Softball Fundraising – Part II

Last week, we started Money Mondays – in the hopes of sharing fundraising ideas with other softball families. No doubt, softball is an expensive sport and with so many of us searching for sponsorships and scrambling to raise money (and with BASEBALL to compete with) – girls softball teams often get left with the bread crumbs.

If you missed Softball Fundraising Part I, here is the link.

Remember, one of the simplest ways to raise money is to ask for it straight up. Even $25 donations from individual families, extended families and local businesses can add up.

One of the more enjoyable ways to fundraise involves doing things that are softball related, like hosting a home run derby!

The first step is to secure a LARGE field and do some in advance advertising. Invite both softball and baseball players of all ages and get the word out for the event a few weeks using softball forums in your area, Facebook, Instagram and flyers. You can make money in several ways. You can charge an entry fee, or you can have participants pay for the balls that they hit. For instance, 5 balls for $10, or an entry fee of $10-$20 per person for a set amount of hits.

Obviously, you will have to have prizes, which can either be cash prizes, t-shirts, or something that would be enticing to get folks to participate. One good idea is to give away softball equipment, such as a high end bat.  Divide the participants by age group, and then go for it. The fairest way to do a home run derby is to utilize a pitching machine, although many use an adult throwing an arch style pitch.  After the initial rounds, you will end up with the top 3 hitters (by furthest ball hit) and can go for the finale. Here is a link to a basic set of rules that apply during a home run derby, and they can modified specifically for your event.  Also, participants from the team hosting the derby can get people to pledge a certain amount of money per feet hit. For instance, 25 cents per feet, and then collect the money based on their longest ball hit.

Keep in mind, that some tournament directors will allow you to host a home run derby during tournament day by setting aside an hour or so during the tournament or during an intermission of the event. Another good time to do a home run derby is after all bracket play and before (or during) the championship game, which gives the teams and players not playing for the trophy a way to elongate the fun of tournament day. The reality is that you can host and carry out the home-run derby any way that you feel is best. The key is marketing event and making sure it is visible.

A more difficult, but extremely effective fundraising idea is to host a 5K run. Hosting a 5K takes a bit of organization, and you will need to get sponsors on board, as well as communicate with the local officials where you intend to host the event. Many hospitals and health related organizations are often happy to donate t-shirts for the events, and companies like Wal-Mart or a local grocery store will likely donate waters. Your job is to market the event by posting on running boards and athletic departments as well as schools and hospitals and even convenient stores.  On average people pay $20 – $35 dollars to participate in a 5K run. One of the good things about a 5K run, is that they don’t last very long, and you can do them early in the morning and be done by noon.

Additionally, to make a 5K fundraiser WORK ALL MEMBERS OF YOUR TEAM – both children and parents, will need to set aside the time to help man the event.  This link provides you with a great blueprint for hosting a 5K .

Both the 5K and a home run derby may take a little work – but when done well (and right) you can make several thousand dollars for your team in a minimal amount of time, and be doing something that gives back to the community.

If you have an older team, older 14U or above, one great way to raise money is to employ the kids to do a little giving back. Try to connect with a local rec department, and organize a softball camp for young players. 6U, 8U and 10U girls ADORE their older sisters in uniform. Each of the girls on your team can run stations with the help of an adult, dress up in their uniform, and share what they know with the younger generation of athletes. You can either do a sign up for the camp, or advertise for several weeks and charge per participant per day. As the spring Recreation leagues are gearing up RIGHT NOW is the perfect time offer instruction and guidance to the little ones who will be following in your teams footsteps. We love this idea for many reasons. Not only will your team raise money, but your players will be giving back to their community. Remember, often times the least important thing we teach the girls on the field is softball!!!

Remember, effective fundraising works because it offers people something that they would buy anyway. When you host events such as the ones listed, you are offering something of value/entertainment to others and are in return making money for your team. They may take a little organization and effort, but the thousands of dollars that you can make will take your team further than cookie dough sales.

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