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Effective Fundraising Strategies for High School Athletics

Brett Kuehn

High school athletic departments often find themselves in need of new uniforms, equipment, nutritional needs and other essentials to run a successful athletic program. Not every program is fortunate to have a large budget or any budget at all. At the high school level athletic funding is one of the first budgets to be cut leaving coaches and programs with minimal funds to improve their teams. If a school doesn’t have a booster club to help fund-raise then it’s up to the coaches and athletic director to raise the funds themselves. Fundraising is more than just handing athletes catalogs of items to sell. The athletes need to be motivated, the event needs to be marketed, and the donors need to be showed gratitude. 

 

Strength and Conditioning Legend, Mike Gentry mentions important factors when fundraising. After creating the fundraiser, you will then have to make sure to market the event. This requires visiting local businesses, taking an ad out in a newspaper, getting the local news involved, making announcements during games, posting to social media, announcing on the school website. The best way to market is to use your resources as a coach and athletic director. Parents and alumni are great resources to help build publicity for the fundraising events as well as being able to lend a hand to help.  Another resource is having a business sponsor a fundraising event which can be a unique way to get more community eyes on the fundraiser. By getting parents, alumni and businesses involved the word about the fundraiser spreads naturally and efficiently.

After selecting the event and then marketing comes a very important step. Athletes and coaches need to be bought in and enthused about the fundraiser. Coaches and athletes are going to be the face of the fundraiser. Imagine being approached by a student-athlete whose team needs new squat racks and he’s excited, showing you the new racks, explaining the team’s goals, and how they will get stronger. It’s much easier to get donations when your athletes and coaches are behind the event and show emotion to potential donators. Approaching possible donators with a flyer asking for donations or handing them a catalog isn’t going to get the donations you want. Be hands on, show emotion, build the picture for them of what they are donating to and how it’s going to help the team.

 

Gratitude! Showing gratitude to donors is another key factor when fundraising. Thank your donors by recognizing them publicly on the school’s website, or perhaps a name placard in the weight room. Another idea is to create shirts for your donators. Your donators end up paying for these shirts if they donate a certain amount. For example, anyone who donates $50 or more receives a school strength and conditioning shirt. Gratitude helps celebrate the present and spreads team spirit. 

Fundraising can be challenging and as most experience it’s much more than just choosing an event. Dedication, buy-in, motivation, and enthusiasm play a huge role in the success of fundraising.  Coaches, Athletic Directors, Booster Clubs take advantage of your resources available. Parents and businesses want to help! Just make sure to show your appreciation.

 

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