus folks to hopefully collect enough change to make a difference in how much families and teams have to put out monetarily.
Here’s are a few things about softball funding. MOST of the time, the people doing most of the fundraising are parents. The people organizing the fundraising are parents. Sure, your kid asked a neighbor to buy some laundry soap, or hit Gramma and Grampa up for some money. Or they washed a car or two at the team car wash. But basically, most of the ‘WORK” comes back to the parents, who already have a pretty darn full plate of obligations and jobs.
Secondly, the vast majority of these kids on the field, whilst they appreciate everything their parents do to enable them to play, don’t really have a full understanding of JUST HOW MUCH PARENTS DO!
We get it, MOST (we say ‘most’ simply to not offend the parents who will be offended by this statement because someone is always offended) 8-17 year olds don’t truly get the idea of earning money, work ethic, or experience true gratitude for what mom and dad and gramma and Aunt Sally do to ensure they can play. IN fact, many just seem to E X P E C T it.
And look, we aren’t calling your kids brats. Kids today are growing up in the immediate satisfaction generation. Plus, WE KNOW that kids lack the whole connection between money and things. (Because we have spent enough time at the ballpark hearing parents whispering NO with frustration to their children who want yet another snack from the concession stand despite $75 worth of food and drinks being bought) We have even been that parent, riding to the ball park in the morning saying, “Hey this is a short week for us so we won’t be going out to LongHorn during the lunch break today” and the kids still ASK to go to LongHorn.
Lastly, and perhaps MOST IMPORTANTLY, we believe that kids can learn to APPRECIATE MORE when they actually do something to EARN what they get. You can tell the kids at the ballpark who have had to save 6 months worth of allowance and grass cutting money to buy the newest bat on the market from the kid who has 2-3 of them in her bat bag.
So……WILL-WORK-4-DIRT – has been launched!
Last summer, OUR OWN TEAM, was given a pretty nice donation to go to the World Series. But instead of simply taking the check and throwing the name of the donater up on the banner, they had to paint the interior of a small, stinky rental house to get it. All paint and supplies were provided, so basically the girls just had to give a few hours of their Sunday afternoon, painting. And paint they did.
They painted 4 rooms (and each other) in just a few short hours and earned $300 for their team. We had 2-3 parent volunteers drive the kids, they were dropped with the coaches and they painted. No electricity, no air conditioning, no running water in the home.
They all really wanted to go to Florida for the World Series, and parents were already so strapped financially, so they helped to EARN THE MONEY. Together. As a team. And this money helped to pay for their tournament entry fee.
Our idea with WILLWORK4DIRT is to start gathering up people who need some odd chores done and match them up with teams that can do the work.
Have some tree limbs that need to be moved? Is there an elderly person who could use some help with yard work? Is there a house or a deck that needs painting? Need a shed or barn cleaned out? Need some folks to help run an event? Perhaps some dogs need walking, or someone would like their cars washed (FOR REAL). A storefront need painting, a garden need weeding? Maybe there is a field that needs tending to, in return for free practice rental. Or some houses need cleaning.
We believe that there are plenty of individuals and businesses out there that could use the semi-unskilled labor that a group of gaggling girls can provide. The possibilities are endless.
Will WORK for DIRT, doesn’t mean they will work for ‘nothing’ but instead the DIRT represents that dirt on the softball field.
And so instead of teams and girls just taking donations, or hand-outs – they will be helping to EARN THEIR PRIVILEGE TO PLAY!
Because playing fastpitch softball IS A PRIVILEGE!
And todays parents and coaches work hard and long to afford this life for their daughters.
We believe that by EMPOWERING THE GIRLS to earn the money themselves, and perhaps help someone out in the long run, it will do several things. For one, they will start to learn the correlation between working and money, which is a mightly life lesson. We are brought back to the fact that WE ARE TEACHING LIFE as well as SOFTBALL.
Secondly, they will be given an opportunity to truly feel good about their earnings, and this pride will hopefully translate to the field.
It’s easy to throw a $300 bat that you didn’t pay for across the infield when you strike out, but harder when you were the one that had to actually earn the money to buy it. Perhaps by holding the girls responsible and accountable, they will begin to appreciate their time on the field a little more than they already do.
And, working together – in this environment, will take as much practice and patience and team skills as does playing on the actual dirt come game time. We did our painting job in lieu of practice, and the kids learned plenty, trust us.
So here is how it works. (For now as we are in beta stages)
Visit our website at this link, or click on the WORK4DIRT tab at the top. If you have a job to offer a team of girls, please put the job, location and amount that you will pay to have it done. This way teams in your area will be able to find you. Additionally, we will share the jobs submitted on our Facebook page every day. You can also email us with a job at email@example.com and we will post it in the forum and on Facebook.
You can HELP US, by spreading the word and sharing this post on your personal Facebook page as well. If you know of local businesses who may be interested, then please let them know as well. This WORK4DIRT project is just getting started, and we can use all the help possible. We have even been trying to get in contact with Mike Rowe (to no avail) to help get this off the ground. We truly love his S.W.E.A.T pledge and feel it is valuable in today’s world!
We WILL BE making updates and growing this facet of SIFG over the next few months, just in time for Spring Season, and we certainly hope that you, your team and your community will help us promote the idea of working for fun(d)s! There are certainly some things to work out, and we ask for your patience as we work out the kinks.