Baseball team management never really has an off season, does it?
Below is a bit of a repost from a blog on a former site that I managed, updated and edited a little bit to fit the current baseball mood. These ideas, of course, could apply to any team.
When we you find yourself in that very brief off season for baseball, there usually lots to be done: finish up sponsor thank you gifts, procure sponsors for next season, clean out the equipment bags and restock, meet with assistant coaches, communicate with players and set rosters for the next season, and RAISE MONEY – because it’s easier to do now than later… Here’s my ten cents on the whole topic, for whatever it’s worth.
There are so many fundraising options out there, it’s hard to choose! Here is a short list of things we have done and/or considered…and a few things that, well, just no… we can’t/won’t/aren’t/whatever – you try it!
- Team Sponsorships
- Fundraisers/spirit nights with Local Businesses
- Direct Sales representatives
- Vending machines
- Sell something – beef jerky, spirit cups, donuts, candy bars, popcorn, cookie dough & snacks,pizza cards (Papa Johns will help you with this!) the list goes on and on!
- Car wash
- Pancake breakfast
- Yard sale or consignment sale
- Host an adult softball tournament or other event
- Collect scrap metal (If you do this in our area, I will hunt you down and fight you for it…we’ve already hit every board in every surrounding community! We even scored a sponsorship from the scrap yard)
- Offer Christmas gift wrapping
- Help neighbors with yard work, etc in exchange for tips/donations
The best advice I can give you, communicate with your team – find out what the can and are willing to do – if they are not behind you, you’re own your own and your fundraiser may or may not be a success. If another parent or coach has an idea, let them run with it! Some of our most successful fundraisers have been someone else’s idea – don’t assume you know best. Choose the best options for your team. Some will be lucrative, some will not – get the most bang for your buck – and time.
Don’t expect every family to participate – DO explain that raising funds helps keep costs down. The less you raise, the more you pay and (in some cases) the less you play. Baseball is expensive. Folks are paying, in some cases over $1000 per season just in team fees – that doesn’t include all the extra gate fees, gas, food, pictures, whatever else might come up. Make sure your parents understand, too, that they more they help, the more YOU (the coach) can focus on COACHING and making sure their child has the best experience you can offer. If the coach is spending more time on fundraising than preparing for practice and games, you have a problem. But, there will always be some who, for whatever reason, won’t help with fundraising. Don’t judge.You don’t live in their world – work, funds, personal situations, and, yes, sometimes just simple order of priorities will make them unwilling or unable to assist with fundraising. Take what you can get, encourage participation, and play baseball.
Here’s the rundown on some of your options:
- Team Sponsorships – These are awesome. You will connect your team to businesses in the community, and havea a great time doing. I love interacting with our sponsors, and most interact back. They are wonderful – AND this IS the most bang for your buck. Go after the big guys. And the inbetweens. And the small businesses. Look at businesses that have leadership with a heart for kids and sports, look for businesses that ‘fit’ your market, and always reach out to friends and family that might have connections to businesses. Especially reach out to business that you frequent. Obviously, you have some loyalty, and the change they will be willing to do something is good. You may get 10-20 NO’s before you get a yes. No one will be offended by your asking. And you may be surprised by who says yes :). Here are a few things we do for our sponsors:
- PROMO! Facebook shares, comments, and posts, pass out business cards, refer friends (don’t ask for sponsorships from businesses you aren’t willing to promote!). Be sure to like their pages, and ask your team and fans to do the same. Team Banners are awesome, too.
- CUSTOMIZE your sponsorship package if you can and if it’s appropriate. For example, we have a level of sponsorship that puts the sponsor’s logo on the sleeve of our Jersey – we did that for Tim Leeper Roofing <note I just promo’d my sponsor!>. For Middle Tennessee Recycling <Oh! I did it again!>, instead of tagging our kids with another logo, we made magnets with the their logo and contact information AND our contact information for donations. They hand them out at the scrap yard, and we hand them out to folks we collect scrap from and any one that MIGHT have some in the future. Which is pretty much everyone.
- SEND THEM REFERRALS! This is what they are looking for. Someone looking for a roofer, I’m tagging and talking up Tim every time. I can do this with confidence, because I KNOW his reputation, and that he will stand by his work.
- THANK THEM. A personalized card goes a long way. Of course, do the plaques – they love hanging those up… I have thanked mine on FaceBook several times.
- Local Business and Spirit Nights – These are not my favorite, but they are an option. Best bets are local restaurants and kid activity centers, like bounce or trampoline parks.
