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By Andrea Lo and Reed Kavner of Piggybackr.com
Fundraising is not the reason you got into team sports. In a perfect world, equipment would never break, jerseys would never get worn out, and airlines would jump at the chance to sponsor out-of-town tournaments. Considering that airlines would also jump at the idea of charging you for putting down your tray table, fundraising is probably here to stay.
The good news is that fundraising can be fun. As a team that regularly works together on the field or court toward a common goal, you already have the skills and traits that are hallmarks of effective fundraising.
Having coached thousands of sports teams of all ages to raise hundreds of dollars through online fundraising on Piggybackr, we are here to share 5 tips to help you win at fundraising like it’s just another game. Whether you hold an online fundraiser, car wash, or candy bar drive and need to raise $5,000 or $100,000, the principles of effective fundraising remain the same.
1. STRONG LEADERSHIP.
Just like having a strong coach is integral to winning a game, having one person dedicated to leading a fundraiser is crucial. From communicating the fundraiser’s progress, recognizing members doing a great job, to encouraging those in need of help, it keeps the fundraiser rolling towards its goal.
There is nobody better at this than the coach. However, if it’s not possible or practical for the coach to act as the fundraising leader, we recommend that the leader be a parent or a particularly responsible team member. But it’s critical that the coach is kept informed and involved. Players take their cues and look up to to their coach. They’l bel more enthusiastic and motivated if he or she is.
Your team shows up to every game and “gives 110%,” right? Everyone on your team is naturally competitive and leveraging that competitive drive is a great way to raise more money.
Make sure you give each team member an individual fundraising requirement so that each person is held personally accountable. Foster a sense of competition by recognizing the highest-performing team members every week, which can serve to encourage everyone to pulling their weight.
3. OFFER A PRIZE.
Offer up prizes to whoever raises the most money, brings in the most donors, or sells the most product. No matter how little the prize, people of all ages genuinely get excited about winning something. Prizes can be as simple as a day off practice, first dibs on bus seats to away games, or an after practice snack. We’ve seen grown men get excited about $1 prizes. Everybody likes winning.
4. HIGH STAKES.
Whether you’re raising funds for day-to-day operations or tournament costs, make sure the entire team understands the tangible reasons of why they need to fundraise and what’s at stake if goals aren’t met.
Whether it’s practice facility rental fees, league dues, equipment maintenance, or scholarships, if the team understands what’s at stake, they’ll better understand why doing their part matters to themselves and to the team. While fun competition is healthy, it’s important to remind the team that – as with everything you do – this is a do or die team effort.
Many athletes thrive under pressure. It’s the same with fundraising. Make sure you set clear expectations and concrete time deadlines for your fundraising efforts. Whether it’s a day long event or 3 week long online fundraiser, deadlines provide constraints and prevent burnout. You could be fundraising all year round or have 2 well executed fundraisers – we believe the later is more effective.
Remember that you’re a team that relies on each other to get things done all the time and this is no different. The very same skills that drive your team through every tough conditioning session or playoff game are what will drive you toward success in raising the funds you need to continue doing what you love.
And while you didn’t get into this for the fundraising, know that seeing your team shatter its fundraising record can be just as satisfying as a Gatorade after a well-fought victory, because now you can have your Gatorade and buy more of it too!
Piggybackr is a team fundraising platform designed to help members of all ages and experience levels raise funds in an easy, fun, and effective way online. Get your team up and running in less than 5 mins and start raising an average of $76 per donor rather than selling 76 candy bars per donor. Since launching nationwide in 2013, Piggybackr has helped thousands of teams in 47 states reach their funding goals. If you’re interested in fundraising online with your team, visit www.piggybackr.com.