- Local Direct Sales Representatives –
Contact local Direct Sales representatives – most of would be thrilled to help you with a fundraiser. The great part about these? We’ll do all the work – all you need to do is share the information and/or location (online or in person) with your team and supporters. I represent Lilla Rose Hair Accessories and have several team friendly products. Other options might be Thirty-One, Rodan-Fields, Senegence, Pampered Chef, ColorStreet, Plexus, Thrive, etc…so many to choose from! I know reps for most of these companies, and others. I’m happy to provide you with a recommendation or referral.
- Vending Machines
- Sometimes an option – just a small one. We have a bubble gum machine filled with M&M’s sitting at a local shop – it may take a year, but it’s money, right? Or bucket of beef jerky or candy bars for sale at a local establishment with a money jar beside it. Don’t ask a business to collect money for you. Sometimes, you’ll get random donations. We are bringing in about $20-30 a month on this – and it’s easy. You just need someplace high traffic with people you trust not to take your money..
- Sell Something
- We’ve had success with Pizza Cards and beef jerky. All the schools do cookie dough, so we don’t try that. There are so many options out there, you just have to find something that fits your team.
- Look for things you can take pre-orders for. That way, you know what you’re taking in v. what’s going out. Then, decide if you want to buy extra to continue to sell.
- I’ll repeat here – choose something your team is behind. You can’t do much on your own. Beef Jerky was popular with our team because we have firemen, UPS drivers, one coach that had a LOT of coworkers that love beef jerky and had a concession stand to put it in, a dentist that sold some at his office, etc…so it was a great fit. These are also easy to walk around the neighborhood and sell – because they are $1 a stick.
- Car Wash
- These are great for older kids. We had one with 7 year olds – and the parents did most of the work. Consider your players.
- Find a good, high traffic location. Spend a little time spreading the word – but most of your money will come from drive by’s.
- Consider selling tickets before the event – some folks will buy one (especially family) and may or may not make it to the event.
- Pancake Breakfast
- I don’t have much advice for this one – we haven’t tried it yet, but word on the street is they are usually quite successful.
- Most important, Location, location, location.
- Second most, presale tickets so you can plan the amount of food you need.
- Yard Sale or Consignment Sale
- Yard Sale, pretty self-explanatory – collect stuff, price it, sell it. Done.
- Consignment Sale, Determine your market (some are flooded), and go for it. Big time commitment, but potential BIG money-maker. OR participate in a team (hint hint) – if you’re local, you can pull together all your team’s extra gear, and other items and put them in a consignment sale or store. Or sell it online for the team, or whatever. Extra Innings will even allow you to create two accounts – a personal one, and a team account. You can sign up HERE. If you are not local, find a local consignment sale or store and go for it. Most are pretty easy. Some will even tag for you so all you have to do is drop off your stuff.
- Find that big-ticket item that all the kids or dads or moms want – buy it, sell raffle tickets. The catch? Make sure you have the team support to get the tickets sold. AND you must have enough spare money to buy the item. Or a generous supporter.
- Host an Event
- Again, I have no advice here – just make sure you have the support and the time to do it RIGHT. This is a BIG talk with your team, especially about volunteer commitments.
- Scrap Metal.
- One Man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I’m not telling too much here. Pretty self-explanatory, really. Basically, if you live near a metal recycling center, and have a truck, this is an easy one. The community is amazingly generous and supportive of this – who wouldn’t be? Help a baseball team and get my (s)crap hauled off for free? It’s a win-win. Just make sure it’s worth the time/distance and you have someplace to put it so you can take in big loads. Don’t make your neighbors hate you.
- Christmas gift wrapping – I know what you’re thinking – mom’s gonna end up doing this one, right? Well, I’ll leave that to you and your OCD. Stick a sign in your yard, take in packages, make it cheap and pretty and quick. Or sit out one decently not frigid Saturday with a table and some wrapping paper and hot chocolate while they wait.
- Community help – You’ll find the community extremely supportive. Spend some time spreading the word. Make sure the players spend some time visiting with the folks, that’s half the fun! Your ‘customer’ will enjoy it, and so will you!
I’m sure there are many other ways to make it happen – don’t try to do everything – pick your poison, and run with it! And remember, if you’re not having fun doing it, it’s not baseball! Bring your team spirit and enthusiasm with you to ALL fundraising events!
I’d love to hear your ideas and what your team has had success with!